One of the myths about Migraine that we still encounter all too often is that having a hysterectomy for Migraine will be helpful. Sadly, even some doctors will recommend that a woman whose Migraines are worsened by the hormonal fluctuations of her menstrual cycle consider a hysterectomy to “make things better.” In such cases, we’re discussing a hysterectomy AND ooporectomy (removal of the uterus and ovaries).
Thus, it’s hardly surprising that one of the questions women most frequently ask is “What about a hysterectomy for Migraine?”
The answer to this question is, “Given the statistics, it’s not advisable.”
Some women do find that their Migraines get better after spontaneous menopause (menopause that occurs “naturally”); some find they get worse; and some see no difference at all. Following spontaneous menopause:
- 67% of women find that their Migraines get better;
- 9% of women find that their Migraines get worse; and
- 24% of women find that their Migraines don’t change at all.
However, when it comes to surgical menopause following a hysterectomy and oophorectory, it’s an entirely different matter. Following surgical menopause:
- 33% of women find that their Migraines get better;
- 67% of women find that their Migraines get worse;
- and a statistically insignificant number of women find that their Migraines don’t change at all.
Marcus and Bain wrote:
“Going through natural menopause results in migraine improvement for two of every three women. Women having a hysterectomy and oophorectomy (removal of the uterus and ovaries) will also go through menopause; however, their headaches (Migraines) are more likely to worsen. The unpredictable changes in headache pattern with fluctuating estrogen levels suggests that these patterns are complicated and affected by more than simply estrogen levels.”
Migraine experts recommend that a hysterectomy for Migraine alone is not advisable, and that women consider a hysterectomy only if it’s necessary for other reasons.
- Marcus, Dawn A., MD; Bain, Philip A., MD. The Woman’s Migraine Toolkit. New York, New York. DiaMedica Publishing. 2011.