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How To Avoid Hormonal Migraines

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Hormonal Migraines And Life Stage

How To Stop Hormonal Headaches Naturopathic Nutritionist’s Tips

When and whether you get hormonal migraines can also depend on your life stage. Menstrual migraines happen because of estrogen levels when a woman goes through pregnancy or menopause, estrogen levels also change significantly. Researchers have found that most women who have a history of menstrual migraines see a significant improvement during pregnancy. When it comes to menopause, some women may find migraine attacks getting worse when leading up to menopause.

Estrogen Excess & The Depletion Of Magnesium

Elevated estrogen levels lead to magnesium deficiencies. It is well-known that a deficiency in magnesium is a risk factor for migraines. Excessive estrogen, however, can also deplete magnesium levels by influencing adrenal function. The excess estrogen places the adrenals into sympathetic mode , leading to severe magnesium wasting .

Is Your Birth Control Causing Headaches

Headaches are sometimes a side effect of hormonal birth control . In one study, taking oral contraceptives affected migraines, with 24% of people experiencing increased frequency of migraines .

Estrogen-withdrawal headaches are a type of headache that people get during their âpill-freeâ or âsugar-pill weekâ when they are taking oral contraceptives. This type of headache usually goes away within 3 days, but then will return during the estrogen-free week of the next cycle .

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Take Control Of Your Hormonal Migraines

If youve suffered from a migraine, you know the symptoms: throbbing sensation behind the eyes or temples, light and sound sensitivity, and even dizziness and nausea, to name a few. But sometimes they creep in when your body is already experiencing another type of pain and discomfort. Have you ever noticed that your migraines are more frequent or intense leading up to or during your menstruation cycle? If so, youre not alone. Unfortunately, migraines affect approximately 1 in 7 people, and women are affected 3 times as much as men. So why do women have it so much worse when it comes to migraines, and what does the menstrual cycle have to do with it?

Hormone levels in women strongly correlate with the frequency of migraines, due to the common fluctuations in estrogen with the menstrual cycle. The variance of hormone levels that come around the time of your period can greatly affect your migraines and worsen existing headaches. The drop in estrogen before menstruation can lead to headaches before and during the time of cycle each month. The migraines can last a few days and up to the entire week of pre-menstruation and during menstruation, depending on your body. During pregnancy, many women may experience a relief from their migraines as estrogen rises and stays high for the duration of the pregnancy.

Protect Your Sleep Stress And Hydration

Menstrual migraine sufferer? What you need to know about ...

There is always a stress factor at play when we see migraines and menses interacting. Lower the total perceived and experienced stress your body is experiencing by going through different areas of stress in your life and cutting your load. Get adequate rest so your body has time to repair. Hydration to ensure all the necessary minerals are absorbed into your tissues. With stress reduction, sleep, and hydration your body will begin to regulate itself and heal.

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Your Health Questions Answered

  • Answered by: Dr Roger HendersonAnswered: 20/10/2021

    Firstly, you usually need to have episodic headaches that last 4 to 72 hours. Episodic headaches are headaches that occur up to 14 days of the month. If thats the case, then answer these three questions: does light bother you when you have a headache, do the headaches stop you functioning normally, and do you feel sick with the headache? If the answer to at least two of the three questions is yes, then you may be experiencing migraine headaches.

Hormones You Win Again

Being female, youre on a hormonal roller-coaster ride most of your life. The ups can be thrilling, , but the downs can cause imbalance to the chemicals and systems of the brain, resulting in headache.

The estrogen/progesterone balance plays a pivotal role in whether you regularly experience hormonal-related headaches. Many women are prone to getting headaches just before they start their periods a time when estrogen levels take a dive. And if youre one of thousands of women who experience menstrual migraines severely painful headaches that occur usually before or during menstruation you probably dont need me to reiterate just how disruptive and excruciating they are.

What do you normally do when a headache strikes?

The conventional remedy is usually a strong dose of acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, the ingredients found in over-the-counter painkillers. And while theres nothing harmful about these pills , there are natural ways to rebalance your hormones to avoid needing headache medicine in the first place.

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How To Get Rid Of A Menstrual Migraine

Medication may prevent existing symptoms from worsening. It is best to take this as soon as the symptoms appear.

A person might try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories , such as aspirin or ibuprofen . These are available over the counter.

Or, a doctor may prescribe a medication from the triptan family of drugs. One example is sumatriptan .

Other treatment strategies include:

  • lying down in a dark, quiet room
  • drinking water or having a light meal, if hunger or dehydration are triggers
  • sleeping, which can shorten or stop episodes in some people

If migraines occur often, it may help to keep an emergency migraine kit handy, which might include:

  • medication

Wearable Pain Relief Device May Treat Menstrual Migraines

Hormonal Headaches and Migraines: How to get rid of them for good!

Angela Underwood’s extensive local, state, and federal healthcare and environmental news coverage includes 911 first-responder compensation policy to the Ciba-Geigy water contamination case in Toms River, NJ. Her additional health-related coverage includes death and dying, skin care, and autism spectrum disorder.


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What Is The Prognosis For People With Migraines

Migraines are unique to each individual. Likewise, how migraines are managed is also unique. The best outcomes are usually achieved by learning and avoiding personal migraine triggers, managing symptoms, practicing preventive methods, following the advice of your healthcare provider and reporting any significant changes as soon as they occur.

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Preventative Menstrual Migraine Treatments

Triptans: This medication can also be taken to prevent future migraines from happening. In one study, using triptans for a few days before the start of the period helped reduce both severity and frequency of menstrual migraine headaches .

Hormone stabilization techniques: Preventative treatment using hormone therapy may help to decrease the frequency of severe menstrual migraines. In one study, researchers looked at how two treatments with hormonal contraception affected migraines. The majority of participants were prescribed combined oral contraceptives and additionally took estrogen during the week of their withdrawal bleed , which helped to make the drop in estrogen less severe. Fewer participants used the estrogen patch during their normal menstrual period to prevent the drop in hormones. Among all participants, eight out of 10 people reported a decrease in their menstrual migraines and were able to reduce their pain-medication use by half .

Continuous birth control: Using a form of continuous/extended-use birth control may be an option to decrease menstrually related migraine attacks or headaches. People who took extended use combined oral contraceptives had fewer headache symptoms, and were more productive . Talk to your healthcare provider about extended use hormonal birth control, though this may not be the right therapy for everyone, especially those with migraine with auraâsee the section below on hormonal birth control for more info.

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Natural Supplements For Improving Thyroid Function

  • Iodine: see above Natural Supplements for Regulating Healthy Estrogen Levels.
  • Selenium: this nutrient is necessary for the conversion of the inactive thyroid to the active thyroid, T3. Recommended intake of 50-100 mcg daily is suggested and can be obtained by eating two Brazil nuts per day. Other selenium-rich foods include walnuts, tuna, shrimp, eggs, cheese, turkey, beef and oatmeal.
  • Ashwagandha: this botanical helps make thyroid hormone and provides antioxidant protection.
  • Tyrosine: an amino acid that is needed for production of thyroid hormone and useful to people with hypothyroidism. It should be avoided with hyperthyroidism. Recommended dosage is 50 to 200 mg daily. Nutrients that assist the body in converting the tyrosine to thyroid hormone include B vitamins like B6 and folate, as well as a small amount of copper. Note: avoid tyrosine if you have high blood pressure or cardiac palpitations.
  • Mullein: this herb can reduce migraine suffering, while also nourishing the thyroid gland and creating more thyroid hormone.
  • Japanese Knotweed: this herb supports thyroid health. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
  • Zinc: like selenium, this mineral is needed to convert inactive T4 to active T3. Zinc is inactivated by the body by medications, including acid blockers, estrogen-containing hormones and corticosteroids.

Medicines That Prevent Menstrual Migraine

9 Handy Charts to Help Deal with Migraines

Talk to your doctor about whether these medications might help you stop your headaches before they start.

If your periods don’t come on schedule or you also get migraine headaches at other times in your menstrual cycle, you can take preventive medicine every day. Drugs that prevent migraine headaches include:

  • Some types of antidepressants
  • Some types of antiseizure medicines
  • Blood pressure medicines such as beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers
  • CGRP inhibitors, these are a new class of preventive medicine

Devices which may be used for treatment or prevention include:.

  • Cefaly, a small headband device that sends electrical pulses through the forehead to stimulate a nerve linked with migraines
  • Spring TMS or eNeura sTM, a device for people who have an aura before migraine headaches. You hold it at the back of your head at the first sign of a headache, and it gives off a magnetic pulse that stimulates part of the brain.
  • Noninvasive vagus nerve stimulator gammaCore is a hand-held portable device placed over the vagus nerve in the neck. It releases a mild electrical stimulation to the nerve’s fibers to relieve pain.

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Headaches And Women: What Do Hormones Have To Do With It

A bad headache can ruin your workday, strain your relationship with family members and affect your ability to exercise. In the U.S., headaches cause 112 million sick days each year. While one-third of the population gets headaches, women suffer more than men do.

Changes in hormones could be among the reasons women have more headaches than men do.

These hormone-related headache triggers include:

  • menstruation
  • menopause

Modulating Healthy Estrogen Levels

I encourage you to see a specialist qualified to assess your serum hormone levels and prescribe , if necessary, bioidentical hormones, when needed. However, a healthy diet and natural supplements can help regulate healthy estrogen levels. Unhealthy estrogen metabolites have been shown to be associated with migraines.

First and foremost, make sure your detoxification pathways are open. For more about assuring adequate detoxification, check out my book, Prescription Detox.

One way to assure the effective detoxification of estrogen by-products is to consume sulfur-containing vegetables daily, e.g. broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and other cruicerfous vegetables.

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When To Seek Help

Anyone who regularly has menstrual migraine episodes should contact a doctor. They may refer the person to a migraine specialist who can help develop an effective treatment plan.

It is also important to consult a doctor if migraine episodes are getting worse, if treatments are not working, or if any treatment is causing side effects.

Sometimes, migraine symptoms resemble those of other health issues. A person should receive emergency care if they experience:

  • a headache that is worse than any in the past
  • a sudden headache that feels explosive or violent
  • a severe headache with neck stiffness
  • a headache that worsens over 24 hours
  • a headache that follows a head injury
  • a headache that occurs soon after activities such as weightlifting, aerobics, jogging, or sex
  • a severe headache in just one eye, with redness in that eye
  • a headache and any of the following:
  • confusion or disorientation

Prescription Medicine For Menstrual Migraine

Hormonal Migraines

If over-the-counter pain relief isn’t working for you, your doctor may consider prescription medicine. One type of medication for migraines is the family of triptans, which help balance chemicals in the brain. Your doctor may prescribe frovatriptan , which has shown to be better tolerated than other triptans and can offer significant improvement.

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Estrogen Drop & The Fall In Serotonin

Estrogen in the brain is in charge of serotonin transport. Serotonin is produced in the intestine and the brain, and is also present in platelets, as well as the central nervous system . Serotonin has typically been investigated as the feel-good neurotransmitter. When serotonin is low, symptoms of melancholy, anxiety and postpartum depression can ensue. However, serotonin also functions as a hormone, thus allowing serotonin to have physiological consequences in systems outside the CNS.

The falling estrogen of peri-menopause and menopause, can lead to migraines in some females because serotonin effects also drop. When vasodilation occurs in the absence of serotonins vasoconstriction effect, the vascular bundles press on nerves to cause neuralgia or migraine or headache . Serotonin is also a precursor to the hormone melatonin, and thus helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and as you will see below, a low melatonin level can also impact the potential for migraines.

However, until estrogen can be better balanced, we can improve serotonin via food and/or supplements and lifestyle adjustments, but be cautious with serotonin-raising supplements if you are taking migraine drugs that are also raising serotonin levels, e.g. triptan headache relievers , and antidepressants .

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What Causes Period Migraines

Changes in estrogen levels can trigger migraines. For some, increases in estrogen around ovulation can tip off head pain, but usually, it’s the decrease in estrogen during menses that prompts a migraine, Dr. O’Neal says.

Migraines also may become more frequent during other times of hormonal change. These include your first trimester of pregnancy, when estrogen quickly rises during the postpartum period, when hormones are shifting back to prepregnancy status and during menopause, when estrogen is decreasing.

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How To Prevent Headaches During Menopause

Headaches are a common symptom of menopause. Menopausal headaches can range from mild, dull pain to unbearable migraines that interfere with life. Menopausal headaches are caused by fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone, which cause blood vessels todilate and constrict. Women are five times more likely to get headaches than men, especially menopausal women. There are however, several ways of preventing and managing menopausal headaches.

Pay Attention To The Weather

What Is Your Migraine Profile?

Changes in the weather can impact your migraine patterns. High humidity and hot temperatures can stimulate headaches, as well as rainy days. If the weather becomes uncomfortable for you, you may need to step inside and take a break from the outdoors. Of course, you cant always avoid going outside, but you can minimize your time spent in certain headache-inducing weather.

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When Should I Seek Immediate Help Or Contact My Healthcare Provider

Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider if:

  • The number or severity of your migraines increase, or your headache pattern changes.
  • Youre experiencing new or different side effects.
  • Your medications no longer seem to be working.
  • Your headache comes on suddenly.
  • You are experiencing the worst headache of my life.
  • You have a headache after experiencing a head injury.
  • You are having neurologic symptoms that you have never had before, including speaking difficulty, balance problems, vision problems, mental confusion, seizures, or numbing/tingling sensations.

Eat And Sleep On A Regular Schedule

Fasting or skipping meals can trigger migraine headaches. Make sure you eat within an hour of waking up and then every three to four hours. Hunger and dehydration both cause migraines. Make sure youre drinking enough water, and never skip a meal.

Lack of sleep can also aggravate symptoms, so make sure you clock in at least seven to eight hours. Even getting too much sleep can cause headaches, so dont try to make up for lost sleep by snoozing too long.

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Estrogen Drop & The Birth Control Pill

The use of the oral contraceptive pill pack can also cause a sudden drop in estrogen, and thus lead to migraines. When the pill is withdrawn for that last week to allow the period to begin, estrogen levels are going to plummet. If you are experiencing migraines with the use of the oral contraceptive pill pack, some women have chosen to use the oral contraceptive, Seasonale, that is taken long term giving you only 4 periods a year, or continuing the administration of the the oral contraceptive without interruption. However, I am not a fan of birth control pills for many reasons, including the fact that they lead to nutrient deficiencies, e.g. vitamin B6, folic acid, zinc, selenium, magnesium and probiotics. Its very likely that you will be diagnosed with another condition if you are deficient in any of these nutrients and inappropriately be placed on another prescription medication, sadly. . There are other options of birth control you might want to consider, that are not subjecting you to a sudden drop in hormone.

Causes Of Hormonal Headaches

Women’s Health Questions : How to Get Rid of Hormonal Migraines

Headaches, especially migraine headaches, have been linked to the female hormone estrogen. Estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that affect the sensation of pain. A drop in estrogen levels can trigger a headache. Hormone levels change for a variety of reasons, including:

Menstrual cycle: Levels of estrogen and progesterone fall to their lowest levels just prior to menstruation.

Pregnancy: Estrogen levels rise in pregnancy. For many women, hormonal headaches go away during pregnancy. However, some women experience their first migraines during early pregnancy and then find relief after the first trimester. After giving birth, estrogen levels fall rapidly.

Perimenopause and menopause: Fluctuating hormone levels in perimenopause cause some women to have more headaches. Approximately two-thirds of women who experience migraines say their symptoms improve as they reach menopause. For some, migraines actually worsen. This may be due to the use of hormone replacement therapies.

Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy: Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can cause hormone levels to rise and fall. Women whose migraines come as a result of hormonal changes while on the pill typically have migraine attacks during the last week of the cycle, when the pills do not have hormones.

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