Did you know?
Women suffer from five times more headaches than men.
Menopause is a natural stage in a woman's life, but it can come with some symptoms that can be difficult to live with, such as headaches. Because of the link between female hormones and headaches, these are often common throughout a woman's life, but as a woman approaches menopause, the fluctuation of hormone levels can cause them to worsen. However, there are lifestyle changes and other steps you can take to prevent or lessen menopausal headaches.
The healthiest way to deal with headaches is to adopt a few lifestyle changes. For many women, this is often a preferred method, as it not only relieves distressing symptoms, but also goes hand-in-hand with an overall feeling of well-being.
Good eating habits
Dips in blood sugar levels can trigger headaches, so it is better to eat smaller portions more frequently than to leave a long time between each meal. Never skipping breakfast and eating small snacks between meals are effective ways of maintaining the right blood sugar level. Studies have also shown that diets rich in foods such as soy, apples, cherries, potatoes, brown rice, and whole wheat can increase estrogen levels thanks to their phytoestrogen content.
Regular sleep pattern
Maintaining a regular sleep pattern is a good way of managing headaches. Thankfully, there are simple things that can be done to create a good sleep pattern, such as avoiding caffeine and instead drinking a warm, milky drink or an herbal tea before bed. Try to ensure that you go to bed at the same time every night. A comfortable mattress and loose-fitting, cotton pajamas should also help speed up the sleep process.
Stress is a common trigger for hormonal headaches, but it cannot always be avoided. Therefore, it might be useful for a menopausal woman suffering from headaches to try adopting some stress management strategies, such as exercising regularly (e.g., going for a walk every day or joining an exercise class). Many women also find yoga and meditation to be useful techniques, as they relax the mind as well as the body, but every woman's definition of relaxation is different, so it is important for each person to work out what works for her - gardening, reading a book, or even watching the stars.
For women who have more severe headaches, or find that these lifestyle changes are not allaying the symptoms to the extent that they would like, there are herbs that have been shown to help reduce headaches such as peppermint, ginger, and valerian. Over the counter medicine can also help.
Women need not be despondent about worsening headaches during this life stage, as there are many ways to control and manage the symptoms. Of course, as well as natural methods, there are also a range of conventional treatments that can be used (such as hormone replacement therapy), and a doctor should be consulted when considering this option in order to gain the best information regarding the possible risks and benefits.
- National Health Service UK. (2013). Hormone Headaches. Retrieved on July 8, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/headaches/Pages/Hormonalheadaches.aspx
- National Health Service UK. (2012). 10 Tips to Beat Insomnia. Retrieved on July 8, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/insomnia/Pages/insomniatips.aspx
- Office of Dietary Supplements. (2008). Black Cohosh: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved on July 8, 2014, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BlackCohosh-HealthProfessional/
- Woodyard, C. (2010). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. International Journal of Yoga, 4(2), 49-54. doi: 10.4103/0973-6131.85485