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What Is A Hormonal Migraine

Where Do You Find Bpa In Your Favorite Plastics Surprise: It’s In Your Kitchen It’s In Your Purse It’s In Your Gym Bag

Scientific American reports:

Bisphenol A is a ubiquitous compound in plastics. First synthesized in 1891, the chemical has become a key building block of plastics from polycarbonate to polyester; in the U.S. alone more than 2.3 billion pounds of the stuff is manufactured annually. Since at least 1936 it has been known that BPA mimics estrogens, binding to the same receptors throughout the human body as natural female hormones.

This news caused great concern when it was first linked to breast cancer. Now, a recent study by the University of Kansas suggests that BPA could be worsening women’s migraines.

It doesn’t appear that BPA is causing migraines, the researchers write, but that it is making the headaches worse. “A clinical trial to decrease BPA exposure and levels in migraine sufferers may reduce the frequency and severity of headaches and may increase the quality of life for migraine sufferers,” says the study’s lead author Lydia Vermeer, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Breaking Down Three Main Treatment Strategies For Menstrual Migraine And How To Pick The Best Option For You

For nearly two out of three women with migraine, attacks occur around the same time as their period. By definition, if you have migraine attacks that start between the two days before your period and the third day of flow, you likely have menstrual migraine. These attacks are often more severe, longer, and cause greater light sensitivity than attacks occurring other times of the month.

Menstrual migraine is caused by the rapid drop in estrogen levels that occurs just prior to your period. “I have patients that tell me, ‘Aren’t headaches a part of having a menstrual cycle?’” says Dr. Paru David, an internist who works in the division of women’s health internal medicine at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “I educate them that not all women have headaches during their menstrual cycles.”

Migraine attacks occurring just before and during a woman’s period can be the most challenging kind to treat. They do not always respond to the same medicines that work on migraine attacks happening at other times. The reason medications don’t work the same is not entirely clear. But it’s likely related to estrogen’s effects on other chemicals.

Four Practical Ways You Can Reduce Your Exposure To Bpa According To A Report In Rodale News:

• Avoid canned foods. Some food manufacturers are switching to BPA alternatives, but emerging research suggests that the compounds they’re using are just as estrogenic as BPA.

• NEVER microwave your food in plastic. BPA is used to make plastics clear and translucent and is found in plastic containers marked with a #7. But it’s also an additive in “microwave-safe” ovenware, some types of polystyrene , and polyester resins, which are sometimes used to make plastic food containers. It leaches out of these containers when they’re exposed to heat.

• Getting a second opinion on that filling. BPA-based composites are a common material in dental fillings, and dentists are recommending an increasing number of fillings, thanks to increasingly sensitive dental X-ray equipment that can detect tiny “microcavities.” Microcavities don’t always develop into cavities, according to the Texas A&M Health Science Center, yet some dentists fill them anyway, exposing patients to toxic dental materials unnecessarily.


Though fluctuating hormone levels can influence headache patterns, you’re not completely at the mercy of your hormones. Your doctor can help you treat — or prevent — headaches.

What Treatment Guidelines And Pain Relief Options Are Available For Hormonal Migraine

They’re essentially the same as for migraine disease and migraine attacks that are not associated with hormonal exacerbation.

There’s one different approach, which is to try and modulate the hormones themselves as a treatment. An example would be for menstrually-associated migraine, where the thinking is that it’s related to falls in estrogen levels. A healthcare provider might intervene with exogenous estrogen to help prevent an attack.

For some women that does work, but for others, it makes things worse. I sense that it’s due to how the endogenous hormonal clock responds to getting hormones from outside the body.

Your Hormonal Headaches And Migraines Have A Root Cause Wed Love To Help You Find It

5 Ways to Treat Hormonal Migraines Naturally

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Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is one of the leading experts in women’s medicine and is a pioneer in her exploration of the far-reaching impact of hormonal birth control and the little known side effects that impact health in a large way. In her best selling book, Beyond the Pill, she shares her clinical protocols aimed at supporting women struggling with symptoms of hormone imbalance, including Post-Birth Control Pill Syndrome and birth control related side effects. A trained nutritional biochemist and Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Brighten is the founder and Clinic Director at Rubus Health, an integrative women’s medicine clinic. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and has been featured in prominent media outlets such as Forbes, Cosmopolitan, ABC news, and the New York Post. Read more about me here.

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Hormonal Changes Can Cause Migraines In Women Find Migraine Relief With Excedrin

Four out of every ten women suffer from migraines — and more than half of them report a link between those migraines and their monthly cycle. Called menstrual migraines, they typically strike immediately before and after the first day of a woman’s period. They qualify as menstrual migraines if they occur without aura and around the onset of your period during at least two-thirds of your cycles. 1

Avoid These 4 Hidden Sources Of Estrogen If You Suffer From Hormonal Migraines

While women, men and children all suffer from Migraines, it’s clear that a major trigger for many women is fluctuating hormones. Many women can only dream of making it through their monthly cycle without enduring a predictable and painful hormonal migraine.

According to WebMD, the hormones estrogen and progesterone — which play key roles in regulating the menstrual cycle and pregnancy — may affect Migraine-producing chemicals in the brain. Steady estrogen levels may improve headaches, while estrogen levels that drop suddenly can bring on a hormonal migraine.

You’ve been so careful … planning around your time of the month so you might, just might, make it through without a Hormonal Migraine. But wait. Now there’s a new demon that you can easily manage – if you know about it.

No doubt you’ve heard that birth control pills, IUDs, pregnancy, menstruation and menopause can all wreak havoc on your Migraines. What you may not know is that synthetic estrogen, in the form of BPA, can mimic the effect of estrogen in your body.

What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Menstrual Migraines

  • Am I experiencing a menstrual migraine or another type of migraine?
  • Should I change any of the medications I’m taking?
  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • What medications should I take?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

A migraine is more than a bad headache. Not only can menstrual migraines get severe, but women have reported that they can be even worse than a migraine that occurs when they’re not on their period. Talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms. There are preventative measures and treatment options. A menstrual migraine might not be something you just have to “live with” every month.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2021.


What Other Factors Can Affect Menstrual Migraine And How Is It Treated


Contraceptives work to affect hormone levels meaning the type of contraceptive used can impact migraine severity and frequency. Some women find that their migraines are less severe while taking the contraceptive pill, however others report increases in severity especially in pill-free weeks where oestrogen levels significantly drop .

For more information on contraceptives and migraine, see the factsheet on our website.

If you suspect you suffer from menstrual migraine, keeping a migraine diary for at least three menstrual cycles can help confirm a hormonal link. Treatment options for menstrual migraine include the same as the recommended symptomatic relief for other migraine types. Trying to eliminate non-hormonal migraine triggers may help to reduce severity of an attack. Additional options may help to manage changes in the hormonal environment, including use of oestrogen supplements.

For more information on treatment for menstrual migraine, see the factsheeton our website.


Natural Treatments And Lifestyle Adjustments For Menstrual Migraines

Lifestyle treatments are always tricky to study, since they are hard to control and not as well-funded as pharmaceutical medicine.

Magnesium: There’s some evidence that magnesium can relieve migraine pain . In a small preliminary trial, participants took magnesium supplements three times per day starting from Day 15 of their cycle until the start of their next period . This treatment helped decrease the participants’ total pain and also improved their PMS symptoms . In a randomized control trial where participants received either a placebo or a drug containing magnesium, vitamin B2, and coenzyme Q10, the severity of migraines was lower among those taking the drug, though the number of days in which migraines were experienced was not statistically different from the placebo .

When Should I Seek Immediate Help Or Contact My Healthcare Provider

Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider if:

  • The number or severity of your migraines increase, or your headache pattern changes.
  • You’re experiencing new or different side effects.
  • Your medications no longer seem to be working.
  • Your headache comes on suddenly.
  • You are experiencing the “worst headache of my life.”
  • You have a headache after experiencing a head injury.
  • You are having neurologic symptoms that you have never had before, including speaking difficulty, balance problems, vision problems, mental confusion, seizures, or numbing/tingling sensations.

What Can I Do To Help Relieve The Symptoms Of A Menstrual Migraine

Do your best to figure out what makes your hormone headaches better or worse. For example, if light causes pain and you feel overheated, stay in a cool, dark room. Additional tips include:

  • Keep your blood sugar levels up by eating small, frequent snacks. Never miss a meal.
  • Learn relaxation techniques.
  • Avoid too little or too much sleep, and keep a regular sleep pattern.
  • Change your diet, if needed.
  • Avoid stress when you can, and learn how to manage it when you can’t.

What Causes Migraines And Why Theyre Beyond The Common Headache

Hormonal Factors of Migraine on

At this time, researchers don’t fully understand what causes migraines. Most studies suggest that they could be related to abnormal substances that are produced in the brain. When those substance levels rise, they cause inflammation. The inflammation leads to swollen blood vessels in the brain that press on nearby nerves. The result? Intense head pain. 

Abnormal genes may also have a link to migraines. These genes may control the way certain brain cells function and can lead to migraines. 

But what about the link between hormones and migraines in women? For many women, migraines take place around the time they have their monthly period. These menstrual-related migraines happen within a two- or three-day window before they start their period. Unfortunately, these migraine attacks may be more disabling than the non-menstrual kind. 

Treating Migraine During Pregnancy Postpartum And Breastfeeding

Between 50 and 80 percent of women have fewer migraines while pregnant and breastfeeding. However, if a woman still has a migraine at these times, treatment can be hard.4

Many migraine treatments are not safe, or have unknown safety, for an unborn baby. Small doses of acetaminophen are thought to be safe. Some migraine drugs may be safe during certain trimesters. It is always better to talk with your doctor before taking any migraine drugs if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.4

Non-drug migraine treatments also play an important role during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Examples include yoga, massage, drinking plenty of fluids, and extra rest. Anything that can help a woman manage pregnancy’s muscle tension, stress, and lack of sleep can help prevent a migraine.1,4

Recommended Lifestyle Adjustments For Migraines And Headaches

Not all lifestyle changes are studied, but these recommendations are fairly standard for how to help you cope with your headaches. Give them a try, see what works best for you.

Get enough sleep: Since fatigue and sleep disturbances are linked to being migraine/headache triggers , be sure to adjust your bedtime accordingly so that you wake up relaxed and well rested. If you commonly have headaches in the morning after waking up, it may be a good idea to get checked for sleep apnea .

Reduce your stress levels: Stress, whether it’s particular events, feelings, or time periods, are linked to triggering migraines and headache . For this reason, stress management techniques like relaxation therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and biofeedback could help . It’s easier said than done, but prioritize de-stressing as best you can.

Avoid extreme weather: Weather changes, both hot and cold, can trigger migraines and headaches . Check the weather forecast and plan ahead. Be extra cautious about extreme heat and sun exposure, as exhaustion and dehydration can also cause headaches .

Find a dark and quiet space: For people experiencing a migraine headache, light and sound can aggravate migraine symptoms . Some people find relief by lying in dark, quiet rooms.


Steps For Preventing Hormonal Headaches & Migraines Naturally

It Takes Whole Woman Approach

Most experts agree that migraines are not simply a hormonal problem – they  are the result of the brain’s reaction to a complex interaction among hormones, genetics and environmental factors. And since not all women experience them, one’s internal environment – levels of inflammation, genetics, gut health, and other factors – influence estrogen levels and also how the brain responds. That’s why in my practice, I always take a whole woman approach to healing.

Hormonal headaches and migraines can make you feel miserable and even make you miss days of enjoying your glorious life. They also have a lot of complex causes – including our hormones. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to prevent them, reducing their frequency, and treat them reducing their severity, your need for medication – or possibly become free of them altogether. I recommend giving your plan at least 3 months, using the 6 steps below simultaneously. You do not have to use all of the supplements I list but  do make the dietary changes and lifestyle changes   and pick 2 to 3 supplements and 1 or 2 herbs to support your journey to overcome migraines.

Step 1. Identify Your Triggers with a Headache Journal

Known migraine triggers, which may be other than or concurrent with hormonal changes, include:

  • caffeine
  • nitrites found in hot dogs and deli meats
  • food additives like msg

How Are Menstrual Migraines Treated What Medicines Can I Use

A menstrual migraine is usually treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications . The NSAIDs most often used for menstrual migraine include:

  • Ketoprofen .
  • Analgesics.
  • Corticosteroids.

These drugs should also be started two to three days before your period starts. Continue taking them throughout your menstrual flow.

Because fluid retention often occurs at the same time as your menses, diuretics have been used to prevent menstrual migraines. Some healthcare providers may recommend that you follow a low-salt diet immediately before the start of your menses.

Leuprolide is a medication that affects your hormone levels. It’s used only when all other treatment methods have been tried and haven’t worked.

Studies With A Focus On The Effect Of Exogenous Sex Hormones

Exogenous sex hormones can also affect headache. Specifically, estrogen administration in male-to-female transsexuals has been linked to the development and worsening of headache . Further, abrupt drops in estrogen have long been suspected as a migraine trigger . On the basis of the observation of the existence of headache with estrogen withdrawal, two recent studies evaluated the effect of estradiol valerate/dienogest on headache .

In a second prospective clinic-based study, 32 women older than 35 years of age with the diagnosis of MRM were included . The number of migraine attacks, duration as well as severity of the head pain were all significantly reduced at the third and sixth cycles of E2 V/DNG compared with baseline . In addition, and similar to the findings reported by Macias et al. , a significantly lower number of acute abortive analgesics were reported at cycle six .

Overall, these studies demonstrate that sex hormones, both endogenous and exogenous, can cause alterations in headache patterns in participants with migraine . The avoidance of large magnitude drops in estrogen may improve MRM or other estrogen withdrawal migraines.

The 2 Triptan Medications That Work Best This Time Of Month

There is a family of migraine medications called Triptans that are effective for hormonal migraines – for those who they work for! Science still does not know why they work for some and not for others!

Triptans work to reduce inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain that cause the pain. They also block chemicals in the nerve endings “and they prevent transmission of pain signals from the lining of the brain to the brain itself.”

They are extremely expensive, here in Australia, but are remarkably effective. Naramig is now covered on PBS, so be sure to ask your doctor. If you have not tried them for your hormonal migraines, then I suggest that you see your doctor and consider them. The studies are impressive and I have found that they are definitely worth a try. Be prepared, it might be trial and error until you find one that works for you.

The recommendation from my doctor is that women can take a triptan from “two days before their period starts to two days after and see if it makes a difference.” So approximately 11 days each month.

Frovatriptan and Naratriptan are the best triptans to take for treating menstrual migraines. Make sure you get your medications from somewhere reputable like a trusted local pharmacist.

Frovatriptan is most commonly used to manage hormonal migraines. You start them 2 days before you usually get a migraine and keep taking them for 6 to 7 days total.

Oral Contraceptives May Reduce Menstrual Migraine Frequency

“There is some evidence to suggest that certain types of oral contraceptive pills can actually reduce the frequency of menstrual migraine and menstrually related migraine,” Hindiyeh says.

This doesn’t apply to all kinds of oral contraception, so you should talk with your gynecologist, primary care doctor, or neurologist about which ones you’d want to consider, says Hindiyeh. “There are specific ones that will keep your estrogen level from fluctuating so much,” she adds.

If you’re considering taking oral contraceptives as a means of birth control or to try to improve your migraine symptoms, tell your healthcare provider about your migraine history, says Hindiyeh.

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Studies With A Focus On Changes In Endogenous Sex Hormones

7 Tips To Tame Hormonal Migraines & 3 Nutrients To Improve ...

One recent cross-sectional survey evaluated the effect of endogenous hormonal changes in women with migraine vs. tension-type headache . In this study, Karli et al. conducted a general population observational study evaluating 1333 women aged 18–65. Participants responded to questions regarding menstruation, pregnancy, oral contraception intake, as well as menopause and their impact on headache. Those with migraine were found to be almost three-fold more likely to experience headache during menstruation than those with TTH . Additionally, although previous data suggested a protective effect of pregnancy, in particular during the third trimester, for those women with migraine , pregnancy did not appear to affect migraine or TTH characteristics in any specific trend in this study. In addition, although the type and dose of oral contraceptives used was not reported oral contraceptive use was reported to be more likely to worsen migraine compared with TTH . Finally, more participants with migraine than those with TTH had improvement in their headache during menopause .

In summary, although this study provides few new clues to the hormonal differences in different headache conditions, it substantiates and highlights that participants with migraine have a higher sensitivity to varying hormonal levels as compared with those with TTH. Further, menopause, a life event marked by stable ovarian estrogen production , generally corresponds to improvement in migraine.

Headaches And Women: What Do Hormones Have To Do With It

Women’s HealthHeadacheDiagnosis and Screening for Gynecologic Conditions

A bad headache can ruin your workday, strain your relationship with family members and affect your ability to exercise. In the U.S., headaches cause 112 million sick days each year. While one-third of the population gets headaches, women suffer more than men do.

Changes in hormones could be among the reasons women have more headaches than men do.

These hormone-related headache triggers include:

  • menstruation
  • menopause

Managing Migraine In Women Often Means Managing Hormones

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Prevalence of migraine among women is about three times that of men, and fluctuations in female sex hormones often play a role in the onset of the condition. Women are particularly vulnerable to migraine during the childbearing years, which are also generally the most active and demanding years of a woman’s life.

“The evolution of migraine in women is related to big hormonal times of change. It picks up at menarche and rapidly increases in incidence and prevalence during the teens, 20s and going into the 30s and 40s,”Jelena Pavlovic, MD, PhD, of the Montefiore Medical Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told Endocrine Today. “In terms of burden, it culminates in the reproductive years, when women need to be the most productive, with young children and jobs.”

Pavlovic talked to Endocrine Today about the mechanisms of hormonal migraine, how the condition is diagnosed, and the different treatments that may benefit patients with these debilitating headaches.

What types of hormonal changes are most likely to cause migraine?

How exactly do hormones affect migraine? Which hormones are involved?

This suggests that we need another trigger to come along and tip an already sensitive system over into migraine.

How should hormone-related migraine be treated during the different phases of a woman’s reproductive life?

Hows A Menstrual Migraine Diagnosed What Tests Are Done

Your healthcare provider will want to establish a history of your migraine-related symptoms, likely asking you to:

  • Describe the severity and location of your pain. Is the pain pounding? Pulsing? Throbbing?
  • Tell how often you get migraine headaches.
  • Remember if anything makes your headache better or worse.
  • Discuss what medications you take to relieve the pain and how often you take them.
  • Talk about the activities, foods, stressors, or the situations that may have brought on the migraine.
  • Remember if anyone in your family gets migraine headaches.
  • Tell how you felt before, during and after the headache.

Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests and imaging tests to make sure there are no other causes for your headache. An electroencephalogram may be ordered to rule out seizures.

It’s helpful to both you and your healthcare provider if you keep a migraine journal. Take note of what symptoms you get, how long your symptoms last, and what makes your menstrual migraine better or worse. You and your healthcare provider may be able to use that information to help you heal, and possibly prevent or anticipate your migraine.

What Are The Treatment Options For Menopausal Migraines

If you need to continue estrogen supplements after menopause, you should start on the lowest dose of these agents, on an uninterrupted basis. Instead of seven days off the drug, you may be told to take it every day. By maintaining a steady dose of estrogen, the headaches may be prevented. An estrogen patch may be effective in stabilizing the levels of estrogen.

Hormonal Headaches & Migraines: A Women’s Health Issue

Headaches and migraines. Most of us have experienced one or the other as some point – and know just how miserable they can be. It’s likely, too, that you’ve noticed a connection between headache or migraine symptoms and hormone shifts – and  you’d be exactly right.

Hormonal shifts can be a huge trigger and explain why headaches are far more common in women, with migraines three times as common in women than men. It also explains why for many women they first show up when they first start getting their period or in their late teens/early 20s and drop by 50 percent or even disappear completely after menopause.

Women are too often told by doctors that our hormone-related symptoms are not significant; that they’re just “normal,” or that they are over-reacting – in other words, that it’s all in their heads. But hormonal headaches and migraines are not just ‘all in your head.’ Migraines are actually described in the medical literature as one of the most common, disabling gynecologic conditions, and menstruation as one of the most potent migraine triggers.

Further, even if you are given a prescription for your headaches or migraines, they don’t always work, as you’ll learn soon; many may actually become a headache trigger, and they carry side-effects that can be anything from unpleasant to serious.


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