Hormonal headaches, or headaches linked to menstruation, may result from changes in the levels of progesterone and estrogen in your body. These hormonal changes can have an impact on serotonin and other neurotransmitters in your brain, which can lead to headaches. A headache before your period can be caused by many things, the two big ones being hormones and serotonin. Premenstrual headaches are usually caused by the decrease in estrogen and progesterone that happens before your period begins. While these hormonal changes happen in all people who menstruate, some are more sensitive to these changes than others. Hormonal birth control pills can also cause premenstrual headaches in some people, though they improve symptoms for others.
According to Dr Anne MacGregor, formerly of the National Migraine Centre, more than half of women who get migraines notice a link with their periods. This is because of the natural drop in oestrogen levels at these times. It’s worth keeping a diary for at least 3 menstrual cycles to help you check whether your migraines are linked to your periods. The Migraine Trust has an online headache diary, which may be a useful tool. If keeping a diary reveals that your headaches develop just before your period, you can try these tips to help prevent a migraine. Your doctor can also prescribe anti-migraine medicines for you to take around the time of your period. If you have headaches during the days you do not take the pills, you can avoid the sudden fall in oestrogen by taking several packs continuously without a break. Find out more about the contraceptive pill. The hormone changes that happen as women approach the menopause mean that all types of headache, including migraines, become more common.
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