Menstrual Cycle and Headache in Teenagers

Luigi Bianchin, Mauro Bozzola, Antonio Battistella Pier, Sergio Bernasconi, Gianni Bona, Fabio Buzi, Carlo De Sanctis, Vincenzo De Sanctis, Giorgio Tonini, Giorgio Radetti, Franco Rigon, Egle Perissinotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This population-based study on school-aged girls aimed to estimate the rate of peri-menstrual headache, evaluate headache pain pattern during the menstrual cycle, and verify its relationships with physical, psychosocial and life-style factors. Methods: The students (n = 4973) fulfilled a self-administered questionnaire on demographic and behavioral characteristics, menarche, menstrual pattern and features including headache and dysmenorrhea. The prevalence of headache and the mean pain intensity score at the three menstrual cycle phases (premenstrual, menstrual, in-between period) were estimated, both overall and by gynecological year. Furthermore, the prevalence of three different patterns of headache (peri menstrual/mid-cycle/acyclic) was evaluated, together with the mean pain intensity score. Results: The overall prevalence of headache at least once at any time during the menstrual cycle was 64.4%. At multivariable logistic analysis, gynecological age (OR 1.07; 95%CI 1.03–1.12), middle social level (1.24; 1.01–1.55, compared to high social level), physical activity (0.67; 0.51–0.89), oral contraceptive use (1.34; 1.04–1.73) and dysmenorrhea (2.30; 1.54–3.42) were significantly associated with headache. Among girls with headache, 83.4% had peri-menstrual headache (44.6% premenstrual, 38.8% menstrual), 3.5% mid-cycle headache and 13.2% acyclic headache. The gynaecological age and dysmenorrhea were significantly associated with the headache pattern (p = 0.03 and p < 0.0001, respectively). Conclusions: This study suggests that peri-menstrual headache is highly prevalent among adolescents. In girls, the headache rate linearly raises with higher gynecological age; menses-related painful syndromes, such as headache and dysmenorrhea, are strongly interrelated. The anamnesis and monitoring of menstrual health should be mandatory when taking care of girls with headache.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIndian Journal of Pediatrics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • Adolescents. Menstrual headache
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Gynecological age
  • Headache pattern
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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