As a myopic person with comically thick spectacle lenses – and a regular charging screen – I’ve long been prone to headaches, but I never had a migraine until a few years ago. I knew something was different when my headache throbbed from one temple, which made me feel nasty and sensitive to light. My wife, a longtime migraine sufferer, immediately found out about the unpleasant experience. Yes, that’s right: I’m gay and I only started getting migraines a year or two after I went out. Match ???
According to a new study published by Journal of the American Medical Association of Neurology, lesbians, gays and bisexuals experience migraines at a rate 58 percent faster than our heterosexual enemies, I mean friends. One in six adults generally experience migraine headaches in their lifetime, but among lesbians, gays, and two people, that number jumps to one in three in the study. Dr. Jason Nagata, the study’s author and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that added stress and discrimination may be responsible.
“There may be a higher rate of migraines in LGB people due to discrimination, stigma or prejudice, which can lead to stress and migraines,” Nagata told Reuters. “Physicians need to be aware that migraines are quite common in LGBT people and to assess the symptoms of migraines.” Another potential contributing factor could be the health barriers that LGBT individuals face, Nagata said.
If additional stress and marginalization are at work here, it is fair to assume that migraine levels should be particularly high in trans individuals and especially blacks, almost half of whom report bullying at school and at work. The Nagata study (which surveyed 10,000 Americans) did not establish a causal relationship, and although it suggests that some trans individuals were included in such a large group of people, the study does not explicitly look at the relationship between gender identity and migraine. “Understanding the differences in migraines between gender identities is an important area for future research,” he said.