Endometriosis and migraine

Endometriosis is more common in women who have migraine headaches, and migraine is more common in women with endometriosis.

An Italian study found that 1/3 of women who had endometriosis also suffered from migraine headaches. About 5% of women of reproductive age have endometriosis. Another study found that of women with pelvic pain, 2/3 experience migraine – about three times the rate of the general population. Not all the women with pelvic pain had biopsy-proven endometriosis.

Several studies have now also shown an increased incidence of endometriosis in migraine sufferers, and this is felt to be most likely due to common genetic factors. Migraine attacks were more frequent in women with endometriosis than in women with migraine and no endometriosis, and migraines began at a younger age.


1. Tietjen GE, Conway A, Utley C, Gunning WT, Herial NA. Migraine is associated with menorrhagia and endometriosis. Headache. 2006;46(3):422-428. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16618258
2. Ferrero S, Pretta S, Bertoldi S, et al. Increased frequency of migraine among women with endometriosis. Hum. Reprod. 2004;19(12):2927-2932. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15513980
3. Tietjen GE, Bushnell CD, Herial NA, et al. Endometriosis is associated with prevalence of comorbid conditions in migraine. Headache. 2007;47(7):1069-1078. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17635599
4. Nyholt DR, Gillespie NG, Merikangas KR, et al. Common genetic influences underlie comorbidity of migraine and endometriosis. Genet. Epidemiol. 2009;33(2):105-113. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18636479
by Christina Peterson, M.D.