If you are getting headaches right before your menstrual period, during your period, or after entering into perimenopause or menopause, you are the rule not the exception. Many women suffer headaches that are the direct result of fluctuating hormones.
Hormonal headaches occur when estrogen levels drop. The higher a woman’s estrogen level, the less likely she is to have a headache. When this hormone plummets, a headache is apt to occur, according to the Mayo Clinic. The drop in estrogen right before your period starts will increase your sensitivity to pain, as well as contribute to headaches. Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, OB/Gyn and clinical professor at Yale University School of Medicine, explains that hormonal headaches are very much like migraine headaches. A hormone headache can cause vomiting and nausea and will affect only one side of the head.
There are various ways to treat your hormonal headaches if you choose not to go the traditional route and take medication. Many women find relief from their headaches when taking herbs. Consider using peppermint. It has been used as a headache remedy for hundreds of years, according to Relieve-migraine-headache.com. Boil up a pot of peppermint tea and sip away. Passionflower is noted for its pain-kiling abilities and is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Make some tea out of passionflower and drink away. It is reportedly a calming herb, which will decrease your anxiety. Ginko biloba is said to increase of the flow of blood, which results in more oxygen getting to your brain, which should relieve your headache. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper on your food. Cayenne contains capsaicin, which raises your pain threshold. Some nose sprays contain cayenne and capsaicin.
Another herb that might be helpful in combating your hormonal headaches is willow bark, which reportedly works very much like aspirin. Butterbur extract can also be used to treat headaches, as can chamomile (which has a calming effect), meadowsweet, skullcap, and valerian.
Dr. Merle Diamond, associate director of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, notes that exercising regularly can reduce the incidence of headaches. Exercise helps eliminate stress that, along with your fluctuating hormones, can result in a headache.
Pay attention to what you are eating. Avoid alcohol, too much caffeine, aged cheese, chocolate, and processed meats because these foods can trigger a headache or make one worse. Eat bananas, which reportedly cure hormonal headaches–perhaps because of their potassium content. Additionally, eat more vegetables and fruit. This will help cleanse your from body from the inside, which should reduce your hormonal headache.
Some women have found headache relief by taking a magnesium supplement. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to headaches, so boosting your magnesium level might help. Discuss all of these options with your physician to determine the best way to combat your hormonal headaches.
Give yourself a head-and-neck massage or have someone do it for you. This will help you relax. Put a hot pack or cold pack–whichever you prefer–on your forehead or on the back of your neck to relieve tension that contributes to headaches.