Some time ago, when I turned fifty, I suddenly developed painful migraines and they continued regularly for ten years when they stopped as quickly as they started.
I really did not know the reason for this but discovered that triggers seemed to include suffering from stress and working under fluorescent lighting.
It was only recently that I have found out that migraines and headaches are one of the symptoms of the menopause.
Why do migraines and headaches appear during the menopause?
These can occur more frequently because of fluctuating hormone levels, varying in intensity and even accompanied with nausea and vomiting.
If you have endured PMS-related migraines in the past, migraines during the menopause can become more severe or closer together in frequency.
A definite sign that hormone levels are changing.
How to help?
There are several suggestions:
Eating small amounts of food regularly, every three or four hours. Eating a healthy, balanced diet consisting mostly of wholefoods and plenty of produce can help you avoid causing a migraine due to hormone imbalance. This is because many animal products contain hormones that may disrupt your own, so steering clear can reduce your risk of a headache. Even organic animal products contain hormones (naturally, because the animals have hormones). At the same time, certain foods are estrogen boosters, helping to relieve migraines caused by an imbalance in your hormones. These include soy, apples, alfalfa, rice, cherries and potatoes.
Relaxing and ensuring you get some regular "Me Time".
- As well as relaxing, you need to exercise too because it has stress reducing qualities that can combat migraines. If your migraine is not too severe, following along with a Pilates or yoga class can help ward off the pain before it reaches its peak. Exercise helps your body to cope better with stress while sweating out toxins.
- The often-disrupted sleep women experience during menopause (because of night sweats and hot flashes) can lead to a migraine caused by sleep deprivation. Limiting your exposure to screens and artificial light two hours before bedtime (while keeping the bedroom dark to avoid any light distractions) can all lead to better quality sleep. Literally, sleep in the dark. You should have no other light in your bedroom other than any residual moonlight. The light in your room affects your sleep and your hormones.
- Take a magnesium supplement at bedtime. This will help you to relax and will supply much needed magnesium. Begin slowly with a new magnesium supplement as too much too soon can cause diarrhea.
- Avoid using alcoholic drinks to help you sleep as they can contribute to migraines - especially red wine.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated, another reason for headaches. Women who experience night sweat and hot flashes may lose more water than they realize. Substitute soda and diuretics for plain water or alkalizing drinks.
- Those Alkalizing drinks help your body to work better in addition to proving adequate hydration. Here are 3 ways to make one of these special drinks: (1) Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water; (2) Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to a glass of water; or (3) Add 1 tablespoon of lime juice with 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to a glass of water.
A bath in warm water with Epsom salts can help relax and soothe you before bedtime. Adding a drop or two of an essential oil like lavender will help to increase relaxation. There are three other combinations to enjoy your bath: (1) Baking soda baths with a drop of lavender and peppermint essential oil can be cooling, relaxing and alkalizing all at once. (2) Baking soda and citric acid combined make a wonderful healing and alkalizing bath or (3) Add 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup citric acid.
- The correct dose and type of HRT can help improve the frequency and severity of migraines but the whole question of hormone replacement therapy remains controversial and should be investigated thoroughly before deciding that it might be right for you.
Ground flax seed is a good addition to your diet at this time, helping to balance hormones while being high in nutrition. Easy to add to smoothies or your morning porridge.
Herbs are another way to manage those migraines. Black cohosh is an anti-inflammatory herb with sedating properties while one capsule of dried feverfew, taken daily, can help to prevent migraines.
- Our own H-Headaches Formula provides natural symptom relief for all types of headaches including migraines.