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Migraines and Menopause

Do you get strong, ongoing headaches?

The cause might surprise you - menopause. If you're a woman, you know about the ups and downs of hormones. And it seems these changes affect how likely you are to get a migraine. Ever thought about the close link between your female hormones and menstrual cycle, and your perimenopausal migraine signs?


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Understanding Menopause and Its Impact

Menopause is a big change in a woman's life. It happens when the menstrual cycle stops. The word "menopause" is used to talk about a woman's last natural period. This is officially stated a year after her periods end. Besides, it also marks the time when periods become less regular. At this point, symptoms like hot flushes may show up.



The Perimenopausal Stage

The stage before menopause is the perimenopausal stage. It can last around ten years. During this period, a woman's ovaries change. This causes fluctuating hormone levels. As a result, periods become irregular, and menopausal symptoms may start.


The Connection Between Migraines and Menopause

As you get closer to menopause, your oestrogen levels change a lot. This shift is a big reason why migraines can get worse. Normally, from late teens to mid-30s, your menstrual cycle runs smoothly. But nearing menopause, things start to get less predictable. This leads to erratic changes in hormone levels.


Hormonal Fluctuations and Migraine Triggers

These sudden changes can put you at risk for more migraines. A key moment is the drop in oestrogen just before your period. This is a common migraine trigger. The way menstrual cycle hormones shift, especially oestrogen, is linked to migraines for lots of women.


The Menopausal Transition and Migraine Patterns

The birth control pill can also affect migraines. Its ups and downs in hormones might make things worse, especially during the pill-free period. Moving into the menopausal phase, the up-and-down nature of hormones paired with weird menstrual cycles can throw your migraine patterns out of whack. They might become more common and harder to deal with.


Perimenopausal Migraine: A Challenging Phase

In the perimenopausal stage, things get tough for many women. Their menstrual cycle becomes more unpredictable. As a result, their perimenopausal migraine gets worse. This period before menopause is known for increasing migraine frequency and intensity. It makes dealing with other menopausal symptoms harder.


Increased Frequency and Intensity

As mentioned, perimenopausal migraine attacks happen more often. They can even last longer sometimes. When menopause is near, and periods get irregular, so do migraine attacks. This harsh cycle can continue into the early menopausal years.


Erratic Hormone Levels and Migraine Attacks

The hormonal shifts in perimenopause can make migraines hard to predict. With fluctuating oestrogen levels and irregular menstrual cycles, migraine patterns change. This adds to the troubles of perimenopausal women dealing with migraines.


Menopause and Migraine Relief

As you move into menopause, you might feel relieved by changes in your migraine relief after menopause and post-menopausal migraine reduction. When menopause comes and your body stops producing oestrogen, your migraines could get a lot better. This is what the first and second sources tell us.


Post-Menopausal Improvement

It may take two or three years after your last period to fully feel this relief. That's because it takes time for your body's hormones to calm down completely. The first source also tells us that if your migraines are often caused by hormonal changes, the time after menopause can really help.


Because there won't be any big hormonal ups and downs, your migraines are likely to improve a lot. So, the post-menopausal time can be a great change for many women with migraines.



Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and Migraines

Managing migraines during menopause may make you think about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT is not a direct migraine treatment. It can help control menopausal symptoms, which may, potentially, reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks.


HRT and Migraine Considerations

Some types of HRT might lead to more hormone changes. These changes can actually make migraines worse. However, HRT can lower your migraine chance by easing hot flushes and night sweats.


Transdermal HRT for Migraine Management

For women with migraines who need HRT, transdermal types are often advised. This includes oestrogen patches, gels, or sprays. These options keep hormone levels stable, which may help with your migraines. Remember, using the lowest good amount of oestrogen is best. If you still have your uterus, progestogens are also needed.


Non-Hormonal Migraine Triggers During Menopause

During menopause, non-hormonal migraine triggers can stay or get worse. Even when your hormone levels change, other things can still cause headaches.

Chronic health issues may not start a migraine directly. But they can make you more prone to getting them. It's vital to watch your health closely and treat any ongoing conditions. This can help you avoid triggers.


Lifestyle is also key in tackling migraines after menopause. Keeping up with regular meals, consistent exercise, a healthy sleep routine, and stress management helps a lot. This ensures you stay in charge of your migraine symptoms.


Knowing your triggers, such as things in your environment or what you eat, is crucial after menopause. Staying alert and looking after yourself can make the menopausal phase easier. It helps you stay strong and comfortable.


Managing Menstrual Migraines

If you get menstrual migraines, managing them is key. Start by keeping a detailed headache diary. This will help you see how your menstrual cycle is linked to your migraines.


Keeping a Headache Diary

Keep a headache diary for three menstrual cycles. This helps you spot patterns and what triggers your migraines. Note when migraines happen, near your period, and what else might be causing them.


Lifestyle Modifications for Prevention

To stop or lessen menstrual migraines, changing some things can really help. Try eating small, regular meals to keep your blood sugar steady. Also, get into a good sleep routine and find ways to lower stress.


Medications for Menstrual Migraine

For extra help, your doctor might prescribe medications. Triptans and mefenamic acid are often used. They work best if taken at the start of your period to head off a migraine.


Menopause and Persistent Migraines

After menopause, it might take years for your body to settle down. So, you could still have persistent migraines for a while. But, the bright side is that these headaches usually get better over time.


Non-Hormonal Triggers and Lifestyle Factors

Even if hormonal triggers fade, non-hormonal triggers can persist or worsen. Some health conditions can also make migraines happen more often. So, keeping up with good habits is key even in this stage of life. That means sticking to a regular eating and exercise routine, sleeping well, and managing stress.


Changing your life for the better can really help with persistent migraines after menopause. Every woman faces this time differently. 


 

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Dr Milli Raizada

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If you would like to work with me, to help manage your migraines contact me today to see how my bespoke packages can help you become the best version of yourself.


 

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