More than twenty-eight million Americans suffer from migraines brought about by different reasons. A whopping seventy percent of that twenty-eight million are women. Beyond the pain associated with a migraine, they can completely incapacitate you and keep you from working or being productive in any way, thus, they are best treated as soon as possible.
What is a Migraine?
First and foremost, before starting treatment, you need to establish if you are suffering from migraines. To do this, you need to know what a migraine is. A migraine is a characteristic moderate to severe pain that is more on one side of the head. The pain often increases with increased physical activity. One might also experience other problems such as vomiting, sensitivity to light and nausea. The pain may occur rarely or several times a week lasting between four to seventy-two hours each time.
So what causes these migraines?
Although there is no clear-cut theory explaining the reason behind headaches, experts tend to believe that migraines come as a result of inflammation which in turn causes swelling in the blood vessels which then press on nearby nerves – causing the severe pain.
Unfortunately for some, their migraines may be hereditary. Genetics have long been believed to be a possible cause of migraines. If migraines run in your family, you may very well be prone to a particular variation of the chemical imbalance that causes migraine pain. Be sure to check with your family to see if they have had these problems – and if there are any particular triggers that caused them or solutions that helped.
Finally, there is also evidence that indicates that fluctuations of the serotonin levels in the brain can cause what is referred to as hormonal migraines – it is these fluctuations to the hormones that menopause will affect.
Menopause & Migraines
Menopause can either be a blessing or a curse to someone with a history of migraines. If your migraines were brought about by changes in the level of hormones during your menstrual cycle, then a reduction in estrogen when menopause begins may actually reduce your migraines!
For most though, after the onset of menopause, the levels of hormones remain consistently low marking the end of hormone-related migraines.
It is, therefore, safe to say when a woman has experienced no period for at least 12 months, it marks both the beginning of menopause, and most likely, the end to any hormone-related migraines!
Non-Hormone Related Migraines
For others, perimenopause might mark a temporary worsening of the migraines because hormonal fluctuations are even more extreme at this time.
…If your migraines are worsened due to the fluctuations of perimenopause - it does not mean you have to wait till menopause to live a life without migraines. You can still opt to treat the migraines once they occur and to lessen the occurrence by avoiding any possible triggers.
Common triggers of migraines include bright lights, stress and lack of food. A combination of these triggers is the perfect recipe for a severe migraine, especially if you know you are already in perimenopause or right around a menstrual cycle.
Treatment for Migraines
While the shelves of pharmacies are lined with medications that treat migraines, you can also choose from a wide variety of other remedies. Some good ways to ease migraines without medication include changes in diet, regular sleep/wake schedules, relaxation techniques, and even acupuncture.
If you prefer medicines, then you have the option to go for curative or preventive drugs.
Be sure to check with your doctor to see what particular treatment he or she recommends before starting any different kind of treatment.
All in all, hormones are often a trigger for anyone who suffers with migraines and may increase the frequency – if you feel this is the case for you, keep in mind that you have something exciting to look forward to during menopause:
You can safely add: ‘less migraines’ right next to ‘no more periods’ on the list of what to look forward to during menopause!
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As always, our goal is to make sure you don’t have to PAUSE for Menopause!