The menopausal journey is often described as a rollercoaster of hormonal changes, hot flashes, and mood swings. However, for some women, it comes with the added challenge of migraines. Migraines in the menopause can create a unique set of physical and emotional hurdles to overcome.

Menopause and migraines connection:

Menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years, typically occurring in her late 40s or early 50s. It’s a natural biological process characterized by the decline in oestrogen and progesterone hormones. These hormonal shifts affect various bodily functions, including the brain, which plays a pivotal role in triggering migraines.

1. Hormonal Fluctuations:

Oestrogen influences blood vessels, pain perception, and neurotransmitters in the brain. During perimenopause, oestrogen levels can fluctuate significantly. These fluctuations may trigger migraines in women who are prone to them. Some women experience migraines for the first time during this stage of life.

2. Migraines and Aura:

Menopausal women who have a history of migraines might notice changes in their migraine patterns. Some may experience more frequent attacks, while others might see a decrease. Interestingly, the presence of aura (visual disturbances before or during a migraine) can change or even disappear during menopause for some women.

Causes of menopause migraines:

1. Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in oestrogen levels during menopause can trigger migraines in some women. This is often due to the abrupt decline in oestrogen.
2. Stress: Menopause can be a stressful time, and stress is a known migraine trigger for many people.
3.Sleep Disruptions: Sleep disturbances that often occur during menopause from night sweats and other causes, can contribute to migraine attacks.
4.Dietary Factors: Certain foods or drinks, like caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods, can trigger migraines in susceptible individuals.
5.Medications: Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or other medications used to manage menopausal symptoms may have side effects that include migraines.
6.Lifestyle Changes: Changes in physical activity, diet, and routine during menopause can also play a role.

Symptoms of Menopausal Migraines:

Migraines in menopause can be particularly challenging due to the overlap of symptoms with other menopausal issues. Here are common symptoms to watch out for:

1. Severe Headaches: Migraines are known for intense, throbbing headaches that can last for hours or days.
2. Sensory Disturbances: Some women experience visual disturbances, such as flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling sensations, before a migraine (aura).
3. Nausea and Vomiting: Migraines often come with nausea or vomiting.
4. Sensitivity to Light and Sound: Menopausal women with migraines may find light and sound intolerable during an attack.


Managing Menopausal Migraines

Here are many things we can naturally and alongside our GP to support migraines. These include:
1. Lifestyle Modifications: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. This includes managing stress, getting regular exercise, sleeping well, maintaining a balanced diet, and staying hydrated
2. Tracking Triggers: Keep a migraine diary to identify specific triggers and patterns. Common triggers include certain foods, hormonal fluctuations, and stress.
3.Stress Management: Menopause can be a stressful time. Practices like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help manage stress and reduce migraine frequency.

Understanding the connection between hormonal changes and migraines is crucial when going through this journey. By adopting a holistic approach that includes lifestyle changes, stress management, alongside possible medical interventions, it is possible to navigate menopausal migraines and enjoy a better quality of life during this stage.

It’s also worth noting that often women find, as their hormones stabilise in post menopause, their migraines reduce or go altogether.

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