Complications of migraine 

Migraines are associated with a small increased risk of ischaemic strokes, and a very small increased risk of mental health problems.

Stroke

An ischaemic stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked by a blood clot or fatty material in the arteries.

Studies have shown that people who experience migraines (particularly migraine with aura) have about twice the risk of having an ischaemic stroke at some point compared to people without migraines, although this risk is still small.

The reason why ischaemic strokes are linked to migraine is not entirely clear.

The risk of having an ischaemic stroke is also increased by the use of the combined contraceptive pill, so medical professionals generally advise women who experience migraine with aura not to use the combined contraceptive pill.

Women who have migraine without aura can usually take the combined contraceptive pill safely, unless they have other stroke risk factors such as having high blood pressure or a family history of cardiovascular disease.

If you take the combined contraceptive pill and you experience aura symptoms, talk to your GP about alternative forms of contraception.

Mental health problems

Migraine is associated with a very small increased risk of mental health problems, including:


Page last reviewed: 14/04/2014

Next review due: 14/04/2016