Primary headaches, and particularly migraine and tension-type headache (TTH) as well as hypothyroidism are common medical conditions. To date, numerous studies have suggested a possible bidirectional relationship between migraine and hypothyroidism, although certain studies had contradictory results.
To investigate whether there is any association between primary headache subtypes and thyroid disorders.
A retrospective study of consecutive patients aged ≥18 years referred to the Headache Outpatient Clinic of Aeginition Hospital and diagnosed with primary headache and any thyroid disorder.
Out of 427 patients (males/females=76/351), 253 (59.3%) were diagnosed with migraine without aura, 53 (12.4%) with TTH, 49 (11.5%) with migraine with aura, 29 (6.8%) with medication-overuse headache, 23 (5.4%) with mixed-type headache (migraine with/without aura and TTH), nine (2.1%) with cluster headache, and 11 (2.6%) with other types of primary headaches. The prevalence of any type of thyroid disorder was 20.8% (89/427 patients). In the total sample, 27 patients (6.3%) reported hypothyroidism, 18 (4.2%) unspecified thyroidopathy, 14 (3.3%) thyroid nodules, 12 (2.8%) Hashimoto thyroiditis, 12 (2.8%) thyroidectomy, three (0.7%) thyroid goiter, and three (0.7%) hyperthyroidism. Further statistical analysis between categorical variables did not reveal any significant association between headache subtypes and thyroid dysfunction.
No specific association was found between primary headache subtypes and specific thyroid disorder. However, a high prevalence of thyroid dysfunction in general and specifically hypothyroidism was demonstrated among patients with primary headaches, which lays the foundation for further clarification in prospective longitudinal studies.