The hormones in women can play a vital role in triggering headaches. Specifically, the levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones can affect the headache-related chemicals present in the brain. As a result, women often experience “hormonal headaches” before or during the menstruation period and at other times where hormonal fluctuation occurs.
Luckily, hormonal headaches can be easily managed with pain medications. In most women, over-the-counter analgesics such as ibuprofen can provide enough pain relief. If the individual suffers from moderate to severe headaches, prescription-strength pain medications might be needed and usually prescribed by the doctor. If the individual has regular headaches that coincide with the start of the period, using pain medications prophylactically 2-3 days before the period and continuing throughout can prevent the headache. In addition, the doctor will prescribed other preventive medications such as antidepressants or cardiovascular medications. Depending on the symptoms experienced by the individual, these medications can be taken before and during the period or taken on a daily basis.
Link with birth control
The hormonal birth control methods such as birth control pills, Depo-Provera injections and patches can affect the headache patterns. If a woman starts one of these methods, it can trigger the manifestation of headaches. Nevertheless, others have less severe or less frequent headaches while using hormonal birth control methods.
If the woman experiences hormonal headaches around menstruation, the use of birth control that reduces the length or frequency of the period can be beneficial. The use of progestin only pills that does not affect the level of estrogen can also help. In case these birth control measures cause severe headaches, it is best to consult a doctor for advice or switch to a different method.
Various approaches during pregnancy and menopause
During pregnancy, the level of estrogen can increase drastically and stay high until delivery. As a result, if the woman has a history of hormonal headaches, pregnancy can make them either better or worse. Some women experience headaches for the first time during pregnant. The treatment options during pregnancy are limited due to the risks to the baby. A doctor should be consulted regarding medications that are safe to use. During pregnancy, alternative treatments such as aromatherapy, massage and acupuncture are the best bet.
During the menopausal period, women experience dramatic shifts in the level of estrogen that can improve or worsen the hormonal headaches. In most cases, hormone replacement therapy can greatly help some women, but can worsen the hormonal headaches. Throughout the menopausal stage, the estrogen patches are highly recommended for women who experience headaches since they release estrogen steadily in low doses. The reduced fluctuations in the level of estrogen in the body are considered beneficial for women who suffer from headaches.