Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Eat Disord. 2014 Dec;47(8):884-7. doi: 10.1002/eat.22311. Epub 2014 May 30.

Association between eating disorders and migraine may be explained by major depression.

Author information

Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.



The association between eating disorders and migraine remains unclear.


We identified women with lifetime diagnoses of anorexia nervosa (AN) (N = 55) and bulimia nervosa (BN) (N = 60) and their co-twins from the FinnTwin16 cohort born in 1975-1979 (N = 2,825 women). Eating disorder and major depressive disorder (MDD) diagnoses were obtained from clinical interviews and data on migraine by self-report questionnaire. The women with eating disorders were compared with their unaffected co-twins and with unrelated women from the same birth cohorts.


The prevalence of migraine was 12% in the general female population, but 22% for both AN and BN (odds ratio 2.0, p = .04). The prevalence of MDD was high in women with an eating disorder (42%). MDD was strongly associated with migraine (odds ratio 3.0, p < .0001) and explained the association between eating disorders and migraine. The highest migraine prevalence (36%) was found in women with both an eating disorder and MDD. Pairwise twin analyses also supported the clustering of migraine, MDD and eating disorders.


Women with a lifetime diagnosis of an eating disorder were twice as likely to report a history of migraine as unrelated women from the same cohort; this relationship was explained by comorbid MDD.


anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa; epidemiology; major depression; migraine

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center