Migraines are chronic headaches that can cause significant pain for hours or even days. Women experience headaches much more often than men. This is because there is a close link between headaches and hormonal changes.
Headaches often begin around the time of a girl’s first period and accompany menstruation regularly throughout the reproductive years. Birth control pills and hormone therapy also can trigger headaches. During pregnancy, headaches often become less bothersome. The simple explanation? The hormones estrogen and progesterone — which play key roles in regulating the menstrual cycle and pregnancy — may affect headache-related chemicals in the brain as well. Higher estrogen levels may improve headaches, while lower estrogen levels can make headaches worse.
Headache is a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome, and up to 60% of women with migranes report headaches before or during menstruation.
What to do to relieve menstrual headaches:
- over-the-counter pain killers can relieve many menstrual headaches;
- eat healthy foods;
- exercise regularly;
- keep stress under control;
- practice relaxation techniques;
- get plenty of sleep.