Menopause migraines & headaches are periodic attacks of headaches, in one or both sides of the head, characterized by a sharp pain that can last between 4 to 72 hours. These may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, an increased sensitivity of the eyes to light (photophobia), increased sensitivity to sound (phonophobia), dizziness, blurred vision, cognitive disturbances, between other symptoms.
Migraines & headaches during menopause might reach a severe and frequent intensity, and, according to Dr. Michael Welch, "Migraine can incapacitate some patients".
There are many causes for Menopause Migraines & Headaches during menopause, but it is generally accepted that the main reason for this is the declining level of estrogen hormones, which causes hormonal imbalance. As a result, this produces several changes not only in body functioning but also in mental health.
The causes of menopause migraines & Headaches can be divided into psychological and physical. Psychological aren't as common as physical; in fact, it's normally accepted that physical causes are responsible for menopause migraines & Headaches in most women. Psychological causes for menopause migraines & Headaches are not common.
Psychological causes for menopause migraines & Headaches
Anxiety and other forms of emotional daily stress, overwork and fatigue can cause menopause migraines & headaches. If these factors are not controlled, they could make you lose emotional stability. Therefore, these could unbalance your body functioning, producing alterations that will lead to menopause migraines & headaches. Usually these cases are temporary and menopause migraines & headaches stops when the stressful time ends.
Physical causes for menopause migraines & Headaches
Because the most probable cause for migraines & headaches during menopause is hormone imbalance, it is generally accepted that the declination of estrogen hormones is responsible for migraines and headaches. This can be better understood as when hormones fluctuate, blood vessels in the brain overreact, producing headaches and migraines. In other words, when estrogen hormones start dropping, it is very probable that migraines are going to be produced more frequently and intensely.
This can happen in menopause or even when a woman has her normal periods (in which hormonal fluctuations occur). Therefore, the best way to avoid migraines & headaches during menopause is to keep a healthy balanced level of estrogen hormones.
There are other infrequent and rare causes for migraine & headaches during menopause like: heredity genes, stroke, and some medication. However, hormonal imbalance is the most common cause for migraine & headaches during menopause. Keep reading to learn about the efficient ways to cope migraines & headaches during menopause.
A study published in the British Medical Journal has shown that acupuncture is effective in relieving chronic and migraine headaches.
Menopause Migraines & Headaches are just an indicator of the declination of estrogen hormones that menopause produces. These changes result in a hormonal imbalance in a woman's body and cause Menopause Migraines & Headaches. Therefore, the best and most effective way to treat Menopause Migraines & Headaches is to control its main cause by balancing hormonal levels.
Three approaches for the treatment of Menopause Migraines & Headaches
There are three levels of treatments of Menopause Migraines & Headaches:
- (1) Lifestyle Changes,
- (2) Alternative Medicine and
- (3) Drugs and Surgery.
You should always start with the least risky approach (lifestyle changes) and go on to riskier approaches (surgery/drugs) only if necessary.
The first level involves no risk but may be the hardest way to go. You'll have to change many habits of your daily life. So if you are considering this approach, you will need a strong mind and a positive thinking for managing these changes.
Nonetheless, techniques for stress reduction (e.g. yoga), a diet rich in estrogenic food (soy, alfalfa, cherries, rice, wheat and yams) or even becoming more fit by doing regular exercises, will have positive effects on the treatment of Menopause Migraines & Headaches.
It's not easy to follow up this approach, that's why you might want to consider the next level of treatment, because alternative medicine is an excellent treatment for Menopause Migraines & Headaches.
Alternative approaches involve little or no risk and can be considered as the safest way to treat Menopause Migraines & Headaches. In this level of approach, Herbal remedies are the most effective option.
There are basically two types of herbs to treat Menopause Migraines & Headaches during menopause: phytoestrogen and non-estrogenic herbs. Phytoestrogen herbs (e.g. Black Cohosh, Dong Quai) contain plant estrogens. Therefore, these herbs replace the missing estrogen; unfortunately, phytoestrogen herbs produce several side effects (like breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes) as a result from adding hormones from outside.
Unlike phytoestrogen herbs, non-estrogenic herbs don't contain any estrogen. Instead, non-estrogenic herbs nourish your hormonal glands for healthy production of your own natural hormones. This ultimately ends up in balancing overall hormones levels. Due to this, non-estrogenic herbs, like Macafem, can be considered as the safest way of natural treatment for Menopause Migraines & Headaches.
Nature & Health magazine. Dr. Chacon says:
A combination of approaches is a good route to take. Lifestyle changes combined with alternative medicine will probably take care of Menopause Migraines & Headaches during menopause in a more efficiently way.
Drugs and Surgery
Interventions at level 3 involve the highest risk and often the highest costs. The most common drug therapy for the treatment of Menopause Migraines & Headaches in the US is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). There's no doubt that this is the quickest and strongest way to combat hormonal imbalance; unfortunately, it entails serious side effects and increases the risk of different cancer types among women.
If you still consider following this approach, take a visit to your physician, and get informed about what this treatment option involves.
Remember that these three levels of approaches are not mutually exclusive. You can use different approaches at different times or combine several at the same time. Nowadays more and more women think that the best treatment for Menopause Migraines & Headaches during menopause is accomplished via a combination of healthy lifestyle and alternative treatments.