Gender Gap In Migraine: A Feminist Understanding Of A Complicated Health Disparity
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractMigraine is a complex disorder with mechanisms that are largely unknown, as well as a wide gender disparity. American women are affected by migraine at a rate of 20.7 percent, while men are affected at a rate of 9.7 percent. Feminist intersectional theories of health disparities can help explain these patterns by taking into account intersections of race, gender, sex, age, socioeconomic status and environment to create a more detailed explanation of how bodies are evidence of social inequality. Physiological research utilizes the biomedical model of health, which states that all disease has a biological or behavioral root cause. In the case of migraine, presence of estrogen is often cited as a compounding factor and the reason for higher migraine rates in women. This reasoning does not fully explain why both men and women get migraines that are not at all related to menstruation. Biomedical and feminist intersectional modes of thinking are parallel and not often used together to understand disease. Ultimately, integrating these two viewpoints could further treatment of migraine by allowing healthcare professionals to be more understanding of the impact of a socially determined environment on an individual’s health and migraine status.