hormones and headaches

Can hormonal changes cause headaches?

A common question asked is can hormonal changes cause headaches? In short, the answer is yes, they can!

For both men and women, a variety of variables contribute to headaches, including family history and age. Women, on the other hand, frequently discover a link between headaches and hormonal fluctuations.

The hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy, can also impact the chemicals in the brain that cause headaches.

Consistent oestrogen levels may help with headaches, however oestrogen levels that decrease or vary can aggravate headaches.

Though fluctuating hormone levels can affect headache patterns, you’re not fully reliant on them. Hormone-related headaches can be treated — or avoided — with the help of a medical professional.

Causes

While factors such as stress, alcohol use, medication and emotional stress can all contribute to headaches, hormones can also be to blame.

More than half of women who suffer migraines see a link with their periods, according to the National Migraine Centre. These so-called “menstrual migraines” are usually rather severe.

A migraine is most likely to occur during the two days preceding a period or the first three days of a period. This is due to a natural decrease in oestrogen levels throughout these times.

The episodes are usually more severe than migraines experienced at other times of the month, and they are more likely to recur the following day.

With that being said, hormone headaches aren’t just caused by menstruation.

Other factors that can contribute to headaches include:

● Contraceptive pill – Some women experience less headaches while on the pill, while others report more frequent attacks, particularly during the pill-free week when oestrogen levels plummet.
● Menopause – Headaches normally get worse as you get closer to menopause, partly due to period irregularities and partly due to the disruption of the normal hormone cycle.
● Pregnancy – Headaches can become more severe in the first few weeks of pregnancy, but they normally improve or disappear by the sixth month; they do not harm the baby.

Symptoms of a hormonal headache

Headaches or migraines are the most common symptom of a ‘hormonal headache’. Despite this, many women have other symptoms that might help doctors diagnose a hormonal headache.

Menstrual or hormonal migraines are practically identical to ordinary migraines, however a migraine can be characterised by a throbbing ache on one side of the head, light sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting.

Hormonal headaches also cause the following symptoms:

● Fatigue
● Acne
● Loss of appetite
● Salt cravings
● Decreased urination
● Joint pain
● Constipation

Tips to relieve

Migraines and headaches can be treated in a variety of ways, such as the following:

● Ice – apply an ice pack or a cold towel to the aching spot on your head or neck. To protect your skin, wrap the ice pack in a towel
● Mindful/relaxation exercise – to relieve tension, try relaxation activities such as yoga, breathing exercises and meditation
● Acupuncture – acupuncture may help you relax and relieve headaches
● Rest – sleep or rest in a darkened room to relieve tension and strain on the eyes
● Hydrate – The brain might contract briefly as a result of fluid loss when the body is dehydrated. The brain returns to its normal state after being rehydrated, which can relieve the headache.

Prevention

If you get multiple terrible headaches each month, your doctor may offer NSAIDs or triptans as a prophylactic medication.

If your menstrual cycle is regular, taking headache preventative medicine a few days before your period and continuing it for up to two weeks following the start of your period can be quite beneficial.

If you suffer from migraines during your menstrual cycle or have irregular periods, your doctor may advise you to take preventive drugs on a daily basis.

If other medications aren’t working, your doctor may suggest monthly injections of a calcitonin gene-related peptide monoclonal antibody to help avoid headaches. Doctors will most likely examine your other medical conditions to determine which meds are best for you.

Migraine frequency, duration, and severity may be reduced by making lifestyle adjustments such as decreasing stress, avoiding missing meals, and exercising on a regular basis.

Long-term treatment

If you suffer with migraines/headaches constantly, then it could definitely be down to a hormonal imbalance. If that is the case, it is best to get tested and checked by a medical professional to establish what hormones your body is deficient in.

Bioidenitical hormone replacement (BHRT) is a popular treatment for people suffering with hormonal imbalances. As each individual is unique, there is really no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to balancing out hormones.

BHRT works by mimicking the natural production of your hormones and replenishing those that you are deficient in, alleviating symptoms such as headaches and migraines.

If you’re interested in finding out more, click here.

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