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Menopause and Headaches Guide: Causes and Remedies

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medically reviewed by Dr Godmi Tresa

Dr J S S Dev

Updated on April 09, 2024

If you are wondering whether menopause can cause headaches or not, then the answer is a big YES! 

About 60% of women experience new or increased headaches during menopause or in the years leading to menopause (perimenopause).

In this blog, we will discuss how you can cure menopause and perimenopause headaches. We will look into natural remedies to ensure menopause headache relief. Read on to find out.

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Menopause and Headaches

Before we go any further, it is essential to realise and understand the relationship between your headaches and menopause. Headaches and female hormones have a great story to tell. Although many women experience headaches or increased pain during perimenopause and menopause, some may experience complete relief from headaches. 

The reason why you experience headaches before your periods is because of the decline in estrogen levels. Further, this is the main reason for your menopausal and perimenopausal headaches, too. 

Hormonal Changes

As women approach menopause, their bodies undergo hormonal changes that can lead to headaches. Two of the essential hormones involved in this process are estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen levels begin to decrease in the years leading up to menopause, and this decline continues after menopause. Meanwhile, progesterone levels also decrease during menopause but can fluctuate more widely than estrogen levels.

These hormonal changes can affect how the brain processes pain signals. 

  • Precisely, estrogen has a protective effect against headaches, so a reduction in estrogen levels can make women more susceptible to headaches. 
     
  • Similarly, fluctuations in progesterone levels may also trigger headaches in some women.

By understanding how these hormonal changes impact the body, women can better manage menopause headaches and find relief.

Fluctuating Estrogen Levels

Fluctuating Estrogen Levels.jpg

It can be challenging to deal with menopause and perimenopause headaches. Why and how? Because estrogen levels tend to fluctuate quite a bit during this time, and these fluctuations can be a trigger for headaches in some women.

For instance, some women may feel headaches in the days before their menstrual period, when estrogen levels are at their lowest. Other women may experience headaches in the week after their menstrual period when estrogen levels start to increase. It's confusing and troublesome. Don't worry. We are here to help.

Apart from hormonal changes, several other factors can indeed trigger headaches during menopause. These include:

  • Stress,
  • Sleep disturbances or lack of sleep,
  • Certain foods and beverages like caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, and more, and
  • Environmental factors, like bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells.

Types of Headaches Caused Due to Hormonal Imbalance

Now, let us look at the different types of headaches that you may experience during menopause.

HeadacheFeaturesIntensity and Duration
MigraineThrobbing pain on both sides or one side of the head. Usually accompanied with nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, sound sensitivityIt ranges from mild to severe, lasting from a few hours to a few days
Tension headacheAching pain on both sides of the head. Neck or shoulder tension is usually present.Usually mild to moderate, lasting from a few hours to a few days
Cluster headacheSevere headaches that occur suddenly in clusters, generally accompanied by nasal congestion, watery eyes, and a running nose.Severe pain lasts for 15 to 180 minutes and can occur up to 8 times per day.

In addition to the above, the menopausal stage can bring about various types of headaches, including hormone headaches and menstrual migraines. 

  • Hormone headaches owe their trigger to hormonal changes that occur during menopause. 
  • Menstrual migraines take place in the days leading up to or during menstruation. 

Managing Menopausal Headaches

You can manage the headaches caused by menopause effectively by adjusting your lifestyle, adopting stress management techniques, and other relaxing practices like Yoga. However, if the headache persists, consulting with your healthcare practitioner can help. 

Conventionally, the treatment protocols for severe headaches involve hormone replacement therapy and low-dose birth control pills. However, these treatment protocols may not precisely help your problem because headache triggers and responses are unique and vary from individual to individual.

Lifestyle Adjustments

  • Always aim for a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep can cause the triggering of your headaches and make them worse.
     
  • Eat a balanced diet of many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit processed foods, sugary drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
     
  • It is vital to stay well hydrated by taking plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration can trigger headaches, so make sure to keep yourself well-hydrated and keep them at an arm's distance.
     
  • Regular exercise can effectively reduce stress and improve overall health. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activities most days of the week.
     
  • It's common for stress to trigger headaches. Manage stress with exercise, relaxation techniques, and spending time with loved ones.

Stress Management Techniques

  • If you are experiencing stress and tension headaches, you may find relief through relaxation therapy techniques like deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. These techniques are effective in stress reduction and promoting relaxation, which helps to alleviate tension headaches. By practising these techniques regularly, you may find long-term relief and experience a greater sense of calm and well-being.
     
  • Biofeedback: As a therapy, it teaches you how to control your body's response to stress. It can help manage tension headaches and migraines.
     
  • Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that helps you to identify and change the negative thoughts and behaviours that cause stress and headaches.

Adopting Relaxation Practices Such as Meditation and Yoga

Adopting Relaxation Practices Such as Meditation and Yoga.jpg

Meditation

The art of meditation is a technique that trains the mind to concentrate on the present moment. Of course, while simultaneously acknowledging and accepting one's thoughts and feelings. This practice provides many benefits, like reducing stress and anxiety, promoting relaxation, and improving overall mental and physical well-being. By regularly engaging in meditation, you can effectively manage your headaches during menopause.

Yoga 

It is a holistic practice connecting the mind and body through physical postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques. Through regular practice, Yoga helps enhance flexibility, build strength, and improve balance while also promoting mental clarity and reducing stress levels. Pranayama and other relaxing yoga postures can give you great relief from your headaches.

What Can Ayurveda Do?

Ayurveda can do wonders when it comes to your headaches. Internal medications like medicated water extract or decoctions (pathya shadanga kashaya), medicated ghee (varanadi ghrta), herbal pills (manasamitra vataka), and more are proven to be very much beneficial. Following are some of the Ayurveda procedures that can cure your headaches:

  • Abhyanga is a medicated oil massage (Ksheera bala oil massage over your scalp and neck).
     
  • Lepa focuses on applying the medicated paste over your forehead (Rasana Jambeera powder application over the forehead).
     
  • Virechana is a medically induced purgation therapy that internally employs the Gandharva eranda oil.
     
  • Nasya comprises the nasal administration of medicines like Shadbindu oil and Varanadi ksheera ghee.
     
  • Shirodhara implies pouring a continuous stream of medicated oil on your head. For instance, it uses Dhanwantara, Chandanadi, and Ksheerabala oils.
     
  • Talam is the application of medicated paste on the crown of the head. It features a combination of ksheerabala oil and kachuradi powder.

These procedures are proven to be very effective in headaches and can help you overcome your menopausal headaches.

The Final Takeaway

The Final Takeaway

By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and practising Yoga and other relaxation techniques, you can effectively manage menopause headaches. Natural remedies for menopause headaches, as well as perimenopause headaches, are explained in this blog.  

Menopause can be a challenging time for women, but with the proper knowledge and self-awareness, it is possible to maintain a healthy balance. By implementing these helpful tips and staying mindful of your health condition, you can effectively manage your menopausal health and navigate this stage of life more easily.

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