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Are Headaches A Symptom Of Menopause

What Is Likely To Happen As I Approach And Pass Through The Menopause

Headaches, migraines and the menopause explained – a British Menopause Society video

Migraine tends to worsen in the years leading up to the menopause, with attacks occurring more frequently and sometimes also lasting longer. Many women notice more of a link with their periods. In the early stages of menopause, when periods become erratic and more frequent, this also means more migraines. Towards the end of menopause, as periods lessen, so does migraine. For women who have noticed a strong link between migraine and hormonal triggers, post-menopause can be a blessing as migraine is very likely to improve. This may take two or three years after the last period, as it can take this long for the hormones to settle. Non-hormonal triggers can still persist after menopause so if these are important causes for migraine, attacks will still continue.

What About Hysterectomy For Migraine Relief

According to Dr. MacGregor,hysterectomy is probably the most inappropriate management of menstrual migraine. Her opinion as well as the other 3 doctors interviewed for the MWS is that hysterectomy is not an appropriate strategy. She acknowledges that there are no published studies of hysterectomy followed by bioidentical hormones and migraine but firmly believes there are better strategies and that women should keep their reproductive organs when medically possible.

Hows A Menstrual Migraine Diagnosed What Tests Are Done

Your healthcare provider will want to establish a history of your migraine-related symptoms, likely asking you to:

  • Describe the severity and location of your pain. Is the pain pounding? Pulsing? Throbbing?
  • Tell how often you get migraine headaches.
  • Remember if anything makes your headache better or worse.
  • Discuss what medications you take to relieve the pain and how often you take them.
  • Talk about the activities, foods, stressors, or the situations that may have brought on the migraine.
  • Remember if anyone in your family gets migraine headaches.
  • Tell how you felt before, during and after the headache.

Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests and imaging tests to make sure there are no other causes for your headache. An electroencephalogram may be ordered to rule out seizures.

Its helpful to both you and your healthcare provider if you keep a migraine journal. Take note of what symptoms you get, how long your symptoms last, and what makes your menstrual migraine better or worse. You and your healthcare provider may be able to use that information to help you heal, and possibly prevent or anticipate your migraine.

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Can Migraine Be Worse During Menopause

If your migraine headaches are closely linked to your menstrual cycle, may make them less severe. As you get older, the nausea and vomiting may decrease as well. About two-thirds of women with migraines report that their symptoms improve with menopause.

But for some women, menopause worsens migraine or triggers them to start. It is not clear why this happens. , which is prescribed for some women during menopause, may be linked to migraines during this time. In general, though, the worsening of migraine symptoms goes away once menopause is complete.

Can Menopause Cause Migraine

Are Headaches a Common Symptom of Menopause?

A small number of women may develop headaches for the first time around the time of menopause, and some women with an existing headache disorder may find their headaches worsen, says Mays.

Every woman is different, and it isnt clear why some women experience migraine for the first time during perimenopause, though its likely connected to hormone fluctuations, according to the North American Menopause Society. On the positive side, hormonal migraine typically goes away after menopause when estrogen surges stop and levels are consistently low.

Menopause can cause other types of changes in migraine, says Mays. For example, some women can develop migraine aura, but they dont get the headache with it. Theyll get flashes, the lights, or zigzag lines when theyve never had it before, says Mays.

In migraine with aura, a person experiences visual disturbances, which may include spots, geometric patterns, flashes of light, or temporary vision loss sensory disturbances, such as numbness or tingling in the limbs or face limb weakness speech problems or aural symptoms, in which a person hears noises or music.

Similarly, there are also are some women who have had migraine with aura before, and then they stop having the headache portion of it, Mays says.

Positive Coping

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When Effective Treatments Stop Working

This is commonly discussed with specialists as girls and women go through many physical changes through their lives. Dr. Allan Purdy, an esteemed headache specialist was interviewed about migraine and aging during the Migraine World Summit in 2018. He detailed how the body changes and why certain medications and interventions may stop working during different stages of life.

Its important to note that as people age and develop other medical conditions, certain treatments often need to be changed. Additionally, the elderly metabolize medications different from younger people. During the MWS in 2020, Dr. Jessica Ailani, a specialist in both headache medicine and womens health spoke at length about how hormones change and how treatment should change through life during. She specifically spoke about women in menopausal years and her frequent advice to try different devices like neuromodulation rather than adding more oral medications. This may also be a good time to try narrow-band green light therapy like the Allay Lamp.

In light of the fact that blood pressure tends to increase with age, for those of us who have not been able to try beta-blockers, a common migraine preventive that sometimes decreases blood pressure too much, this class of medications may now be an option.

What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Menstrual Migraines

  • Am I experiencing a menstrual migraine or another type of migraine?
  • Should I change any of the medications Im taking?
  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • What medications should I take?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

A migraine is more than a bad headache. Not only can menstrual migraines get severe, but women have reported that they can be even worse than a migraine that occurs when theyre not on their period. Talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms. There are preventative measures and treatment options. A menstrual migraine might not be something you just have to live with every month.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2021.

References

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Reasons Why You May Have Headaches During Menopause

by Yashoda Hospitals | Aug 10, 2019 | General

4 Reasons Why You May Have Headaches During MenopauseAnd a few tips to manage them!

Menopause does not happen in a day. It stretches out over a period of several years for most women. During this time, they will have irregular periods accompanied by hot flashes, and often, severe bouts of headaches and dizziness. As the menopause approaches, periods become erratic, and the hormones fluctuate, disorienting the body.

Migraines and dizziness are side-effects of these changes occurring in the body. There can be several causes for them. In general, if you have a history of headaches associated with periods, you are more prone to menopause headaches and dizziness. They might get worse as you approach your menopause and stop only once estrogen levels settle down.

Causes Of Headaches During Menopause

Headaches & Dizziness during menopause

Research studies have established a strong link between headaches and female sex hormones. The most common culprit is estrogen. Hormone levels can also influence the severity of headaches during menopause as well as during your period and when youre pregnant.

Fluctuating hormone levels during the perimenopausal phase can increase the frequency of headaches.

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When To Consult A Doctor

If your headaches are worse and start to interfere with your life, see a doctor. Yes, changes are normal during this time when everything is changing, but a doc can determine if what youre experiencing needs medical intervention. Further, a health care professional who specializes in headaches and migraines can help you identify triggers and establish a treatment plan.

If headaches are interfering with your day-to-day life, a Gennev menopause-certified gynecologist can give you a trusted opinion, determine if medication is right for you, and they can provide prescription support. Book an appointment with a doctor here.

Why Does Menopause Cause Headaches

The exact connection between the menopause and headaches is somewhat unclear. However, much of the blame can be placed upon the hormonal changes that the body goes through during the menopause. The hormones that are affected the most during the menopause are oestrogen and progesterone.

Oestrogen is thought to cause blood vessels to dilate, while progesterone causes them to tighten. As the level of these hormones fluctuates, the blood vessels are constantly expanding and contracting. This can cause pressure changes in the head and result in the headaches you are experiencing.

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Your Checklist And Key Points

What brought you to this blog was likely either an uptick in migraine attacks, a concern of future increased attacks in midlife or information about expectations in midlife and later. My goal was for you to come away with at least 3 take-away ideas that you can either implement on your own or consult your healthcare providers about to minimize migraines in menopause. I will list a few

  • Track your migraine attacks so you know for sure if things are getting better or worse
  • Track your cycles so you can share this with a doctor that can help you fine-tune your treatment plan
  • If you are in your 40s and having more migraine attacks, you are probably in perimenopause.
  • Theres nothing wrong with our hormones. Our migraine brain just doesnt like change.
  • Step it up! If your doctor is not partnering with you get a second opinion or switch doctors. If you have a general neurologist, consider a headache specialist. Be your own advocate.
  • Consider bioidentical hormone therapy
  • Consider anti-depressants
  • Consider consulting with a doctor who specializes in menopause
  • Get working on a few slices of The Treatment Pie
  • Consider seeking professional help for coping skills
  • Make a plan for intentional, daily activity or exercise
  • Try evidenced-based supplements for migraine relief

Please download these graphics to remind yourself of some key points as well as a checklist for you to consider and review with your healthcare team.

Our Free Guide Gives You 5 Tools For Every Day Migraine Prevention

Headaches During The Meno Years?

Holly Hazen is the creator of Migraine Savvy. Her guidance is guaranteed to give you more confidence in your ability to prepare for that next attack and recover faster. Learning resilience and coping skills now will pay off forever!

If you like this article, please share it on your favorite social channels…

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Intermittent Fasting And Menopause Symptoms

Fasting has had a significant makeover in the last several years but has been a known practice for centuries, even millennia.

But what do intermittent fasting and menopause have in common? First, fasting came into context with menopause as a weight-loss tool for women over 50.

The loss of muscle mass and a slower metabolism slows down any weight loss during menopause. However, according to research, intermittent fasting can help with weight when it comes to the most stubborn fat.

While intermittent fasting is no miracle solution, it might work for some women when theyre struggling to either maintain or lose weight in menopause.

Are There Different Kinds Of Migraine

Yes, there are many forms of migraine. The two forms seen most often are migraine with aura and migraine without aura.

Migraine with aura . With a migraine with aura, a person might have these sensory symptoms 10 to 30 minutes before an attack:

  • Seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots
  • Numbness or tingling in the face or hands
  • Disturbed sense of smell, taste, or touch
  • Feeling mentally fuzzy

Only one in five people who get migraine experience an aura. Women have this form of migraine less often than men.

Migraine without aura . With this form of migraine, a person does not have an aura but has all the other features of an attack.

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Diagnosis Of Menopause Headaches

In order to diagnose menopause headaches, doctors will usually run blood tests to determine if you are in perimenopause or menopause. Once they have inconclusive results that you are, they will then ask you questions about the type of headache that you experience. These questions range from how often you get the headaches, where you feel the pain and for how long, which part of the head you feel the pain and what type of pain it is. The type of headache you have will determine what treatment you receive.

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Can You Use The Mirena Coil As Well As Hrt

Menopausal Headaches

The Mirena intrauterine system can be used for contraception, to control heavy/painful periods, and to act as the progestogen component of HRT. One advantage is that it acts directly on the womb, with very little hormone reaching the rest of the body. This means that side effects are generally very few. Another advantage is that if a woman has a Mirena, it is easy to adjust the dose of oestrogen to suit her needs. Also, many women find that their periods become very light, or stop completely while they are using a Mirena. If migraine was linked to troublesome periods, this in itself can make migraine less likely to occur.

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Symptoms Of Migraines And Menopause

To make things even more challenging for us and the doctors trying to help us, there is great overlap in the signs of aging and perimenopause and symptoms and side effects of migraine and some migraine medications. The symptoms are memory issues, word-finding speed, weight gain, hair loss/changes, headaches and mood changes. Again, keeping track of your period and symptoms can help figure things out where possible. Its hard to tease-out exactly what is causing these frustrating and real issues.

It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the many other changes our bodies go through in peri and menopause. This is a good overview of menopause if you wish to learn more.

Treating Migraines And Menopause

All 4 of these wonderful, dedicated doctors interviewed for the 5 Migraine World Summits were emphatic and in unison about quite a few things. These 4 treatments may be critical to helping those of you trying to understand what you can do NOW whether you are pre-menopausal, perimenopausal or menopausal.

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Understanding And Treating Headache Related To Menopause

A large number of patients in my headache practice are either perimenopausal or postmenopausal. Many of those who are perimenopausal believe they will be cured of migraine after completing the hormonal fluctuations of menopause. This months featured article states that evidence certainly speaks against this generally held theory. Clinic based studies show that in 24.4%, headache improved with menopause while in 35.7%, it worsened.

In the journal, Current Treatment Options in Neurology, Dr. Lauritsen and colleagues review the associations between migraine and the menopausal period as well as which treatments have evidence. Epidemiological studies have shown that migraine is much more common in women than men and many connections between hormones and headaches have been established. Menopause is diagnosed 12 months after a womans final menstrual period. The average age for natural menopause is 51. According to the article, migraine is reported in 10-29% of menopausal women and is associated with greater disability and a higher incidence of mood disorders.

Non hormonal based treatments that have some evidence include antidepressants such as venlafaxine, paroxetine and escitalopram and an anti-seizure/neuropathic medication, gabapentin. Complementary and integrative options which include acupuncture, black cohosh, vitamin E, aerobic exercise and yoga have also proven to be helpful in limited studies.

Treatment For Menopause Headaches

Menopause Headaches and Dizziness

The solution may depend on the trigger. Generally, if the reduction in hormones triggers headaches, low-dose birth control pills may provide some relief.

Hormone replacement therapy can also help level out hormones during the transition of perimenopause and into menopause, but because triggers and responses are so unique, women should work closely with their doctors to get the treatments right, including dosage and how the treatment is delivered. Also, perimenopause isnt a time of consistent, dependable decline, so monitoring closely and shifting treatments accordingly will be necessary for many women.

For women with a history of breast cancer or blood clots, HRT may not be the treatment route of choice. In that case, there are several paths that can help.

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Papers Of Particular Interest Published Recently Have Been Highlighted As: Of Importance Of Major Importance

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    Facchinetti F, Neri I, Martignoni E, Fioroni L, Nappi G, Genazzani AR. The association of menstrual migraine with the premenstrual syndrome. Cephalalgia. 1993 13:4225.

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    Stillman MJ. Testosterone replacement therapy for treatment refractory cluster headache. Headache. 2006 46:92533. Unique publication describing hormonal treatment for CH.

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    Prakash S, Shah ND. Pure menstrual hemicrania continua: does it exist? A case report. Cephalalgia. 2010 30:6313.

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