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Epidemiology of headache and migraine in women
  1. W. E. Waters1,
  2. P. J. O'Connor
  1. Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit (South Wales), Cardiff, London
  2. The Central Medical Establishment (R.A.F.), London


    During a survey of a defined community, 2,933 women aged 20 to 64 years were asked standard questions about headaches. Overall, 78·7% had headaches during the year immediately preceding the survey and this proportion decreased significantly with age. Random samples of subgroups with unilateral headaches, headaches preceded by a warning, and headaches accompanied by nausea were examined clinically. From these clinical diagnoses the prevalence of women with migraine during the previous year was estimated as 19%. Nearly half of those diagnosed as having migraine had never consulted a doctor because of headaches. Women with migraine and non-migrainous headaches kept diaries of all headaches and data are presented for the time and day of onset, severity, duration and relation of menstruation for both types of headache.

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    • 1 Present address: Faculty of Medicine, The University, Highfield, Southampton SO9 5NH.