Middle-aged women are frequent visitors in headache clinics. We investigated the differences in headache characteristics of middle-aged women (aged 40–54 years) according to their menopausal status. In total, 229 women were divided into the following three groups: premenopausal (n = 78), perimenopausal (n = 69), and postmenopausal (n = 82). The prevalence of tension-type headaches was higher in the peri- and postmenopausal groups than in the premenopausal group (p < 0.05), whereas the prevalence of migraines was similar across the three groups. The proportion of patients with a short duration of headache history (<6 months) was significantly higher in the perimenopausal group (40.6%) than in the premenopausal (12.8%) or postmenopausal (17.1%) groups (p < 0.01). Analysis of headaches in perimenopausal patients who did not receive exogenous hormone treatment (n = 61) showed that current headaches were reported as new-onset headaches by 47.5% of subjects, as aggravations of prior headaches by 34.4% of subjects, or as unchanged from prior headaches in 18.0% of subjects. This study shows that the prevalence of tension-type headaches is different between menopausal periods, whereas the prevalence of migraines is not changed. Perimenopausal women tended to experience relatively more tension-type headaches and visited the hospital mainly due to new-onset headaches or aggravated headaches.

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