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Hormonal Headaches



Hormonal Headaches
Hormonal headaches affect women during the overall menstrual cycle with episodes of throbbing headaches, accompanied by nausea and vomiting. To know about the causes, symptoms and treatment of hormonal headaches, read on...
A painful and enfeebling condition affecting many women, hormonal headaches are the result of the fluctuations in the estrogen and progesterone hormone levels in the body. These variations of the female sexual hormones are usually precipitated during the menstrual cycle. The other changes that trigger hormonal headaches are menarche, premenstrual syndrome, pregnancy and menopause. These can start as early as 11 days before the menstrual cycle and occur alongside other premenstrual syndrome symptoms such as acne outbreak, anxiety, emotional sensitivity, constipation, food cravings and fatigue. During this time, the hormonal headaches can be seriously debilitating. Since, the symptoms are similar to those of migraine with throbbing pain on one side of the head, vomiting and sensitivity to bright light and noise, hormonal headaches are mistaken for migraine headaches. The severity of these headaches however differ from one woman to the next. Here, is a look at the causes of these headaches, symptoms and treatment options.

Hormones and Headaches: Causes of Hormonal Headaches

The most common reason for hormonal headaches is, when the levels of estrogen are off-kilter in relation to natural levels of progesterone in the body. The headaches occur just before the menses or during ovulation, when estrogen and other hormones spike, or during the menses itself, when estrogen and progesterone naturally drop off. Usually the first case of hormonal headaches usually hit women during adolescence or can come on suddenly or become more unpredictable in perimenopause or at menopause, when a woman’s hormones are really shifting. Based on this, there are essentially two types of hormonal headaches.

Premenstrual or Hormone Headaches: A premenstrual hormone headache occurs prior to the menses starting from 7 to 3 days before your period and ends when the menstrual flow begins. These usually exist alongside other premenstrual syndrome symptoms.

Menstrual Migraine: Menstrual migraine is a form of hormonal migraine which occurs in the first or second day of the menstrual cycle and stays on till the end of menstruation.

It has been found that there is a correlation between use of birth control pills and hormonal headaches. Since these tablets cause a change in the estrogen levels, the chances of triggering hormonal headaches is increased.

Hormonal Headaches Symptoms

Similar to migraine headaches, a person suffering from hormonal headaches is prone to suffering from throbbing pain on one side of the head, which is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting. During this time, the patient becomes increasingly sensitive to bright lights and high decibel noise.

Hormonal Headaches Treatment

The good news is that you can effectively combat hormonal headaches with these easy steps.
Incorporate a daily exercise routine into your schedule. Yoga and breathing exercises help maintain hormonal balance and reduce the incidence of hormonal headaches. They are also great stress relievers.
A healthy, balanced diet is a step in the right direction, as it helps deter hormonal headaches. Avoid processed foods such as, meat and cut out any food with additives or those that contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). Instead add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Try to eat 5-6 meals per day. This will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable and hopefully deter those headaches from appearing.
The most common triggering agents of hormonal headaches are alcohol, caffeine and sugar.
Drink plenty of water, at least 3 to 4 glasses per day for clearing the body of the toxins.
Sleep for minimum 7 hours a day, as disturbed sleep can aggravate the headache.
In addition to these, over the counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and triptans can help decrease the frequency of hormone headaches and relieve some premenstrual syndrome symptoms, such as cramping. Since, these headaches have similar symptoms to the other types of headaches, a great way to determine the type of headache is to keep a journal of your headaches. You can list down when the headaches occur, that how intense they are, and what you took to treat them. Remember to consult your doctor for the best hormone headache treatment and follow dosage recommendations carefully to avoid hormonal headaches.