Hormone Headache – Location, Causes and Management

Change in hormone levels over the cycle cause headache in most women all around the world and is known as Hormone Headache. Most of which are linked with people who get migraines.

Location of pain

Like Migraine, the headache begins on one side of the head in most cases. Some people might also have a headache on both sides of the head.

Hormone Headache

Duration of pain

Hormone Headache begins a few days before your period starts and may last up to two weeks.

Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of coordination
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Lower Body aches
  • Acne
  • Dry skin
  • Sudden cravings that vary from person to person such as chocolates and ice creams for most women.

Causes

The major cause of hormone headache is a drop in oestrogen levels. Oestrogen affects some headache-related chemicals in the brain along with the regulation of the menstrual cycle. With the fluctuating levels of oestrogen, the normal working of these chemicals gets affected causing Headache. Here is the explanation of how some hormone levels at some events cause Hormone Headache.

Menstruation

A drop in the level of oestrogen just before menstruation causes a headache.

Pregnancy

Since the oestrogen levels remain elevated during early pregnancy women are reported to have fewer headaches during this period. However, as the oestrogen levels drastically drop down after delivery, accompanied by other factors such as stress and sleeping disorders, this may trigger headache.

Perimenopause

Due to drastic fluctuations in hormone levels in this period, women tend to experience more headache episodes than ever.

Menopause

Around two-thirds of women who have been having a migraine all the life are reported to have seen an improvement as they reach menopause.

While others complained of having more headaches and migraines.

Triggers for Hormone Headache

Along with low oestrogen level, some other factors might trigger an episode

  • Alcohol
  • Changes in weather
  • Exposure to Loud noise or bright lights for a long duration
  • Stress
  • Processed meat and other foods
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate) containing dietary products
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Bad sleeping habits

Management

Preventive treatment

  • If your menstrual cycle is regular you can take prophylactics a few days prior to your period to avoid a headache.
  • If your period is not regular your doctor might recommend taking a painkiller everyday.
  • CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) is an antibody that can be injected monthly to prevent headaches if all other medications fail.
  • Quit smoking as symptoms in smokers are more severe.
  • Making some lifestyle changes also brings a considerable reduction in duration, severity, and frequency of headaches.

Hormonal contraception and Hormone Headache

Some people on contraception experience a decrease in the frequency of headaches. As the hormonal contraception controls the natural drop in estrogen levels just before menstruation. Women who have tried all sorts of treatment for hormone headache can also opt for hormonal contraception to decrease the frequency e of headaches.

Treatment

  • Over the counter analgesics
  • Over-the-counter Anti-Inflammatory drugs
  • Vitamin therapy: vitamins like coenzyme q10 and B2 you are known to have reduced the severity of pain associated with the migraine attack.
  • Triptans
  • Combined NSAIDs with triptans.

Medications that need to be taken on a daily basis or before the start of menstruation

  • Beta-blockers
  • Antidepressants
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Anticonvulsants
  • This might also include vitamins if the patient goes for vitamin therapy.

Home Remedies

  • Ice pack: ice pack can help with the pain.
  • Massage: hot oil massage also helps a lot.
  • Relaxation exercises like yoga: relieve the stress that sometimes triggers an episode.
  • Hydration: Staying hydrated is very important.
  • Detox drinks: to remove all the harmful toxins from your body.
  • Acupuncture: also help with relaxation.
  • Caffeine: caffeine has a positive effect on headache relief.

When should you see a doctor?

If the frequency and severity of your headache are increasing and no home treatment is helping, you must go to a doctor.

There are a few symptoms that might indicate something serious:

  • Numbness
  • Neck stiffness
  • Debility
  • Confusion and seizures
  • Loss of vision
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Or any other serious symptom.

This might indicate that headaches are not related to hormone levels rather are indicating a serious underlying condition.

FAQ

Why do I have a Headache every time before my period starts?

A drop in the level of estrogen just before menstruation causes a headache.

I use to have severe Headaches before I got pregnant, but during pregnancy, they vanished. Why is it so?

Since the estrogen levels remain elevated during pregnancy. You are likely to have fewer headaches during this period.

How can I prevent a Hormone Headache?

You can take prophylactics a few days prior to your period to avoid a headache.
CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) is an antibody that can be injected monthly to prevent headaches.
Quit smoking.
Making some lifestyle changes also brings a considerable reduction in duration, severity, and frequency of headaches.

Would contraceptives affect Hormone Headache?

Some people on contraception experience a decrease in the frequency of headaches. You can also opt for hormonal contraception to decrease the frequency of headaches.