Fluctuating hormone levels in women, particularly those sudden drops in oestrogen levels that occur just prior to menstruation or during menopause, are significant triggers for migraine headaches. Just before the start of her menstrual period, a woman’s oestrogen levels drop significantly. This sudden hormonal shift can trigger migraine headaches, which can be treated using over the counter or prescription medications, hot and cold therapy, as well as massage therapy. Woman in menopausal transition can also experience unpredictable hormonal headaches associated with the reduction in their natural oestrogen levels.
For some women birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) make their migraines worse. Others may notice a reduction in their migraine headaches while taking synthetic oestrogen medications. Some women find that taking birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy helps to reduce the frequency and severity of their hormonal headaches, while for others, their symptoms worsen. Using alternative treatments such as another form of birth control or an oestrogen skin patch or a may help reduce the negative effects of fluctuating oestrogen levels.
Oestrogen levels rise and remain elevated throughout pregnancy and drop quickly following birth. This sudden drop in hormone levels can trigger postpartum migraine headaches among some women, particularly those who are predisposed to having hormone triggered headaches.
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