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Cluster headache in women: relation with menstruation, use of oral contraceptives, pregnancy, and menopause
  1. J A van Vliet1,
  2. I Favier2,
  3. F M Helmerhorst3,
  4. J Haan2,4,
  5. M D Ferrari2
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Medical Centre Haaglanden, The Hague, Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Gynaecology, Leiden University Medical Centre
  4. 4Department of Neurology, Rijnland Hospital, Leiderdorp, Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr I Favier
 Department of Neurology, K5-Q, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, Netherlands; i.favier{at}


In contrast with migraine, little is known about the relation between cluster headache and menstrual cycle, oral contraceptives, pregnancy, and menopause. A population based questionnaire study was performed among 224 female cluster headache patients, and the possible effect of hormonal influences on cluster headache attacks studied. For control data, a similar but adjusted questionnaire was sent to healthy volunteers and migraine patients. It was found that menstruation, use of oral contraceptives, pregnancy, and menopause had a much smaller influence on cluster headache attacks than in migraine. Cluster headache can, however, have a large impact on individual women, for example to refrain from having children.

  • cluster headache
  • menstruation
  • oral contraceptives
  • pregnancy
  • menopause

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  • Published Online First 11 January 2006

  • Funding: JAvV is sponsored by the Asclepiade foundation

  • Competing interests: none declared