Natural Remedies for Hormone Headaches
Women dread “that time of the month” for all sorts of reasons. For some, the worst part is the searing head pain that accompanies Aunt Flo’s arrival! Studies show that hormonal headaches affect up to 43 percent of women during their reproductive years. If you are one of them, then the next time your head starts pounding from your period, put down the aspirin and try some natural remedies for hormone headaches.
What causes hormone headaches in women?
Genetics and poor diet can certainly trigger menstrual migraines in women. Fluctuating hormones can, too. Whenever estrogen or progesterone levels shift, a hormonal headache may follow. These fluctuations are especially associated with:
- Menstrual cycles because both estrogen and progesterone dip to their lowest levels right before your period starts.
- Pregnancy because estrogen and progesterone levels rise, especially during the first trimester. They usually subside once a woman enters the second trimester, and the hormonal headaches often subside, too.
- Perimenopause and menopause, because during this time a woman's estrogen level steadily falls. This can trigger the onset of migraines or cause women to experience them more frequently. One study finds that up to 70 percent of women struggle with migraines as they navigated through the change of life.
- Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy artificially control hormone levels. With oral contraceptives, some women experience the worst headaches during the final week of placebo pills before their periods start.
Hormone headaches in men? Oh yes, it happens!
Men are not exempt from hormonal headaches. For them, the culprit is decreasing levels of testosterone. The gradual decline starts around age 30, and can include a number of symptoms: diminishing libido, erectile dysfunction, changes in sleep patterns, and yes, migraine headaches. Once a man enters andropause (nicknamed "male menopause") cluster migraines can occur. Traditional medical treatment for these male hormonal migraines is testosterone therapy, which is still quite new and risky. For this reason, most men welcome natural alternatives to alleviate the pain.
Are hormones always to blame for all headaches?
No, there are other reasons men and women can develop headaches, including migraines. Some scientists believe a deficiency in serotonin production can provoke them in certain people. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger inside the body that delivers information between cells. It regulates mood, pain perception, and sleep patterns. When serotonin levels drop too low, it can trigger anxiety, depression, insomnia, and headaches.
Tension also is responsible for headaches in some people. Poor posture, long periods on electronics, and prolonged stress form the perfect trifecta for producing tension headaches. Mild to intense pain behind your eyes, in your head, and in your neck – they can all be signs of a genuine tension headache. So if your headache feels like a tight band squeezing around your forehead, hormones are not to blame for your pain.
Common medical solutions for hormone headaches
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers are the first solution most women and men try for a searing hormone headache. But there are dangers associated with these everyday products. Some women use them only around the time of their menstrual cycle to control pain associated with hormone headaches. There are also prescription medications that treat migraines, including beta- blockers and anticonvulsants. They have their own possible side effects.
Top 7 natural hormone headache remedies
Because OTC pain relievers and prescription medications have risks, a growing number of people are looking for natural hormone headache remedies. Here are our top picks for squashing your next hormonal headache the natural way.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is a natural anti-inflammatory that is proving effective at curbing headaches, especially those triggered by hormones. It contains the pain-relieving compound phenylalanine. Although our bodies naturally produce this amino acid, it is not an essential amino acid, and its role in the body is still not fully understood by scientists.
Both women and men find headache relief with feverfew. This herb contains a chemical called parthenolide. Not only can it effectively reduce the pain associated with your headache, but it also can reduce the number of episodes of migraine headaches you experience.
5-HTP Dietary Supplement
Remember when we said that some scientists believe low serotonin levels cause migraines? Well, 5-HTP (also known as oxitriptan) can help boost serotonin production. Like phenylalanine, it is an amino acid. Never use it for more than 12 consecutive weeks. And always check with your doctor before starting any new herbal supplement to avoid contraindications.
Headache ReLeaf Roll-On
Serious headaches require soothing relief. ReLeaf Roll-On is one of the best natural remedies for hormonal headaches for women and men. It blends soothing menthol with three pure essential oils (lavender, peppermint, rose) to deliver a one-two punch to headache pain. Just glide the roll-on applicator over the painful areas as often as needed. Smells fantastic and works instantly.
As women approach their monthly periods, estrogen and progesterone are not the only things that drop. Magnesium levels also can dip. One study supports the regular intake of magnesium to prevent the frequency of headaches.
Vitamin B (Super B Complex)
Scientists believe B2 restores energy to nerve cells without agitating them. One study suggested taking 400 mg daily for at least a month to help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.
Some women swear by acupuncture as an effective way to relieve hormonal headaches. Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed acupuncture as a viable natural headache relief treatment since 1979.
A final word on natural hormone headache relief
It can sometimes feel like hormones have too much control over our bodies. When rising or falling hormone levels trigger your next migraine, take back the reins with one (or a combination of) these seven natural remedies for hormone headache relief. Be well!