Headaches & Migraines

headache photoSuffering with headaches and migraines?

Many women find that they have more frequent headaches and even migraines as they enter midlife. These can be caused by hormone imbalances at certain times of the menstrual cycle. If you suffer with headaches or migraines, take note of when they are happening. Are they random or do they seem to follow certain triggers? Talk to your health care provider who can help you find a natural solution that’s right for you.

Solutions: What you can do to ease your symptoms

Your health care provider may determine that your headaches or migraines are related to a hormone imbalance. Here are some steps you can take to feel better, ease your symptoms and improve your overall health. Try some of the simple lifestyle changes today discuss the other options with your health care provider.

  • See your health care provider for a comprehensive exam and full assessment of your overall physical, mental and emotional health.
  • Ask your provider to evaluate your hormone levels, thyroid and adrenals.
  • Your provider may want to arrange a neurology consultation.
  • If hormone therapy is recommended, consider bioidentical therapy which matches your body’s hormone structure.
  • Riboflavin, a B vitamin, has shown to be useful as a preventive strategy for migraines. It is taken on a daily basis at 500 mg.
  • Your health care provider may also prescribe a high dose of vitamin B6.
  • Feverfew, an over-the-counter herb, has also been used to prevent migraines; again, it is taken on a daily basis.
  • Talk to a Chinese medical practitioner about herbal therapy.
  • Ask about black cohosh, an herb that has helped some women with hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. To learn more, see the Vitamins, supplements and herbs page.
  • Discuss cervical spine alignment with your health care provider.
  • Massage & craniosacral therapy can provide relief.
  • Biofeedback is helpful for many people who suffer from migraines.
  • Discuss over-the-counter progesterone options with your health care provider.
  • Eat a healthier diet, free of processed foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where the most nutritious foods are found. Check the labels and avoid foods that are loaded with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), refined carbohydrates and sodium (salt). All can contribute to more imbalance symptoms.
  • Practice portion control. Honor your cravings, but do so in moderation.
  • Eat at least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day. The more colorful ones are packed with valuable nutrients. Dark green and leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collards have been shown to help in memory recall and other mental functions.
  • Choose organic whenever possible to avoid preservatives, pesticides, hormones and other substances that disrupt hormone balance.
  • Whole foods are healthiest, so pick the orange instead of the orange juice. You will get more hormone rebalancing nutrients and fiber to keep you healthy.
  • Limit your caffeine intake; drink less coffee and soda.
  • Drink more pure water and green tea.
  • Load up on berries that packed with anti-oxidants blueberries, blackberries, cranberries and strawberries. Fresh or frozen, they reduce oxidative stress which assaults the cells of the body. So, “berry up” to reduce inflammation and improve your brain cell signaling.
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats and choose olive oil and canola oil instead.
  • Choose foods high in Vitamin C ­ red peppers, oranges, pine nuts, roasted sunflower seeds. Great for skin protection, leading to fewer wrinkles and less skin dryness overall.
  • Boost your omega-3s a beneficial fatty acid found in oily fishes, walnuts, canola and flaxseed oils.
  • Spice up your diet with herbs that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties ­ turmeric (also known as curcumin), garlic, rosemary, and cayenne.
  • Go for a walk, take the stairs and park farther away. Exercise gets your endorphins moving and helps alleviate symptoms associated with menopause.
  • If you’re a smoker, seek the support you need to quit. On average, women who smoke experience menopause symptoms two years earlier than non-smokers. And smokers’ symptoms are often stronger and more troublesome.
  • Chemical disruptors can also throw off your balance, so avoid perfumes and go fragrance-free.
  • Make time to do the things you love, whether it’s relaxing with a good book or pursuing a favorite hobby.
  • Get your life in order; getting rid of clutter can reduce your overall stress and help you manage midlife challenges.
  • Reduce your stress with massage therapy, join a yoga class or meditate.
  • Get more rest and a better night’s sleep. For tips, see the Trouble Sleeping symptom page.