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Beat Hormonal Headaches and Migraines During the Menopause in 7 Easy Steps

Apr 14, 2017

Suffering from more headaches or migraines since you’ve become peri-menopausal or menopausal? Finding yourself reaching for those painkillers much more frequently these day in an attempt to feel human (even though it feels like your head is being squeezed in a vice)?

You’re not alone.

Many of my ladies list migraines and headaches as one of their worse menopausal symptoms and this is reflected in the statistics. They say that a massive 45% of women experience a sharp increase of headaches and migraines during the menopausal years, and for some, these hormonal changes can actually trigger migraines and headaches for the very first time.  

It’s really not fair, is it?

But don’t worry- there are many 100% natural ways we can ease your headaches and migraines and perhaps even stop them from happening in the first place.

Let me explain more about what is going on in your body before I walk you through the 7 easy steps you can take to make it happen.

 

What’s the difference between a headache and a migraine?

The pain you’re experiencing could be either a headache or a migraine. So how to do you tell the difference between the two?

Headaches

A regular headache will usually only involve pain in your head that lasts for a short period of time and can usually be resolved by taking painkillers, drinking some water and getting some rest. There are many different type of headaches, including tension headaches and hormonal headaches.

Migraines

A migraine will include a whole host of other symptoms such as throbbing pain which often feels worse on one side of your head, nausea, dizziness, jaw pain, vomiting, a sensitivity to light and noise, and a desire to just to go somewhere dark and hibernate! Migraines aren’t ‘just a bad headache’, as many people think.

Interestingly migraines don’t always include the headache itself, but can be just as debilitating.  

They’re usually preceded with an aura- a group of visual and sensory symptoms which seem to ‘warn’ that a migraine is on its way. This can include flashing lights, floating lines, temporary blindness, experiencing strong smells, numbness and tingling in fingers or face and even mental confusion.

They are also much longer than a regular headache and can last up to 72 hours.

 

Why do we get more headaches and migraines during the menopause?

We experience more headaches and migraines as we approach the menopause thanks to fluctuations in our female reproductive hormones. Oestrogen and progesterone play a role in controlling your blood vessels; oestrogen causes them to dilate and progesterone causes them to contract.

When your hormones are perfectly balanced, these hormones counteract each other wonderfully to maintain optimal blood flow. But when there is a hormonal imbalance present in the body, or falling levels of oestrogen this system can go haywire and give rise to all kinds of symptoms, including those headaches, migraines and other menopausal symptoms.

But your hormones aren’t the only cause.

Headaches and migraines of all kinds can also be caused by stress, lack of sleep, poor posture, poor blood sugar balance and not drinking enough water as well.

And let’s be honest- modern life doesn’t really help those headaches- we’re constantly ‘on the go’, we often don’t get the sleep we need, we sit slouched for much for the day, we give in to sugary treats and we often skip meals too.

It’s no wonder we end up suffering with headaches!

But what can we do about them (apart from dosing up on ibuprofen) How can we fight our hormonal headaches naturally? Let me explain...

 

How to beat hormonal headaches and migraines

You’ll know from experience that it’s not at all easy to completely eliminate those hormonal headaches, but we can certainly make a big difference to how we are feeling, shorten their duration and reduce their frequency.

By following these seven simple steps, you can become your own health detective, identify your triggers, protect yourself from headaches and migraines and also make a massive difference to your overall health too.

 

#1: Keep a diary to try to find your triggers

I’d recommend you keep a headache diary for around 30 days, jotting down any headaches you might be suffering as well as your food intake, your fluid intake, your sleep habits and which day in your cycle you are at. Doing this will help you identify your personal headache triggers and stop that headache in its tracks!

 Most headaches and migraines are triggered by something, whether that is drinking red wine, eating certain foods (more on this below), squinting at your computer screen, not getting enough sleep, and other similar things. It’s up to you to find out what it is for you!

#2: Tackle your stress

Taking steps to better manage or eliminate the stress in your life will help you ease those tension headaches and will work wonders for your migraines, not to mention the fact that it will feel like lifting a weight from your shoulders.

You see, stress raises your cortisol levels which can really disrupt your overall hormonal balance, trigger yet more headaches and migraines, zap your energy levels and worsen any menopausal or hormonal symptom you might be struggling with.

What would help you reduce the stress in your life?

Could you take up yoga? Start meditating? Practice some of the self-hypnosis tricks I’ve taught you? Listen to your guided relaxation recording? Take a walk outside somewhere? Ask for help? Take a day off work?

 

#3: Balance your blood sugar

Fluctuating blood sugar levels can have a massive influence on how you are feeling, and can trigger or worsen a headache attack.

Have you ever noticed how a headache often starts when it’s been a while since you’ve eaten? Or how you can also get headachy a short while after eating foods like sweets, chocolate, cookies and cake which all contain processed sugars?

Your body needs optimal blood sugar balance to regulate the production of all the other hormones in your body, including the female reproductive hormones like oestrogen and progesterone. If your blood sugar is too high or too low, this will have a knock-on effect on those hormones which can trigger those headaches.

The key here is to eat little and often and make sure you include protein with every meal to help keep your blood sugar stable. Also make sure you avoid processed sugars and satisfy your sweet tooth with a small serving of low GI fruit if you really can’t do without.

 

#4: Focus on your diet

Are you getting enough nutrition? And are you accidently eating foods which trigger your headaches? These are really important questions to ask yourself at this point as there are so many foods which can do this.

These are often things like red wine, cheese, chocolate, soya, nuts, citrus fruits, vinegar, caffeine, aspartame (an artificial sweetener), food additives and preservatives (including sulfites), yeast, tannins and many more.

As you can see, the list is quite long so I’d advise you complete the headache diary to discover your triggers.

Once you’ve done that, avoid your headache trigger foods and make some tweaks to your diet. Fill up with plenty of fresh produce, eat healthy proteins, healthy fats and get plenty of veggies in your diet and a small amount of fruit.

You’ll keep those migraines and headaches away, fill more energetic and really help rebalance your hormones.

 

#5: Get enough sleep

Did you know that your hormones are mainly produced during the night?

So getting enough sleep will help balance those hormones to keep headaches and migraines at bay and also reduce your menopausal symptoms too. That’s not to mention the fact that getting enough sleep is vital for keeping your energy levels up, keeping you looking youthful and also helping to lift you mood.

Aim for 7-8 hours sleep per night and get more if your body really needs it. Be careful not to get too much sleep though- this can also trigger headaches and migraines. Experiment and find what works best for you body.

 

#6: Heal your gut

Your gut plays a vital role in the balance of all your hormones, including oestrogen and progesterone so clearly, if you want to achieve hormonal balance and prevent headaches and migraines, you’ll need to work to get your gut into tip top condition.

Great ways to do this include taking a high-quality probiotic and eating plenty of probiotic foods like Kefir, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Kimchi and Tempeh to nourish your gut and help you feel great.

 

#7: Drink more water

The first thing I do when a headache strikes is to drink plenty of water. Often mild dehydration can trigger a headache or even make it worse, so drinking a glass or two will help ease the pain, or even cure it together. Fresh water or herbal teas are your best options for hydration.

 

It’s easy to feel hopeless when you keep getting those horrible headaches and migraines- I completely sympathise!

However, if you follow the seven great tips above, I promise that you won’t just ease your headaches and migraines but also transform your health for the better.

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