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Complications - Migraine

Migraines are associated with an increased risk of ischaemic strokes, and an increased risk of mental health problems. The risks for both are small.


An ischaemic stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is blocked by a blood clot or material in the arteries.

People with migraines are twice as likely to have an ischaemic stroke than people without migraines. But this risk is still small.

It is not clear why ischaemic strokes are linked to migraine.

The contraceptive pill


Do not take the combined oral contraceptive pill, ring or patch if you have a migraine with aura. Your risk of having an ischaemic stroke increases when taking the combined contraceptive pill.

Women who have migraine without aura can take the combined contraceptive pill. This is unless they have other stroke risk factors. For example, high blood pressure or a family history of cardiovascular disease.

Ask your GP about other forms of contraception if you take the combined contraceptive pill and experience aura symptoms.

Find out more about the combined oral contraceptive pill -

Mental health problems

Migraine is associated with a very small increased risk of mental health problems, including:

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 26 March 2021
Next review due: 26 March 2024