The Journal of Headache and Pain

Official Journal of the "European Headache Federation" and of "Lifting The Burden - The Global Campaign against Headache"

The Journal of Headache and Pain Cover Image

Volume 15 Supplement 1

Abstracts from the 4th European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress: EHMTIC 2014

Open Access

EHMTI-0131. Clinical features of cluster headache in women

  • C Tassorelli1,
  • Y Falzone2,
  • R De Icco2,
  • MG Cuzzoni2,
  • G Nappi2 and
  • G Sances2
The Journal of Headache and Pain201415(Suppl 1):C3

Published: 18 September 2014


MigraineCluster HeadacheHeadache DisorderConcomitant DiseaseThyroid Disorder


Cluster Headache (CH) mostly affects men but a substantial percentage of women also suffer this headache disorder. Little is known about possible gender-related differences in the characteristics of attacks from studies where CH diagnosis was validated.


To evaluate retrospectively the differences in demographics, headache characteristics, concomitant diseases and treatment response of 198 CH patients diagnosed and followed at the Pavia Headache Centre.


Data from 134 males and 64 females were collected. The mean age at CH onset was lower in women than in men (24.8±10.8y vs 28.03±10.2y, p<0.43). Episodic form of the disease was diagnosed in 91% of subjects, without gender difference. No differences were detected as regards the annual mean number of CH periods, their mean duration and the average daily frequency of attacks during the active phase. Untreated attacks were shorter in men (90 minutes vs 107 minutes, p<0.02). A family history of migraine was present in 71.4% of women and 59.1% of men (p=0.06). Nausea, vomiting, photo and osmophobia were reported more frequently by women than men, while local autonomic symptoms were almost equally distributed between sexes. No difference was found in treatment response between genders. Female CH sufferers presented more frequently thyroid disorders and psychiatric illness than men. On the contrary, snoring in sleep occurred statistically more frequently in men.


This retrospective survey shows some specific features for CH in women: earlier onset of disease, more frequent association with 'migrainous' symptoms during the attacks and a longer duration of untreated attacks.

Authors’ Affiliations

Headache Science Center C. Mondino National Neurological Institute, Dept of Brain and Behaviour University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
Headache Science Center, C. Mondino National Neurological Institute, Pavia, Italy


© Tassorelli et al; licensee Springer. 2014

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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