Magazine article USA TODAY

Triggers Differ between Men and Women

Magazine article USA TODAY

Triggers Differ between Men and Women

Article excerpt

Although more women suffer from headaches than men, neither group can escape what can be life-altering discomfort. In a research survey conducted by Bruskin Research for Percogesic Aspirin-Free Pain Relievers, 50% of women and 31% of men reported experiencing headaches that require treatment. Almost 40% of sufferers turn to an over-the-counter (OTC) medication for relief. The reasons people get headaches--"triggers," as they are called--vary between the sexes.

The survey found that females who rely upon OTC medications for headaches are significantly more likely than males to indicate they experience headaches as a result of stress (42% of females vs. 33% of males); sinus allergy problems (40% vs. 23%); strong smells or odors (24% vs. 14%); spouse or children (18% vs. 11%); and certain foods/medications (10% vs. six percent). The sole trigger that men report more frequently than women results from ice cream or cold beverages--"brain freeze" (12% men vs. eight percent women). Meanwhile, six percent of men report that hormone changes or the monthly menstrual cycle experienced by their significant other causes the women very frequent headaches.

The American Headache Society reports that headaches are among the most common pain complaints seen by primary care physicians, with as many as 45,000,000 Americans experiencing them. Primary headaches, which are an actual clinical condition and not a symptom of or caused by another disorder, include migraines and tension and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches stem from other medical conditions, including sinus or dental ailments, allergies, head injuries, or brain tumors. …

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