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Do Headaches Come With Menopause?

Last updated on November 28th, 2022 at 12:05 pm

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Menopause is when a woman’s menstrual cycle stops. Surgical menopause is when menopause occurs after a surgery. In both these cases, hormonal changes take place.

Postmenopausal women usually find relief from headache that occur due to hormonal changes. Some others may experience headaches at the time of menopause.

Menopause headache remedy

Headaches during menopause can be migraines or episodes of tension headache. Menopause symptoms can be treated by hormone therapy

But for some women, the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can worsen the headache or trigger new headaches.

Such women can benefit from herbal remedies that use evening primrose oil, Gingko biloba, Ginseng, St. John’s wort, and black cohosh.

If you suffer from menstrual migraines that are worsened during menopause then over the counter medication can be helpful. Aspirin and acetaminophen can be helpful in providing relief.

If the headaches are not resolved by OTC medication, you need to get in touch with a healthcare provider. The doctor may prescribe medicines like sumatripan, zolmitripan, butalbital, ergotamine, prednisone, or ondaeteron.

The medicines can be useful in reducing migraine headaches and associated symptoms.

You can get relief from migraine symptoms by resting in a quiet and dark place. Placing a cool cloth on the forehead, back of neck, and on the eyes can also be useful.

If you suffer from tension headache, then OTC medication like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naprozen can help. Neck and shoulder massage, rest, and being hydrated can help reduce tension headaches.

Menopause headache neck pain

Menopause headaches occur because of changes in the levels of hormones. This can lead to headache that can be migraines or tension headaches.

Those who suffer from tension headaches would experience neck pain. They experience pain at the back of the head and the neck.

Usually, stress is the culprit when it comes to tension headaches. The best solution to reduce neck pain is to reduce stress levels.

Avoiding stressful situations, practicing deep breathing, learning to be more relaxed are natural ways of dealing with tension headaches that cause neck pain.

A healthy and balanced diet that includes dark green vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and dried fruits can be helpful. A good night’s sleep can be very useful in dealing with tension headaches and neck pain.

Menopause headaches at night

Menopausal symptoms that cause headache can also affect sleep. The increased headache can disturb regular sleep patterns and cause insomnia.

Along with headache, you may experience night sweats that can be disturbing. It is important to consult a doctor to get the right treatment.

A combination of lifestyle changes and medications would help manage menopause headaches. 

Perimenopause headaches and anxiety

Perimenopause is menopause transition and refers to the time when a woman’s body makes the transition to menopause.

During this period, there would be hormonal fluctuations. As a result, women can get migraine headaches with hot flashes, hot flushes, and other symptoms.

Women who experience migraine during their menopause can face increasing symptoms during perimenopause. With the migraine, they may see a migraine aura or experience nausea and vomiting.

Anxiety is another symptom that can be experienced. This is due to changes in hormonal levels.

It is advisable to see a doctor and get the right treatment to manage the symptoms.

What does perimenopause anxiety feel like?

The perimenopause period is when there are drastic changes in female hormones. The oestrogen levels would start to decline during this time.

The changes in the hormone level can have an impact on the brain. This can cause anxiety and even lead to depression.

Hot flushes and sleep disturbances can also occur during this time.

Those who are prone to stress are more at risk of experiencing perimenopause anxiety.

Treatment options for perimenopause anxiety include:

  • HRT (Hormone replacement therapy).
  • Prescription medicine like antidepressants.
  • CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
  • Psychotherapy.

Where are hormonal headaches located?

Hormonal headaches occur due to fluctuations in hormone levels particularly of estrogen. Women experience headaches during the time they have their menstrual cycle.

Women can experience migraine attacks due to hormonal changes. There are certain things that trigger migraine, and you need to identify what triggers a migraine attack.

A migraine headache can occur on one side of the head. Some women can experience the headache on both sides.

The headache is characterized by a throbbing sensation.

Tension headaches can also occur due to hormonal changes. These headaches cause a sensation of a band around the neck.

Pain is felt at the back of the head. The headache is characterized by neck pain.

Menopause headaches natural remedies

Natural menopause can cause hormonal changes leading to headaches. Tension headache and migraine headache are common during this time.

Apart from medication, alternative medicine can help in treating menopause headaches. Natural supplements can be used to treat headaches.

Some helpful supplements are:

  • Butterbur.
  • Coenzyme O10.
  • Black cohosh.
  • Magnesium.
  • Vitamin B.

Massaging the affected area can help offer relief from pain. Acupuncture is another alternative system of medicine that can help.

Lifestyle changes can help treat menopausal headaches. This includes:

  • Regular exercise to be healthy and fit.
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Being sufficiently hydrated by drinking sufficient water.
  • Reducing stress levels.
  • Sleeping well.
  • Avoiding triggers that worsen the headache like dairy products, alcohol, strong smells, bright lights, and MSG in food.

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Cluster headaches and perimenopause

Tension headaches and cluster headaches can be experienced during the perimenopause period.

Head pain due to cluster headaches can resemble migraine with pain on one side. The pain can be felt behind the eye and can radiate to other parts of the face.

When the pain become severe, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Proper treatment can help in getting a solution.

FAQs relating to do headaches come with menopause

The frequently asked questions and answers listed below will help you understand more about menopause and headaches.

What does a menopause headache feel like?

Menopause headache is most likely to be migraine. There are different types of migraine categorized as with aura and without aura.

The aura can cause visual symptoms like flashes, lines, or shapes.

Some people may even experience loss of shape. 1 out of 4 migraine sufferers can experience aura.

Menopause headaches can be accompanied by mood swings, pain at the side of the head and sensitivity to light.

The hormonal changes of menopause can even cause sinus headaches. The headache can be in the sinus cavities accompanied by pressure and swelling.

In case of a tension headache, it manifests as a pressure around the forehead. Pain is felt at the back of the head and also the neck.

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What helps with menopause headaches?

There are different treatment options available for menopause headaches.

The first time you experience a headache during menopause, you are likely to take OTC medication. While it does provide immediate relief, it is strongly possible that the headaches would return.

In case of severe headaches, you need to meet a doctor who would work out a treatment plan. The treatment plan can include: 

  • Blood pressure medication and anti-seizure drugs may be required. It can help prevent migraine attacks.
  • Antidepressant medication may be required for the treatment.
  • CRGP inhibitors are other medicines that can be helpful.
  • Pain relieving medication and triptans can help treat migraine symptoms.
  • Hormone replacement therapy can help treat hot flashes. But this may not be suitable for everyone.
  • Pain relief can be obtained by using an ice pack on the affected area.
  • Massage and alternative methods like acupuncture can help.
  • Biofeedback is a behavioral therapy that can help. It helps you control the way your body responds to pain and stress.
  • For some people, biofeedback along with CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) can be helpful.
  • Lifestyle changes are a very important part of the treatment. The changes include:
  • Avoiding foods and things that trigger a migraine can prevent attacks.
  • A balanced diet and eating food at the same time daily.
  • It is very important to reduce stress by practicing relaxation techniques.
  • Aerobic exercise can be helpful in overall health improvement.
  • Getting sufficient sleep is important. Rest is important when you suffer from migraine.

What does a hormonal headache feel like?

Hormonal changes occur in a woman’s body at the time of puberty. These hormonal changes also occur at the time of the menstrual periods.

Due to hormone fluctuations, various symptoms can occur including headaches. The change in the levels of estrogen in the body would cause the headache. 

Postmenopausal women experience reduction in hormones. This can again cause headaches. While some women actually have their headaches reduced, others experience worsened symptoms.

When a woman experiences hormonal headaches, the symptoms are:

  • Headache whose pain can range from a dull pain to throbbing pain.
  • Tenderness in the scalp.
  • Pain in one side of the head. Some women can have pain in both sides.
  • Tension headache can occur in some women when they are stressed. The headache feels as though a band is fixed to the head.
  • The pain is felt on the forehead with pressure. It can also cause pain in the neck and back of the head.

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