Balance Estrogen To Progesterone Ratio
As mentioned above, estrogen dominance, or high estrogen in relation to low progesterone, is the root cause of most menstrual migraines. Thus incorporating practices that work to balance this ratio, such as reducing exposure to xenoestrogens and toxins , mitigating stress, eating more progesterone-boosting foods, and supporting your gut health through probiotic-rich foods and supplements are all extremely effective tactics.
**Need more recipes and tips to help heal estrogen dominance or other hormonal imbalances? Check out my go-to guide.
Hrt For Gender Transitioning
Many transgender men and women use hormone therapy during the transitioning process. For transgender people with migraine, changes in hormone levels can contribute to migraine attacks, though its likely not the only factor.
While each person can react differently to HRT, its possible that the use of HRT while transitioning can affect the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks. There isnt much data on transgender people who go through HRT and how it affects migraine. But research shows consistent hormone therapy can reduce migraine frequency. This is especially helpful for people who typically experience menstrual migraine.
Transgender people dont have to choose between hormone therapy and migraine management. Because of the relationship between hormones and migraine, its important to talk to your doctor about whether specific migraine medications may interact with HRT and how HRT may affect the frequency of migraine attacks.
Treatment For Hormonal And Menstrual Migraine
If you experience migraine attacks associated with your menstrual cycle or hormone changes in perimenopause , talk to your doctor about treatment options. You dont have to accept migraine attacks as a part of your hormonal shifts each month or your transition to menopause. There are many options for acute and preventive treatments.
Oral tablets, injectables and nasal sprays can provide acute relief when an attack occurs. But preventive treatments can also be helpful for hormonal and menstrual migraine. In a mini-prevention approach, a woman will take medication, either NSAIDs, estrogen supplementation, triptans or do short-term prevention with rimegepant in the days leading up to her period. Taking magnesium from day 15 of the menstrual cycle through the next period is another mini-prevention strategy. This relies on the timing of the previous period, so it can be a good option for those with irregular periods. Note that none of these approaches are FDA-approved at this time, and they are not recommended in women who have migraine with aura or other risk factors for stroke.
Taking estrogen to stabilize hormone levels doesnt always work to treat migraine. Whether its from birth control or HRT, estrogen can have an unpredictable effect. It may decrease migraine frequency, trigger attacks or do nothing at all. Your doctor can help you find the proper treatment based on your migraine symptoms, menstrual or perimenopausal symptoms, cycle timing and personal risk factors.
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Oestrogen Build Up Headaches:
A simple description of a menstrual cycle is as follows:
- The menstrual cycle of most women lasts 28 days, however this may vary in some women.
- The first day of menstruation is regarded as day one of your cycle. On day one, both oestrogen and progesterone levels are low and both levels remain relatively low for most of the first half of your cycle.
- However, around day 12 of the cycle, the oestrogen does have a mid-cycle surge just prior to ovulation and then drops off again.
- After ovulation, the oestrogen starts its climb towards the end of the cycle. A day or so before the next bleed, the oestrogen level drops off again.
- The progesterone is expected to keep pace with the increase of oestrogen and is thought to âbalance out the oestrogenâ and helps to offset the possible side effects of too much oestrogen.
- If there is insufficient progesterone being produced or your oestrogen receptors are overly sensitive to oestrogen, this gradual build-up of oestrogen may cause headaches.
- Other symptoms that may accompany this oestrogen build-up include:
- Skin changes like acne
Does This Mean Hormone Therapy Can Affect Your Headaches
Your doctor may prescribe some form of hormone replacement therapy to treat hot flashes or other symptoms related to menopause. How this treatment affects your headaches will be unique to you. It could help your migraines, or it could make them worse.
If youve noticed worsening headaches and are on HRT, you should tell your doctor. They may want you to try an estrogen skin patch instead. Estrogen patches may be less likely than other forms of HRT to trigger headaches. Your doctor may also suggest other treatment options.
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Whats The Relationship Between Hormones And Headaches
Headaches in women, especially migraines, are related to changes in the levels of estrogen. Levels of estrogen drop immediately before the start of your menstrual flow .
Premenstrual migraines regularly occur during or after the time when the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, drop to their lowest levels.
Migraine attacks usually improve during pregnancy. However, some women have reported that their migraines started during the first trimester of pregnancy, and then went away.
What Are Some Remedies I Can Use For Menstrual Migraine
So, how can you keep migraine attacks from making the monthly ordeal of your period even worse? Well, the first step is understanding your treatment options.
Hot or cold compresses
Hereâs an inexpensive remedy thatâs effective at reducing migraine and menstrual pain: hot and cold compresses. For migraine pain, youâll want to apply them to the base of your neck or your temples. Disposable ice packs, while not the most environmentally-friendly, can be kept by your bed instead of in the freezer so you can skip the trip to the kitchen while youâre in pain.
No matter how you use your compresses, be sure to use them in moderation: The National Headache Foundation suggests capping cold pack use at 15 minutes at a time, and heating pads can cause skin burns or even fires if you donât keep an eye on them.
As you may already know, various forms of ginger have been used to treat nausea for centuries, making it an appropriate choice for menstrual migraine. And while it doesnât actually have to be tea to work, drinking something hot can be a soothing experience on its own.
As far as clinical research goes, the evidence for gingerâs effectiveness has been inconclusive. So while you may not see a massive impact from this home remedy, it probably wonât hurt to give it a try.
As a bonus, this treatment is totally free, and simple enough that you can probably manage it yourself .
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Can Estrogen Levels Cause Headaches
Estrogen dominance is the most common cause of hormonal headaches. This can occur when there is an excess amount of estrogen in your system either because you are making too much, not eliminating it effectively, or are being over exposed to xenoestrogens.
It can also happen if you’re not ovulating or not making sufficient progesterone.
Estrogen dominance is referred to as estrogen excess in medicine and is a diagnosable condition. Sometimes doctors will say they do not believe in estrogen dominance, but this is often because they are not testing correctly or familiar with the diagnosis .
Working with a hormone expert can help you identify the source of your headaches and support you in relieving them for good.
Finding your root cause is important to understand if something bigger is at play.
Ok, so finding the root cause is important and sure Ibuprofen and Tylenol are bad, but when theres pain, whats a girl to do?
Supplement For Hormone Health
If you already have your foundational basics covered like eating, drinking, moving, thinking, breathing, sunlight, sleeping, and play, then it may be time for supplements. The first place to go is providing the building blocks to our hormones and their balancing systems like B vitamins and especially methylated ones for migraines sufferers, zinc, selenium, vitamin E, magnesium, and vitamin C. You may want to work with a holistic healthcare professional to identify which supplements you most need.
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Ways To Treat Hormonal Headaches Naturally
Whether its a debilitating migraine or the dull throbbing from a stressful day, headaches have the ability to zap your energy, ruin your focus and turn your otherwise centered self into a crabby mess.
As one of the most common and vague health conditions, headaches are generally accepted as just part of being human, whether brought on by fatigue, dehydration, stress or lack of sleep. Headaches can indeed be caused by all of these things, but for women, theres often a hormonal imbalance at the root of those menstrual migraines or the constant tension between your eyes.
What Vitamins Help Headaches
If you experience a vitamin deficiency, your body may feel ok at first. However, with time, its likely to produce disturbing symptoms, which in turn could reflect on your daily activities. If you suffer from headaches, you could consider adding the following vitamins to your diet:
While its possible to get these vitamins from foods, not too many busy women manage to eat balanced meals. Thats why you may want to consider taking supplements.
Getting your hormonal headaches under control can be life changing!
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Prevention Of Hormonal Headache
Prevention can include medications that reduce the likelihood of a migraine from occurring, as well as making lifestyle changes.
According to the AMF, healthcare professionals may prescribe preventative medications that are off-label. In other words, they are not specifically designed to prevent migraine, but they may help.
Common medications for prevention include:
- Hormones: These come in various forms such as oral, gels, or patches that help prevent a drop in hormone levels leading up to menstruation.
- NSAIDS: A person can take these approximately twice a day in the week leading up to menstruation.
- Magnesium supplement: A person can start taking these on the 15th day of the cycle and continue until menstruation starts.
- Triptans: A person can take these twice a day during menstruation. They may help prevent hormonal headaches from occurring.
Another option is for a person to use continuous hormone therapy, often in the form of hormonal birth control. This approach may help regulate hormone levels and prevent headaches from occurring.
Finally, a person can take steps to avoid other triggers that may contribute to their migraine. This can include:
- eating a healthy diet and avoiding foods that may trigger an attack
- regular exercise
History Of Hormonal Headache
Hormonal Headache was originally thought to be due to abnormal levels of hormones throughout the body. During a normal menstrual cycle, oestrogen levels in the body drop.
It was previously thought that the drop in oestrogen levels was the cause of hormonal headaches. This was proven false, as several studies have found that the drop in oestrogen levels did not significantly differ from those with hormonal headaches, than those without this condition.
Leading experts in this field have found that there is in fact no hormonal abnormalities to trigger hormonal headaches.
Ive tried everything. What can be done to help my Hormonal Headaches?
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Regular Exercise Can Help Prevent Menstrual Migraine
When we consider all the strategies to prevent migraine attacks, I love it when people choose to make lifestyle modifications that can make a real difference, says Hindiyeh.
There’s lots of evidence to suggest regular aerobic exercise can work as a preventive medication all on its own, and there are some studies to suggest that yoga and HIIT can be helpful as well, says Hindiyeh.
Not only can regular exercise help prevent migraine attacks for some people, but also, if the headache is mild, a short bout of exercise can actually help relieve that headache that’s happening, according to Hindiyeh.
On the other hand, overexerting yourself can be a trigger for migraine, especially if you are already having a migraine attack, she says.
One of the cardinal definitions and features of migraine is that normal activity can make you feel worse. If you’re already in the middle of a severe migraine attack, moving around excessively is going to make things worse for you its probably not the best time to go for a jog or do some aerobic activity, says Hindiyeh.
Hormonal Headaches & Migraines: A Women’s Health Issue
Headaches and migraines. Most of us have experienced one or the other as some point and know just how miserable they can be. Its likely, too, that youve noticed a connection between headache or migraine symptoms and hormone shifts and youd be exactly right.
Hormonal shifts can be a huge trigger and explain why headaches are far more common in women, with migraines three times as common in women than men. It also explains why for many women they first show up when they first start getting their period or in their late teens/early 20s and drop by 50 percent or even disappear completely after menopause.
Women are too often told by doctors that our hormone-related symptoms are not significant that theyre just normal, or that they are over-reacting in other words, that its all in their heads. But hormonal headaches and migraines are not just all in your head. Migraines are actually described in the medical literature as one of the most common, disabling gynecologic conditions, and menstruation as one of the most potent migraine triggers.
Further, even if you are given a prescription for your headaches or migraines, they dont always work, as youll learn soon many may actually become a headache trigger, and they carry side-effects that can be anything from unpleasant to serious.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Beta Blockers
While triptans battle a migraine once it starts, beta blockers work to prevent the migraine from happening to begin with. Beta blockers were originally created to reduce blood pressure, but they are also excellent at preventing migraines and are regularly prescribed for people suffering from migraines, including those caused by your period. The American Headache Society and American Academy of Neurology considers propranolol, metoprolol and timolol the most effective beta blockers for preventing migraines.
Again, this is something you need to talk to your doctor about. So if migraines are plaguing you, book an in-person visit or telemedicine appointment.
What Causes And Triggers Hormonal Headaches
Many women with migraines report headaches before or during menstruation. Also, because of the changes in oestrogen and progesterone around ovulation, some women report headaches around the middle of the cycle too.
The build-up of oestrogen leading up to your period and/or the significant drop in oestrogen just before your period are the main causes of hormonal headaches. Also, insufficient production of progesterone after ovulation and leading up to your period may be contributing to your headache problem.
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How Is Menstrual Migraine Diagnosed
There are no tests available for menstrual migraine. The most accurate way to tell if you have menstrual migraine is to keep a diary for at least three months recording both your migraine attacks and the days you menstruate.
For menstrual migraine to be diagnosed migraine should occur predominately between two days before and up to three days into menstruation, in at least two out of three consecutive menstrual cycles.
Keep Your Glutamate Levels Low
Glutamate has been implicated as one of the main migraine triggers since the 1970s. Our brain has glutamate scavengers that help clear of any excesses of glutamate. One study published in Biology of Reproduction found that estrogen and progesterone are neuroprotective and serve as glutamate scavengers. When these hormones drop dramatically close to the last and first days of the menstrual cycle, glutamate can build up in neurons, causing damage. Avoid any large sources of glutamate or synthetic forms found in eggs, milk, wheat, and soy products.
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Menstrual Cycle Headaches & Migraines
Two types of headaches most commonly occur during our menstrual cycles: tension headaches and migraines. Tension headaches typically feel as if theres a pressure band wrapped around your head, or like a pulsing in your temples or behind your eyes, and women commonly experience them before their periods start but they may not have a uniquely hormonal cause and can be due to other common headache causes that occur coincidentally around your period, particularly if your period is a stressful time for you in general.
Menstrual migraines have a well-established hormonal basis. If youre a migraine sufferer in general, unfortunately, youre more predisposed to having hormonally triggered ones, too. As many as 70 percent of women migraineurs experience a menstrual association. Dont you feel lucky! However, it is possible to only have menstrual migraines called pure menstrual migraines and not have them otherwise. Here are some the known or suspected links between our cycles and migraines.
As Estrogen Drops, Serotonin Does, Too
We Have a Lower Pain Threshold Before Our Periods
Histamine Gets Into the Act
It Can Happen Around Ovulation, Too
Treat Hormonal Migraines Naturally
Migraines are headaches that have certain associated characteristics, such as nausea, vomiting, visual changes, and sensitivity to light, noise and smells. Many women who suffer from migraines notice a correlation with their menstrual cycle. Some women have migraines that start just before their cycle begins and others have migraines that occur during their cycle. Other women start to have regular migraines when they enter the perimenopausal period of life. And some women who experience migraines find the symptoms fade when they become pregnant.
Here is an introduction to the influence of hormones on migraines, along with ways to treat hormonally mediated migraines naturally.
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