Could migraine headaches be hormonal in origin?


Quick Answer

According to WebMD, migraine headaches in women are frequently caused by hormonal fluctuations. Many women who get migraines notice the headaches are more common just before or during their monthly period.

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Could migraine headaches be hormonal in origin?
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Full Answer

According to the Mayo Clinic, fluctuating estrogen levels affect headache-related chemicals in the brain. Steady estrogen levels result in fewer migraine headaches, while lower or changing estrogen levels result in more headaches. Estrogen levels drop in the days prior to menstruation. Some women use birth control pills to regulate their hormones. This is not a guaranteed cure for hormonal headaches, however. Birth control pills reduce headaches in some women and unfortunately increase headaches in others.

If headaches are believed to be hormonal, patients are advised to begin taking headache medication on a preventative basis several days before their expected period. The medication should be continued until two days after the end of the period. WebMD reports that up to 70 percent of migraine headaches in women are hormonal, so it is worth investigating any connection between headaches and menstrual cycles.

Migraine headaches can be debilitating. To find the best form of treatment, the Mayo Clinic advises consulting with a doctor. Any headache that is more severe than usual can indicate a life-threatening condition and emergency treatment should be sought immediately.

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