Women approaching menopause experience worsened migraines according to the latest findings. Vincent Martin, MD, lead researcher, said, “Women have been telling doctors that their migraine headaches worsen around menopause and now we have proof they were right.”
High-frequency headaches – more than 10 days with headaches month – increased in women by 60 percent during premenopause in comparison with normal cycling women.
The researchers examined 3,664 women who experienced migraines prior to menopause and during menopause.
Researcher Richard Lipton added, “Changes in female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone that occur during the perimenopause might trigger increased headaches during this time.”
Frequency increase of headaches was seen more so during perimenopause which may be attributed to fluctuating estrogen levels.
Migraine headache frequency also increased during menopause by 76 percent but the researchers do not believe this is associated with fluctuating hormones but rather an overuse of medications.
Martin added, “Women as they get older develop lots of aches and pains, joints and back pain and it is possible their overuse of pain medications for headache and other conditions might actually drive an increase in headaches for the menopause group.”
Women are three times more likely o experience migraines compared to men and roughly 12 percent of the American population suffers from them.
Co-author Jelena Pavlovic concluded, “Physicians can prescribe hormonal therapies that level out these changes that occur during the perimenopause and menopause time periods. If the patient is in early perimenopause, you can give birth control pills that level things out. If they are in the late perimenopause and they start skipping periods, they can be put on estrogen patches.”
Some of the best natural methods for relieving migraines caused by menopause include:
Drinking Coffee: If you enjoy a cup of coffee every morning, there’s no need to give up that cup of joe because you’ve started menopause. While caffeine may worsen symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, skipping the daily coffee you’ve become accustomed to may result in a migraine, so to relieve this pain, head to your favorite coffee shop and enjoy!
Eat Estrogen Boosters: Foods like soy, apples, alfalfa, rice, cherries, and potatoes all contain phytoestrogens that boost estrogen and can help restore hormone balance within your body. Snacking on one of these foods can relieve migraines caused by an imbalance in your hormones.
Exercise: We all known that exercise is good for you, and should be included regularly in a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that its stress reducing qualities can combat migraines? So long as your migraine is not severe, following along with a Pilates or yoga class can help ward off the pain before it reaches its peak.
Sleep: The often-disrupted sleep women experience during menopause due to night sweat and hot flashes can lead to a migraine caused by sleep deprivation. Help yourself get a better night’s sleep by limiting your exposure to screens and artificial light two hours before bedtime, and keep your room dark to avoid any light distractions.
Take a Bath: If you tend to experience hot flashes, this option may not seem too appealing, but a bath in warm water with Epsom salts can help you relax and soothe you before you head to bed. Try adding a drop or two of an essential oil like lavender to increase relaxation.
Stay Hydrated: Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headaches, and women who experience night sweat and hot flashes may lose more water than they realize. Substitute soda, coffee, and diuretics for plain water or alkalizing drinks. Create your own alkalizing beverage by mixing one tablespoon of lime juice and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water.
Change Your Diet: Eating a healthy, balanced diet that consists of mostly whole foods and plenty of produce can help you avoid causing a migraine due to hormone imbalance. This is because many animal products contain hormones that may disrupt your own, so steering clear can reduce your risk of a headache.