Headaches are a regrettably common symptom of menopause. While mild cases can be resolved with a few over-the-counter pain killers, more severe headaches have a very negative effect on quality of life. To manage headaches caused by menopause, women should be informed about the changes that are taking place in their bodies. Read over the following information outlining the headache symptoms of menopause.
Why Do I Experience Headaches during Menopause?
Research suggests that headaches are often related to estrogen levels. The lower the level of estrogen, the worse headaches tend to be. This means that as a woman goes through menopause, a process in which hormones (including estrogen) tend to fluctuate and decrease, the intensity of headaches can become more severe. The role of estrogen in headaches also explains why some women experience them in the days leading up to their periods or during ovulation, near the middle of the menstrual cycle. In more severe cases, symptoms of menopausal headaches can resemble migraines, with throbbing on one side of the head, along with nausea and vomiting.
Do all Women Experience Headaches as a Symptom of Menopause?
During menopause periods eventually cease entirely, allowing hormone levels to stabilize and remain low. For up to 60% of women, the end of menopause can bring some relief from headaches. Sometimes they will stop altogether, or they may become less severe or frequent.
Frequency and severity of headaches are of course very individual things. It is often the case that women who have a history of headaches around the time of their menstrual periods will be more likely to experience them during menopause as well. Headaches can also be the result of environmental factors. Certain sounds, smells or flashing lights and stressful situations may provoke headaches - and it's important to note that menopausal women are more sensitive to such factors to begin with.
How Can I Deal with the Symptoms of Headaches?
There are two fundamental approaches for dealing with headaches. The most typical is to treat the symptoms as they happen. That is, by taking an over the counter pain-reliever, lying down to rest, placing a cool, wet towel on the forehead, etc. You may also try breathing evenly into a small paper bag when you are experiencing a severe headache or feel one coming on. The paper bag cuts down on oxygen and increases your carbon dioxide intake, which acts as an organ relaxant.
While these coping measures may be necessary at times, by far the best approach to dealing with menopausal headaches is a preventative one focused on stabilizing hormone levels. This is particularly important if you suffer from severe headaches and migraines. Here are a few steps you can take:
- Prescription or over-the-counter medication
- Relaxing activities, such as yoga and meditation
- Avoidance of common headache triggers - such as stress, certain foods, and lack of sleep.
Another option is herbal supplements that act as natural hormone balancers in the body and thus treat the underlying cause of headaches. As always, a balanced diet and regular exercise are indispensable to all aspects of your well-being.
For more information on handling headaches as a symptom of menopause click the following link.