Migraine is a common neurological disorder. According to a 2020 study, migraine affects around 40 million people per year in the United States. The signature symptom of a migraine episode is a throbbing, debilitating headache that can last anywhere from a few hours to several days.

Research has shown that a person who experiences migraine may have an increased chance of developing other health conditions, including hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a chronic condition that occurs when your body’s thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. The most common form is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

We will look at causes, risk factors, and treatment options for both conditions, and learn more about the research behind a possible connection.

Current research suggests there is a solid link between migraine and hypothyroidism. It’s unclear whether similar risk factors cause both conditions to occur together, or whether they might directly cause one another.

  • A 2021 article relayed the results of a small yearlong study of 100 participants in India. The 50 participants with migraine were significantly more likely to have a thyroid disorder, and especially low thyroid hormone levels, than the control group, who had nonmigraine headaches.
  • In a 2016 study, researchers followed 8,412 participants for more than 20 years as part of a medical monitoring program. They found people with a history of migraine had a 41 percent increased risk of new onset hypothyroidism. Those with other headache disorders had a 21 percent increased risk.
  • An older 2013 study also examined the relationship between different types of headaches and thyroid disease in 3,727 participants. Results showed that 3 percent of those who reported migraine and 1.6 percent of those with tension headaches also had hypothyroidism. Among this subset of participants, the authors found hypothyroidism occurred after the onset of migraine episodes in the vast majority (96 percent).

The study concluded that those with migraines had higher levels of hypothyroidism than the general population. Even if the full extent of the connection remains unclear, the researchers stated that hypothyroidism should be considered one of the variety of migraines comorbidities.

Factors that may affect the likelihood of developing a condition called migraines are listed. There are risk factors that overlap between the conditions.

Risk factors for migraine

There are a number of risk factors associated with the occurrence of migraines.

  • Sex. 2018 National Health Interview Survey data cited by the CDC confirms that female people are more than twice as likely to experience headaches and migraine episodes than male people. Scientists believe hormones may play a role in explaining this elevated risk. The above data separated participants into male and female categories only, conflating these with gender. Sex and gender are different, and both occur on a spectrum.
  • Genes. A 2021 review suggests that genetics plays a significant role in whether someone is likely to develop migraine, although the full extent is unclear. Migraine has been associated with certain genes and gene mutations.
  • Smoking. Smoking can increase the risk of a migraine episode.
  • High Stress. levels. Having a lot of Stress., or experiencing a recent Stress.ful event, is among the top triggers for migraine episodes.

Race is also a risk factor. The authors of a 2018 study reviewed 3 national health surveys to identify the frequency and burden of migraine and headaches in the United States. They found that American Indian or Alaska Native people had the highest reported rates of migraine or severe headache in 2015, at over 18 percent.

Learn about the words that are used to refer to the Indigenous People of America.

Race or ethnicity is not the only risk factor that is related to society. Some people are treated differently and disadvantaged because of prejudice. This can affect your ability to access and receive healthcare.

The study found other risk factors for headaches.

  • A family income of less than $35,000 per year is what it is.
  • Being without a job.
  • Being older than 45.
  • Being a disabled adult.

Risk factors for hypothyroidism

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), key risk factors for developing hypothyroidism include:

  • Gender. Women are more likely to develop thyroid issues than men.
  • Age. People over 60 years old are more likely to have thyroid disease.
  • Genes. Having a family history or a previous thyroid problem, such as a goiter, increases the chances that a person will develop hypothyroidism.
  • Past medical treatments. Receiving radiation, radioactive iodine, antithyroid medications, or thyroid surgery can increase your risk of hypothyroidism.
  • Recent pregnancy. Delivering a baby within the past 6 months may increase a person’s risk of hypothyroidism.

A note on gender

Migraine and hypothyroidism can affect anyone, regardless of sex or gender. However, certain hormones can affect risk factors.

Research indicates female people and those assigned female at birth are more likely to experience both migraine and hypothyroidism. However, these risk factors may differ if you are on hormone replacement therapy.

If you are experiencing symptoms of migraines, talk to your doctor. They can help you put together a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs.

“Evaluating your condition can be difficult if you don’t know the symptoms of migraines and thyroid disease.”

Migraine symptoms

Migraine is a disorder. The health condition of a primary headaches is the one that is most important. Symptoms of an injury or illness are called secondary headaches.

While migraine is considered a type of headache disorder, it isn’t just bad headaches. Migraine is a complex neurological disease that causes many symptoms. A headache is only one of them.

A migraine is a throbbing pain that affects one side of the head at a time.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, other symptoms may include:

A traditional primary headache usually causes aching pain or pressure in the head, face, or upper neck. There are many types of headaches, including cluster headaches and tension headaches.

Hypothyroidism symptoms

“Hypothyroidism can be hard to identify because it looks like other health conditions. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, it’s important to have a panel ordered by your doctor to check your levels of thyroid hormone.”

The NIDDK says some common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • weight gain
  • fatigue
  • Joint or muscle pain.
  • Difficult to tolerate cold temperatures.
  • Thin or dry hair.
  • There are irregular menstrual cycles.
  • fertility issues
  • Depression.
  • Slower heart rate.

Migraine causes

Genetics and environment are factors that affect Migraine. Triggers, exposure to an irritating ingredient, sensation, or environment can vary by individual.

Common triggers for migraine episodes include:

Read about the common migraines.

People with migraines are encouraged by their doctors to keep a diary. This can help you avoid triggering next time.

Hypothyroidism causes

“Hypothyroidism is caused by the fact that your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone.”

This can happen for many reasons, according to the NIDDK, including:

Treatment can help manage symptoms and reduce the risk of episodes of migraines. Hypothyroidism can be treated with medication.

Treatment for migraine

When you have a migraine, it is important to rest and drink plenty of water. People find lying down in a dark room helps their pain from getting worse.

Migraine treatment has two main types of medications: abortive medications and preventive medications.

Abortive medications, also called acute treatments, help manage active migraine symptoms. This category includes:

  • triptan drugs, which come in oral tablets, injections, and nasal sprays
  • There are new types of oral medications.
  • Also known as errata alkaloids, it is a type of drug.
  • antinausea medications, also known as antiemetics

Preventive medications work to lower your risk of having a migraine episode and reduce symptom severity. Taking preventive measures is also called prophylaxis. This category includes:

Anti-CGRP drugs are a new option used to both prevent and treat migraine episodes. According to 2020 research, these medications target a specific protein known to cause inflammation in the brain, the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). Examples approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include erenumab (Aimovig) and ubrogepant (Ubrelvy).

Migraine treatment can also involve taking over-the-counter pain medications, called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This includes ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).

Additionally, treatment with brain-stimulating devices, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and neuromodulation, may provide relief for people with migraine.

Stress management techniques and talking with a therapist can also be beneficial to people with migraine, especially if the episodes are chronic. Some also prefer home remedies or holistic therapy approaches, including acupuncture or vitamins and supplements.

Treatment for hypothyroidism

A doctor can diagnose hypothyroidism with simple blood tests measuring thyroid hormone T3, thyroid hormone T4, and the thyroid-stimulating hormone, TSH.

Treatment for hypothyroidism involves taking the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine daily. This medication comes in a pill form and can reestablish thyroid hormone levels. It works for people with an underactive thyroid or those who have had their thyroid removed during surgery. You will need to take this medication for your entire life.

Research shows that levothyroxine can help relieve headaches and migraines. Subclinical hypothyroidism is a lot of the research. Your hormones are low, but not low enough for a diagnosis of hypothyroidism.

  • A small 2021 study of 17 children (average age 11) with subclinical hypothyroidism and migraine found treatment with levothyroxine decreased both the intensity and frequency of participant’s migraine episodes.
  • A 2016 study reported that 73 out of 213 participants with subclinical or overt hypothyroidism experienced headache attributed to hypothyroidism (HAH), and more than half of those people had a history of migraine. After treatment with levothyroxine for around 12 months, 78 percent of those with HAH “reported a decrease” in headache frequency.
  • A 2012 paper reported on a small study of 25 children with migraine and subclinical hypothyroidism in Iran. Researchers found that after 2 months of treatment with levothyroxine, the children experienced a significant decrease (over 50 percent) in monthly migraine episodes.

Interestingly, MedlinePlus reports that headaches can be a common side effect of levothyroxine. People with an overactive thyroid and migraine should watch out for worsening headaches, especially if they take higher doses of the medication.

Migraine and hypothyroidism are both chronic conditions. It is unclear why people with migraines are more likely to develop hypothyroidism.

It means that both migraines and hypothyroidism are common comorbidities, and that migraines may be a risk factor for hypothyroidism.

Levothyroxine may help reduce the symptoms of migraines. Increased headaches are associated with high doses of the drug.

If you have had a migranes and are worried about your risk of under-the-counter drugs, talk to your doctor. A simple blood test can help you check your health.