Skip to main content

Complications - Migraine

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


An ischaemic stroke happens 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 with people without migraines. But this risk is still small.

It's not clear why ischaemic strokes are linked to migraine.

Contraceptive pill

The risk of having an ischaemic stroke is increased by using the combined contraceptive pill.

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 high blood pressure or a family history of cardiovascular disease.

If you take the combined contraceptive pill and experience aura symptoms, talk to a 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: 10 May 2019
Next review due: 10 May 2022