Chronic Helicobacter Pylori Infection and Migraine: A Case-Control Study


Address all correspondence to Prof. Lorenzo Pinessi, Neurology III–Headache Center, Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin, Via Cherasco 15, 10126 Torino, Italy.


Objective.—To determine whether chronic Helicobacter pylori infection is a risk factor for migraine.

Background.—Preliminary studies have shown a high prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in patients with primary headaches.

Methods.—One hundred three consecutive patients with migraine were enrolled in the study and compared with a group of 103 matched controls. Helicobacter pylori infection was diagnosed by means of both 13C-urea breath test and serology.

Results.—Of patients with migraine, 30.1% were positive for Helicobacter pylori, compared with 31.1% of controls (P = NS). The odds ratio for migraine associated with chronic Helicobacter pylori infection was 0.96 (95% confidence interval, 0.51 to 1.80). Demographic, clinical, and psychological characteristics of Helicobacter pylori-positive migraineurs were compared with those of migrainous patients without infection. Helicobacter pylori-positive patients had a significantly (P<.05) lower incidence of food sensitivity than Helicobacter pylori-negative patients. No significant difference was found in any other feature examined.

Conclusions.—Our study suggests that chronic Helicobacter pylori infection is not more frequent in patients with migraine than in controls and that infection does not modify clinical features of the disease.