Many women going through menopause report experiencing horrible migraines and headaches. Unfortunately these are too typical symptom of perimenopause and are usually related to hormone levels. If experienced on a frequent basis these headaches can be all that more difficult to deal with. Take some time to read over the following information concerning perimenopause headaches.
What is the Relationship between Perimenopause and Headaches?
Over 30% of women will suffer from perimenopause headaches.
Headaches and migraines which occur during perimenopause are often related to hormone levels. The two main hormones that control a woman's menstrual cycle (estrogen and progesterone) influence the blood vessels in the brain: estrogen works to dilate blood vessels, while progesterone constricts them. It is the process of dilation and constriction that affects the brain's blood flow and therefore causes headaches. For this reason, an abnormal flow of estrogen and progesterone during perimenopause can similarly produce headaches.
What Other Factors May Cause Perimenopause Headaches?
As with normal headaches, there are factors that can trigger or worsen headaches during perimenopause. These include:
Lack of sleep
Bright or flashing lights
What does a Perimenopause Headache Feel Like?
Because of the prolonged time women suffer from perimenopause headaches as opposed to normal headaches, many women are unable to carry on with their work or function normally in their daily routines.
A perimenopause headache is typically experienced as an initial pain on one side of the head. As the pain spreads it becomes more intense and eventually envelops the entire head. It is uncomfortable and can last anywhere between two hours and two days. The pain makes the sufferer more sensitive to light, loud sounds, and strong smells and physical activity is sometimes not possible. The worst perimenopause headaches can make one nauseous and lead to vomiting.
How can I Prevent Perimenopause Headaches?
Anti-depressants are commonly prescribed to relieve PMS and perimenopause symptoms, but may have side effects, including headache, drowsiness and sexual dysfunction.
While there is no single, universal cure for headaches during perimenopause, there are things that can be done to minimize episodes or help prevent them in the first instance. The initial steps involve recognizing possible triggers (outlined above) and making sure that they are cut out of your life or avoided. This will often involve a change in lifestyle to ensure stress is reduced and you are receiving adequate levels of sleep.
The importance of a healthy diet and exercise regime cannot be underestimated. This includes eating healthily, but also eating regularly: eat balanced meals to avoid snacking throughout the day. It is also important to include a lot of soy in your diet, which contain phytoestrogens and can help restore the estrogen your body is losing naturally. There are also many alternative medicines that can help stabilize hormone levels naturally and thus reduce the incidence of perimenopause headaches. These also work better when combined with a healthy lifestyle. Finally, it is important that you visit your doctor if you are experiencing headaches for a long period of time, or suffering very severe episodes.
For this reason it is important to consider all of the options in the treatment of perimenopause headaches.