How to Handle Hormonal Migraines

A woman with a hormonal migraine

Migraines are the third most prevalent disease in the world, with one in every four households containing someone who experiences them. There are a variety of different migraine triggers, ranging from factors that we can’t control, like family history, to those that we can control, such as the foods and drinks we consume. Today we are focusing on a trigger that many women have to face: the relationship between migraines and hormones. At Triangle Physicians for Women, we are here to support women of all stages of life, so no matter if your migraines are related to menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, we are here to help you handle your hormonal migraines.

The relationship between hormones and migraines

From a biological standpoint, progesterone and estrogen both work to regulate the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy. These hormones can also play a role when it comes to headache-related chemicals in the brain. Hormonal migraines typically occur when the body experiences a change in estrogen levels. While the levels of your hormones may influence the frequency or severity of migraines, the providers at Triangle Physicians for Women can work with you to treat or prevent these headaches, regardless of whether they’re related to menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause.

Migraines during menstruation

The decrease in estrogen levels right before your period begins may trigger hormonal migraines before or during your menstrual cycle. Thankfully, there are many different treatments to reduce the pain, ranging from at-home remedies to prescription migraine medications. Cold therapy treatments like ice packs, relaxation techniques, or over-the-counter drugs like Aleve or ibuprofen may all help reduce the pain associated with headaches. For more severe cases, your provider may prescribe other medications.

Migraines during pregnancy

When you become pregnant, your estrogen levels will increase rapidly and remain high throughout the duration of your pregnancy. This high level of estrogen is likely to improve or even eliminate migraines associated with hormones. If you experience tension headaches or other chronic headaches, make sure you consult your doctor about safe medications or therapies. 

Migraines during menopause

While hormonal migraines typically improve when a woman’s menstrual period stops, they may still cause problems in the years leading up to menopause. In addition to the at-home remedies and medications previously mentioned, hormone replacement therapy can sometimes improve headaches in menopausal women. 

Preventative treatment

If you are experiencing multiple migraines a month that interfere with your day-to-day life, talk to your doctor or midwife about a treatment plan. Possible preventative treatments such as a prescribed NSAID or triptan pain reliever taken a few days before the start of your period may be effective in preventing migraines from occurring. In some cases, your provider may recommend certain lifestyle changes, like stress-reducing activities or regular exercise to help improve your migraines. 

Your doctor may also discuss hormonal contraception use with you. In some cases, hormonal birth control can help level out estrogen levels and prevent migraines, but in other cases, your chosen birth control method may worsen your migraines. Every woman is different, so at Triangle Physicians for Women, we are here to work with you to find the best treatment for your hormonal migraines.

Talk To An OB/GYN Provider

The team at Triangle Physicians for Women is here for you in all stages of your life and are committed to providing you with comprehensive care. Whether you’re a new patient or a regular with us we strive to offer the highest quality of care. To make an appointment, call the office at (919) 678-6900 or contact us online.

I think Dr. Grana and her assistant (Mandy) are the best. I have been going to TP4W for years – at least 20, and I have never been disappointed with the level of care I have received. I can be a challenge as my level for pain tolerance is low and they put up with me! I can’t help but highly recommend the practice to anyone looking for exemplary women’s healthcare.

Love love love Dr. Grana and her crew. Love going to Holly Springs office. The girls are the best from Lisa at the front desk to all the girls in the back. Your music and atmosphere is great. Thanks for making these appointments fun!! Yes believe it or not, fun!!!

Dr V and the office staff were all very professional, understanding, caring and very efficient. I would be happy to recommend this practice to friends, family and associates. – Barbara M. Lucas

My visit was great! & my past visit have all been great.Kristy helped me even with me being a bit stressed & in a hurry because I had to be seen & my job is super strict. Her urgency to get me seen was phenomenal. I even got to see Heather, she’s awesome & amazing. She helped deliver my baby girl a year ago. My whole family loves her and Dr Sheshadri. We actually can’t wait to get pregnant again hahaha. Everyone treats you with respect and always makes sure your okay & answers whatever questions you have before you leave. Even leaving a message for the nurses,they get back to you so quickly.  This practice really makes you feel taken care of.  We appreciate you all!  – Erika Hooks

My experience with the TP4W staff has been top of the line.  They helped me through three pregnancies and coached me through every step of the way.  Eternally thankful I chose TP4W.  – Britney

TP4W have such amazing doctors, midwives and nurses.  I cannot say enough about Dr. Grana and the rest of the staff for all the help, advice, guidance and medical care they provided me with all of my kids.  She made me feel safe and calm through both c-sections.  My routine care and pregnancy care have always been top notch and I would recommend them to anyone looking for an OBGYN.  – Brooke

We were honored to receive a hand written note..

Dr. Grana, Angie, Jessica, Heather, April, Sarah and the rest of the staff –

Thank you all so much for taking such good care of me through both of my pregnancies and births, especially my latest one on 10/29! most of yall know how nervous I was from having gone through a lot (to say the least) with my first in 2016. You all made me feel so comfortable and at ease before, during and after. And going through a touch year with my dad, you guys always asked how he was doing at every appointment, which was so thoughtful and beyond your job description. I know that you all see many women go through what i did each and every day and deliver many babies and perform many c-sections. But I hope you know how special Ruby’s delivery was to me. You all have amazing jobs! I cannot thank you all enough. Merry Christmas!

Love, Lucy

I have been going to TP4W since 2010/11 and could not be happier.

The staff, nurses, midwives, and doctors are all amazing. I have 2 sons, both delivered via cesarean by Dr. V. Every visit and every provider did everything in their power to give me the birth experience I wanted, and also ensure that myself and my babies were safe and healthy. Dr. V even did everything in his power to help me avoid my first c-section and VBAC with the second, but that turned out to be out of his hands and he was the absolute best surgeon. With my two pregnancies, I experienced a few scares and some unusual circumstances that would be too long and too private to write in a review, but every single hurdle was handled with grace, honesty, and professionalism. I am so thankful for the recommendation from a friend to come to this office. I can’t imagine ever going to another practice.

TP4W is amazing and I am so very thankful I found them 9 years ago!! Amazing partnership between midwives and doctors, sweet nurses and front end staff, and relaxing environment. I literally recommend them to all my friends! I look forward to my appointments and feel like I’m going to catch up with old friends.

I’ve always had wonderful experiences at TP4W. Everyone is friendly, knowledgeable, and thorough in their care. April delivered my son and I can’t say enough wonderful things about her. She is patient and compassionate. I had the best labor and delivery experience thanks to her. I do and will continue to recommend them to my friends and family!