Are Your Headaches Being Caused By Hormones?
Headaches can be caused by all kinds of things from genetics to diet, weather, tension and more. One headache trigger that is more often experienced by women is changes in hormonal levels. The hormone level changes, particularly of estrogen, that occur during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause can throw off the chemicals in the brain that affect our experience and sensation of pain. In addition, the use of hormone replacement therapies and oral contraceptives can have similar affects. The good news is there are effective ways of controlling the role that hormonal level changes play in producing headaches.
How Do Hormone Levels Changes Cause Headaches?
Two hormones, estrogen and progesterone, play an important part in regulating and controlling the menstrual cycle and have a role in pregnancy. These hormones are believed to affect chemicals in the brain that are related to headaches. When these two hormones are at steady levels in the body, the chance of them causing a headache lowers. While low estrogen levels can make headaches more likely, it is really dramatic changes in hormonal levels that are most likely to trigger headaches. Things that can change hormonal levels include:
- The Menstrual Cycle: During menstruation, estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest.
- Pregnancy: Estrogen levels rise during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Those same levels drop rapidly after childbirth. Interestingly, many woman who suffer from menstruation related hormonal headaches, find relief from them during pregnancy.
- Menopause and Perimenopause: Hormonal headaches are more likely during perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause, and many who suffer from them find that they decrease in frequency after menopause is reached.
- Hormone Replacement and Contraceptives: Both can cause significant changes, both rises and drops, in hormone levels.
There Are Effective Ways to Treat and Prevent Hormonal Headaches
At Miami Headache Institute we have had great success treating hormonal headaches with a combination of medications and natural treatments. Some of the medications that can help with hormonal headaches are non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, beta blockers, triptans and antidepressants. There are also traditional headache treatments that can also aide in relieving hormonal headaches, like:
- Staying hydrated
- Placing a cold towel or bag of ice on the head
- Relaxation and breathing exercises
- Laying down in a dark and quiet room
When you come to Miami Headache Institute for hormonal headache relief we will get to the source of the cause of your headaches. Sometimes there may be other ways to approach your treatment, in particular by controlling hormone levels in the body. For instance, women undergoing estrogen replacement treatments may benefit from having their dosage administered through a patch which delivers a low and steady dose, thus avoiding the hormonal spikes that can be brought on by estrogen pills. Another example is eliminating the hormonal level change that occurs during the placebo week of an oral contraception cycle. Replacing the placebos with low dose estrogen pills reduces this fluctuation in hormonal levels.
We can help you put hormonal headaches behind you, starting today. Call our team of headache relief specialists now or request a consultation with our online form. Don't suffer unnecessarily from hormonal headaches any longer.
Dr. Payman Sadeghi is the founder of the Miami Headache and Neurological Institute. He studied medicine at Nordestana University and finished his Internal Medicine internship and Neurology residency at the University of Texas. Dr. Sadeghi has completed an electromyography super fellowship as well as many epilepsy and neuroimaging fellowships. At his residency in Neurology at the University of Texas Medical Branch Dr. Sadeghi gained extensive experience diagnosing and treating headache and migraine patients. That residency, along with Dr. Sadeghi's medical curiosity and his varied clinical experience, has made him a specialist in headaches and their treatment.
Dr. Sadeghi was also a clinical assistant professor during his time at the University of Texas. He is a member of the American Headache Society, the National Headache Foundation and the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Sadeghi is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Persian.