Headaches and migraines are common during menopause and may be caused in part by changing body temperature, tiredness due to hot flushes, sleeplessness, or general stress and anxiety. Migraines can also be affected by falling oestrogen levels and may either diminish or worsen during menopause.
Headaches often change at Midlife as the hormones in the body change. Several types of headaches are linked to changing levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Women often get menstrual migraines anywhere from 2 days before their period to 3 days after it starts. But anything that changes these hormone levels can cause them. The degree to which those levels shift, not the change itself, determines how severe they are. This is what happens as menopause approaches.
Menopause can affect your headaches in several ways. Every woman has different effects, so you may not experience the same changes as someone else.
If the headaches that you experience are hormonal, you may find relief after menopause. This may mean that you have fewer headaches or less severe headaches. This is because your hormone levels, with slight fluctuation, stay low after your period stops for good.
On the other hand, some women have more frequent or worse headaches during perimenopause. It’s even possible for women who have never had problems with hormonal headaches to start having headaches during this time.
The symptoms that you might notice are:
- Aura before the headache (not everyone gets this)
- Throbbing pain on one side of your head
- Sensitivity to light and sound
There are steps you can take to prevent headaches:
- Change your diet: Certain things in our diet can make our headaches and our migraines worse. You must make sure that you’re eating wholesome food little and often. My advice is to take out things like cheese, chocolate, pickled food, and citrus fruit. We call these amine foods, which can worsen headaches.
- Include ginger in your diet: Ginger helps to reduce inflammation and is an excellent natural remedy for headaches and migraines. Try chopping up some root ginger and putting it into some hot water with some herb tea, or you can chop it and use it in a stir-fry. You can even choose some crystallised ginger as well, as that’ll give you a minor sweet fix too.
- Take natural herbs: Feverfew is a herb that’s been shown to help to reduce headaches, migraines, in particular, so give that a go.
- Relaxation: I recommend everybody should try to do a session of relaxation every day. If you’ve got a headache or you feel a headache coming on, take yourself into a quiet, dark room and just lay down for half an hour. Maybe use the Pzizz app to get yourself into a deeply relaxed state.
- Exercise: It may be the last thing you want to do when you have a headache, but if you feel like you can, go out and take a walk or do some aerobic exercise. This will keep your brain well oxygenated, keep the blood flowing, and you’ll find that you will feel so much better after getting some fresh air.
- Self-help therapy: Acupressure is excellent for relieving headaches. There are acupressure points on your forehead that you can just press to help alleviate your headache. You can also go and have a massage or try to do a head massage yourself.
If you haven’t tried any of these tips, give them a go one by one and see what suits you the best. For more information, check out my film all about this.