BACKGROUND: Exploring clinical characteristics and migraine covariates may be useful in the diagnosis of migraine without aura.OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the diagnostic value of the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD)-III beta-based diagnosis of migraine without aura; to explore the covariates of possible migraine without aura using an analysis of grey zones in this area; and, finally, to make suggestions for the final version of the ICHD-III.METHODS: A total of 1365 patients (mean [± SD] age 38.5±10.4 years, 82.8% female) diagnosed with migraine without aura according to the criteria of the ICHD-III beta were included in the present tertiary care-based retrospective study. Patients meeting all of the criteria of the ICHD-III beta were classified as having full migraine without aura, while those who did not meet one, two or ≥3 of the diagnostic criteria were classified as zones I, II and III, respectively. The diagnostic value of the clinical characteristics and covariates of migraine were determined.RESULTS: Full migraine without aura was evident in 25.7% of the migraineurs. A higher likelihood of zone I classification was shown for an attack lasting 4 h to 72 h (OR 1.560; P=0.002), with pulsating quality (OR 4.096; P<0.001), concomitant nausea/vomiting (OR 2.300; P<0.001) and photophobia/phonophobia (OR 4.865; P<0.001). The first-rank determinants for full migraine without aura were sleep irregularities (OR 1.596; P=0.005) and periodic vomiting (OR 1.464; P=0.026). However, even if not mentioned in ICHD-III beta, the authors determined that motion sickness, abdominal pain or infantile colic attacks in childhood, associated dizziness and osmophobia have important diagnostic value.CONCLUSIONS: In cases that do not fulfill all of the diagnostic criteria although they are largely consistent with the characteristics of migraine in clinical terms, the authors believe that a history of infantile colic; periodic vomiting (but not periodic vomiting syndrome); recurrent abdominal pain; the presence of motion sickness or vertigo, dizziness or osmophobia accompanying the pain; and comorbid atopic disorder are characteristics that should to be discussed and considered as additional diagnostic criteria (covariates) in the preparation of the final version of ICHD-III.