Women who currently experience migraines or who have suffered from them in the past may be at a greater risk for developing depression than those without migraines, according to a new study. Researchers for the study looked at more than 36,000 women who were enrolled in the Women’s Health Study which evaluates the effects of vitamin E and aspirin in preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer in women. They found that approximately one in six women indicated they had migraines or had experienced them in the past. None of the women said they had a history of depression, however, over an average of 14 years of follow-up, nearly 4,000 of the women developed depression. The study estimates that women with migraines or a history of the severe headaches were approximately 40 percent more likely to develop depression than women without migraines.
Dr. Jason Rosenberg, an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine says:
“This doesn’t prove that migraine itself caused depression, but there certainly seems to be a strong link. What this adds is the order in which this tends to happen — that migraines start first, which may predispose you to depression later.”
The research, however, shouldn’t send women into a panic. While there does appear o be a link of some kind between migraines and depression, the evidence is far from conclusive. The findings do open the door for doctors to speak with their female patients more openly about the possible risk of depression.
Do you suffer from migraines? Have you spoken with your doctor about possible side effects?