Bariatric surgery can lead to total or partial alleviation of migraines in nearly 90 percent of morbidly obese patients diagnosed with migraine headaches, says a new study.
"The incidence and severity of migraines was greatly reduced after bariatric surgery and weight loss, suggesting there are a number of people who are suffering from migraines who otherwise might not but for their excessive weight," said Isaac Samuel, Associate Professor, University of Iowa (UI) Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and Director, UI Obesity Surgery Program.
While many people with morbid obesity have additional medical issues associated with migraines, by analyzing the data, researchers showed that the improvement in migraine symptoms following surgery was independent of the improvement of their migraine-associated issues such as depression, anxiety or sleep apnea. Women with migraines associated with their menstrual cycles had similar improvement of migraines, as did others in the study.
"The association between migraine headache and obesity is controversial," said Samuel.
"Although some suggest that obesity is associated with migraine prevalence, others have only found a correlation between the frequency and severity of migraine headache and obesity. The effect of surgical weight loss on morbidly obese patients with migraines provides a unique opportunity to evaluate this association. The higher number of patients identified in this study cohort that developed migraines after obesity onset could suggest that obesity contributes to an increased risk of having migraines rather than merely exacerbating the symptoms," added Samuel.
The study was detailed at the 28th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).