Diseases & Conditions A - Z
powered by Talix

Migraine Risk Factors

There are several risk factors known to increase your chance of suffering from migraine. Unfortunately, none of them can be controlled.

There are several risk factors known to increase your chance of suffering from migraine. Unfortunately, none of them can be controlled.

Family History

Genetics are known to play a part in migraine, but the specific genes involved have not yet been identified. Approximately 70 to 80 percent of migraine sufferers have a close family member who also has migraine. In addition, a child has a 50 percent chance of experiencing migraine headaches if one parent does and a 75 percent chance if both parents do.

Gender and Hormonal Changes

Women are about three times as likely as men to suffer from migraine. Interestingly, among children, migraine is more common in boys than in girls, but after puberty the trend reverses. This is likely due to the fact that the female hormone estrogen plays some role in migraine. The incidence of migraine headaches is known to sometimes increase in the first trimester of pregnancy, after giving birth, and when taking birth control or hormone replacement therapy medication. It is known to decrease during the last two trimesters of pregnancy. Certain migraine drugs and herbal supplements should not be taken by pregnant women. Before starting any treatment for migraine, you should consult your doctor.


Half of all migraine sufferers experience their first symptoms before turning 20. However, migraine is most common in people age 25 to 55. The incidence of migraine drops significantly in women after menopause. See a doctor if you do not have a history of migraine headaches and they begin to occur after age 50.

Other Medical Conditions

People who suffer from migraine are more likely than the general population to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorders, stroke, epilepsy, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and high blood pressure. This does not mean any of those conditions are necessarily risk factors for migraine; they are associated with migraine, but the reason for that association is not known.

Content licensed from:

Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed : Sue Russell

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
Symptom Search
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Drug Interaction Checker
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Pill Identifier
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Drugs A-Z
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.