Congress Spotlights Migraine’s Impact on Women

A first-of-its-kind congressional resolution is shedding light on how migraine disease impacts millions of Americans, many of them women.  

Representative Madeleine Dean (D-PA), vice chair of the bipartisan Women’s Caucus, introduced House Resolution 1160 last week. The resolution is cosponsored by Representative Brenda Lawrence (D-MI). 

“[T]he physical pain of women is routinely dismissed by medical professionals and society as a whole, contributing to their pain,” the resolution reads. It acknowledges the toll, both physical and emotional, that migraine attacks and cluster headaches exact. “[P]ersons living with migraine disease and headache disorders also experience significant stigma, often coming from friends, family, and coworkers,” it notes.

About 36 million Americans live with migraine disease, as the resolution explains, and another 6 million experience chronic headache. A significant portion of them are women. The resolution will help raise awareness about the disproportionate impact of migraine disease and cluster headache disorders on women.

Reps. Dean and Lawrence’s resolution was met with praise from the headache advocacy community, who reiterated the effects of migraine disease on women’s personal and professional lives

“Migraine disease is three times more common in women, with the highest prevalence occurring during some of the most productive years, between the ages of 25 and 39,” said Katie MacDonald of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy. Experiencing severe attacks during these years of crucial career growth can impede professional advancement and contribute to a long-term wage gap.

But as Lindsay Videnieks of The Headache and Migraine Policy Forum points out, “With greater awareness comes the potential for better policies to help address stigma and consider additional ways to support women in the workforce who live with these diseases.”

To learn more about migraine disease and headache disorders, read Representative Dean’s press release.

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