There are many different causes for headaches and hormonal fluctuations are also among them. This article will provide you with some information about hormonal headaches.
Headaches can be mild to severe and for some people, it can be debilitating too. Migraine is one of those severe forms of headaches that is debilitating in nature. Most of the migraine sufferers are women and it is said that in most cases, this condition is associated with hormonal fluctuations.
According to statistics, around 75% of migraine sufferers are women and almost 70% of them experience this type of headache with relation to menstrual cycle, puberty, pregnancy and menopause. This is mainly because of the fluctuating female hormones during these periods. So, this type of headache is also referred to as hormonal headaches or menstrual migraines.
Causes and Symptoms
Hormonal headaches are so named as they are linked to the hormonal fluctuations in the female body. As far as the hormones are concerned, it is the changes in the level of estrogen that are said to cause this type of headache. It is said that, during hormonal fluctuations, estrogen gets attached and detached from the blood vessels in the outer parts of the brain. This results in dilation of the blood vessels, causing headache. This dilation of blood vessels remains till the hormonal levels get steady. This is why, these headaches are found to disappear, as the estrogen levels get constantly low, after menopause.
While, some women develop this condition just before periods, others may suffer from it during the initial days of a menstrual cycle or after periods. Even ovulation, the initial months of pregnancy, the month preceding childbirth, perimenopause and menopause, are conditions that may trigger such headache. Intake of birth control pills is also linked with these headaches.
While some women experience the condition when they consume these pills, others are relieved of this headache when they are off the pill. Hormonal headache symptoms include sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting. As in case of other types of migraines, these headaches are also mostly one-sided.
How to Stop Hormonal Headaches?
Before starting with the treatment for hormonal headaches, it is very much essential to diagnose the condition properly. You have to maintain a dairy in which you have to note the episodes of headaches with relation to your menstrual cycle. Your doctor is the best person to assess and diagnose your condition. Once you are diagnosed with the condition, you can start with the treatment. It is always better to combat this headache through natural methods, rather than managing the condition with medicines.
As mentioned above, hormonal headaches can be managed with prescription medication. The most commonly used ones are NSAID’s, like ibuprofen, anti migraine drugs, like triptans, etc. NSAID’s are usually started two to three days before the menstrual cycle and continued till the end of the cycle. Even diuretics, ergotamine drugs, anticonvulsants, beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers are used for treating hormonal headaches.
Women in the menopausal stage are often prescribed with small doses of estrogen. Pregnant women are given mild pain relievers and no other medication. As individual needs are different, the treatment may also vary from one woman to another. So, it is not at all advisable to use such drugs without the doctor’s advise. Follow the doctor’s instructions while taking these medication.
Hormonal headaches can be managed to a large extent with the help of some natural methods. Follow a healthy diet with less refined food, fats and sugar. Exercise regularly for maintaining normal hormone levels and for controlling stress. Both these will help to reduce the occurrence of these headaches. If you are taking birth control pills, stop these pills and resort to some alternative method. You may also try acupuncture, homeopathic or chiropractic methods for controlling hormonal headaches. There are natural hormonal headache remedies like feverfew and butterbur. If you want to try such herbal remedies, consult a qualified herbalist.
You have to consult a doctor and find a solution, as individual requirements may vary. Treatment for these headaches may also vary with women who are going through various conditions like menopause, pregnancy and puberty. It is always better to control these headaches with a healthy diet, good exercise and relaxation methods. If nothing is found to be working, you may try prescription medication. Otherwise too, you must consult your doctor and get the condition diagnosed.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.