Treatments for Headaches
Headaches can be a big problem for many women around age 50 who are approaching menopause. Because of the links to female hormones that headaches have, women suffer from five times more headaches than men. For this reason, many women not only experience an influx of headaches during menopause, but also during puberty, their monthly menstrual cycles, and pregnancy. Though headaches may be unpleasant, it is important to remember that menopause is not an illness, but a natural and normal change in a woman's body.
Tension headaches are the most common form of headache, comprised of temporary throbbing pain around the skull. These can be very stressful as well as painful. Learning ways to relieve stress during a headache will help you to manage the symptom and prevent tension headaches impeding your daily routine.
Frequent headaches are a common symptom of menopause. This painful symptom is related to changing levels of hormones that can cause the nerves in the head to fire, causing pain. Some ways to treat menopausal migraines include limiting caffeine, making dietary changes to include more soy products, and reducing stress with exercise.
Fortunately, as headaches are a consequence of fluctuations in hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, it is possible to treat this imbalance. Though it used to be in vogue to prescribe hormone replacement therapy to treat headaches caused by this fundamental imbalance, persistent links to breast and ovarian cancer, along with heart disease and blood clots, have caused most healthcare professionals to rethink this drastic option. Many agree that the most effective approach to pacify headaches is to combine a few changes in lifestyle with alternative treatment options.
Three Approaches for Treating Headaches:
Three levels of approaches can be considered for treating headaches. These are categorized as: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine and (3) Drugs and Surgery.
It is recommended to begin with the least risky option, lifestyle changes, before progressing up to the next stage of treatment for headaches. Drugs and surgery should be used only in extreme cases where headaches become incapacitating and no other options help.
1: Lifestyle Changes for Headaches:
This primary level of treatment for headaches involves the least amount of risk, though conversely it requires the highest amount of self discipline. Simple changes in lifestyle can reap huge benefits in fighting headaches and achieving a higher overall level of health. Fundamentally, techniques for stress reduction, such as yoga or meditation, combined with regular exercise and an improved diet, can do a woman great service in limiting the intensity and frequency of her headaches.
Management Tips for Headaches:
• Caffeine in small doses
• Hot or cold compresses
• Cool, dark surroundings
Studies have shown that diets rich in foods that promote estrogen levels (such as soy, apples, alfalfa, cherries, potatoes, rice, wheat and yams) go a long way in helping regulate menopausal symptoms such as headaches.
Making lifestyle changes is easier said than done, especially if one is accustomed to a certain routine. In addition, while these changes will help alleviate some headaches, they do not address the problem directly at the hormonal source and so further treatment may be necessary. Alternative medicine has proven to be excellent for treating headaches in a safe and natural way.
2: Alternative Medicine for Headaches:
Alternative approaches involve little to no risk and can be an extremely effective way to treat headaches. This level of approach can involve several different therapies. Herbal supplements are the most prominent, though in addition women may turn to such techniques as acupuncture, biofeedback, massage, aromatherapy, or hypnosis. All of these can be valid and effective options, but most women find that herbal supplements are the easiest alternative treatment for headaches, as the others require a greater time and monetary commitment. In addition, herbal supplements are the only viable option to treat the hormonal imbalance directly at its source.
In the case of herbal supplements, there are two types of herbs that can be used for treating headaches: phytoestrogenic and non-estrogenic herbs. Phytoestrogenic herbs (e.g. Black Cohosh) contain estrogenic components produced by plants. These herbs, at first, do treat the hormonal imbalance by introducing these plant-based estrogens into the body. However, as a result of adding outside hormones, a woman's body may become less capable of producing estrogen on its own. This causes a further decrease of the body's own hormone levels and can actually make a woman more susceptible to headaches.
By contrast, non-estrogenic herbs, as the name suggests, don't contain any estrogen. These herbs stimulate a woman´s hormone production by nourishing the pituitary and endocrine glands, causing them to more efficiently produce natural hormones. This ultimately results in balancing estrogen, and eliminating hormonal headaches. Non-estrogenic herbs (e.g. Macafem) can be considered the safest way to treat headaches naturally as the body creates its own hormones and doesn´t require any outside assistance.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Chacon says:
"Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production, by inducing the optimal functioning of the pituitary and endocrine glands". Click on the following link if you want to read and learn more about Macafem
A combination of approaches is usually the most effective way to treat headaches. Lifestyle changes combined with alternative medicine will most likely be the best way to alleviate headaches stemming from this hormonal imbalance. However, for some women´s headaches will be so severe that a more drastic treatment is necessary. In taking the leap into pharmaceutical options, side effects are inevitable, yet sometimes they can be worth it if the benefits outweigh the risks.
3: Drugs and Surgery for Headaches:
Many women reach for aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen when a headache strikes. However, for hormonally caused headaches, this treatment option will be ineffective and the will for a stronger pharmaceutical may set in. Interventions at the third level involve the highest risk and often the highest costs. The most common drug therapy for treating hormonally caused headaches in the United States is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This may be a quick and strong way to combat hormonal imbalance; but, unfortunately, it entails serious side effects and increases the risk of different types of cancer among women, as the following study has proven.
In 1991 the National Institute of Health (NIH) launched the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), the largest clinical trial ever undertaken in the United States. The WHI was designed to provide answers concerning possible benefits and risks associated with use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This study was canceled in July 2002, after it was proven that synthetic hormones increase risks of ovarian and breast cancer as well as heart disease, blood clots and strokes. The findings were published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and to this date have not been disputed.
There are several different types of drugs available to combat headaches if they are severe enough to warrant this treatment option. However, it is wise and necessary to speak to a healthcare professional for guidance before undergoing a pharmaceutical regimen for headaches.
These three levels of approaches are not mutually exclusive. A woman may use different approaches at different times or any combination of them, depending on the duration and severity of her headaches. Today more and more women find that dealing with menopausal headaches is best accomplished via a combination of healthy lifestyle and alternative treatments.
A safe way for treating headaches:
Non-estrogenic herbs for treating hormonal imbalance, as seen in the second approach, are considered to be the most effective solution. Low costs and the non existence of side effects are only some of the reasons why this treatment option is preferred.
Macafem, for example, is an excellent non-estrogenic herb. It's simple: rather than putting hormones from the outside into the body artificially, Macafem stimulates hormone glands into producing the necessary hormones naturally. This is what makes Macafem so unique. Click on the following link if you want to learn more about Macafem