Migraines in Men
Are more women than men afflicted with migraine headaches, or do more men typically avoid seeking medical help for their headache? Fact is, we may never know.
Statistics show that about three times as many women get regular migraine attacks compared to their male counterparts. But, there is also ongoing evidence that men tend not to seek advice from the medical profession about their condition and remain undiagnosed.
This is not uncommon in men, who statistically tend to get fewer annual checkups and avoid seeing their doctor for any health related issue unless they have a condition that they consider is urgent and in dire need of medical care or prescription medication. Headache, no matter how severe or persistent, may simply not qualify in a man’s viewpoint as a reason to see their doctor.
Many men may view seeking medical care as a weakness and a lack of control over their own body. Whether this is a societal impact or a genetic trait, a lot of men often feel compelled to simply push through any physical struggle when they are ill and see illness as a sign of weakness, negatively affecting their masculine persona.
The other issue at hand is that migraine is often viewed as "just a headache," and those who do not suffer from it often downplay it. Both male and females tend to avoid seeking that formal diagnosis, but women are more likely to eventually seek medical help.
About 16% of women have diagnosed migraines versus about 5% of men. Some studies show that around half of those that suffer regularly from migraine have not had a formal diagnosis.
Wondering what to do for someone with a migraine? Here's how to help the migraneur men in your life.
So Much More Than a Headache
The World Health Organization has rated migraine headache among the 20 most disabling lifetime conditions. Though millions of people are affected by it, migraine remains an invisible condition, and those afflicted by it often feel isolated.
Many just push through and hide the condition out of fear that others will not take the pain seriously. Men are guiltier of this than women, because without visual proof of their severe pain, they are far less likely to admit to their friends, family or coworkers that they are struggling with this condition.
Migraine affects the daily lives of both men and women who suffer from it. Studies estimate that between 10-20% of those with migraine headaches are unable to work due to an attack. The impact of the condition affects the overall quality of life more than other common conditions, like asthma.