“Migraine is affected by the changing hormone environment, with perimenopause associated with increased migraine, particularly menstrual migraine”.1

Umbrella
What may the Menopause Headaches Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Hormonal Headaches and Migraines
  • Menopausal/Menopause Headaches and Migraines
  • Perimenopausal/Perimenopause Headaches and Migraines

Headaches

Is there an association between headaches and perimenopause?

In Menopause FAQs: Understanding the Symptoms – Q. I’ve been having headaches lately. Is this a symptom of menopause? the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) elaborate on:

“A. Studies suggest that hormones may play a role in headaches. Women at increased risk for hormonal headaches during perimenopause are those who have already had headaches influenced by hormones, such as those with a history of headaches around their menstrual periods (so-called menstrual migraines) or when taking oral contraceptives”.2

Migraines

Is there an association between migraines and menopause?

In Migraine: Can Migraine Be Worse During Menopause? the Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov elaborate on:

“If your migraine headaches are closely linked to your menstrual cycle, menopause may make them less severe. As you get older, the nausea and vomiting may decrease as well. About two-thirds of women with migraines report that their symptoms improve with menopause.

But for some women, menopause worsens migraine or triggers them to start. It is not clear why this happens. Menopausal hormone therapy, which is prescribed for some women during menopause, may be linked to migraines during this time. In general, though, the worsening of migraine symptoms goes away once menopause is complete”.3

Menstrual Migraine

How common is menstrual migraine?

In Menstrual and Perimenopausal Migraine: A Narrative Review – Highlights dated 05 July 2020, the author notes:

  • “Menstrual migraine affects 4–8% of all women and 20–25% of women with migraine”.4

Cause

What may cause migraine?

In Menstrual and Perimenopausal Migraine: A Narrative Review – Abstract the author elaborates on:

“Migraine is affected by the changing hormone environment, with perimenopause associated with increased migraine, particularly menstrual migraine. Menstrual attacks are recognised to be more disabling and less responsive to treatment compared with non-menstrual attacks. Perimenstrual estrogen ‘withdrawal’ is implicated in the pathophysiology of menstrual migraine, with increased prevalence of migraine in perimenopause associated with unpredictable estrogen fluctuations”.5

Headache DiaryMenopause Headaches

Where may I find a headache diary?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Treatment

How are headaches treated?

The NAMS explain:

“Most headaches do not require treatment or can be treated with nonprescription pain medications. Some headaches, however, can be serious. More serious headaches, including migraines, may require prescription drugs; however, care should be taken to monitor the use of these drugs”.6

In Current Treatment Options: Headache Related To Menopause—Diagnosis and Management the authors elaborate on:

“Treatment may be limited by vascular risks or other medical and psychiatric factors. We recommend using medications with dual benefit for migraine and vasomotor symptoms including venlafaxine, escitalopram, paroxetine, and gabapentin, as well as non-medication strategies such as acupuncture, vitamin E, black cohosh, aerobic exercise, and yoga”.7

HRT

Can hormone replacement therapy (HRT) help?

In Migraine and HRT: Can HRT Help? the (British) Women’s Health Concern elaborate on:

Menopause Headaches

“Many women notice that migraine is more likely to occur when they have bad hot flushes and night sweats. Since HRT is very effective at controlling these menopause symptoms, it can help reduce the likelihood of migraine.

However, some forms of HRT can create more hormone fluctuations, triggering migraine. This is more likely to occur with tablets of HRT. We generally recommend that women with migraine who need HRT should use estrogen patches or gel, as these maintain stable hormone levels with few fluctuations. The best dose of estrogen is the lowest dose necessary to control flushes and sweats”.8

Health Care Provider

What if I get headaches?

If you get headaches it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. Together you can identify any patterns, discuss your options and if required, agree on who may be the most appropriate health care provider to help you.

The NAMS note:

“If a headache is unusually painful or different from those you have had before, seek medical help promptly”.9

In Headaches: See A GP If the (United Kingdom) NHS also note:

“See a GP if:

  • Your headache keeps coming back
  • Painkillers do not help and your headache gets worse
  • You have a bad throbbing pain at the front or side of your head – it could be a migraine or, more rarely, a cluster headache
  • You feel sick, vomit and find light or noise painful”.10

Who is a GP?

DotS and/or DotC (Depending on the Country) a GP may be a qualified and registered general practitioner, a medical practitioner, a medical doctor or a doctor.

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Menopause Headaches?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Menopause Headaches?

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. MacGregor, E. A. Menstrual and Perimenopausal Migraine A Narrative Review – Highlights. 05 July 2020. https://www.maturitas.org/article/S0378-5122(20)30329-7/pdf Accessed: 20 July 2021
  2. Menopause FAQs: Menopause Symptoms – Q. I’ve been having headaches lately. Is this a symptom of menopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-menopause-symptoms Accessed: 20 July 2021
  3. Migraine: Can Migraine Be Worse During Menopause? Medical Review In 2012. Page Last Updated: 01 April 2019. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/migraine Accessed: 20 July 2021
  4. MacGregor, E. A. Menstrual and Perimenopausal Migraine A Narrative Review – Highlights. 05 July 2020. https://www.maturitas.org/article/S0378-5122(20)30329-7/pdf Accessed: 20 July 2021
  5. MacGregor, E. A. Menstrual and Perimenopausal Migraine A Narrative Review – Abstracts. 05 July 2021 https://www.maturitas.org/article/S0378-5122(20)30329-7/pdf Accessed: 20 July 2021
  6. Menopause FAQs: Menopause Symptoms – Q. I’ve been having headaches lately. Is this a symptom of menopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-menopause-symptoms Accessed: 20 July 2021
  7. Lauritsen, C.G., Chua, A.L. & Nahas, S.J. Current Treatment Options: Headache Related to Menopause—Diagnosis and Management. Curr Treat Options Neurol 20, 7 (2018). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11940-018-0492-7#citeas Accessed: 20 July 2021
  8. Migraine and HRT: Can HRT Help? Published: October 2020. Women’s Health Concern https://www.womens-health-concern.org/help-and-advice/factsheets/migraine-and-hrt/ Accessed: 20 July 2021
  9. Menopause FAQs: Menopause Symptoms – Q. I’ve been having headaches lately. Is this a symptom of menopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-menopause-symptoms Accessed: 20 July 2021
  10. Headaches: See A GP If. Page Last Reviewed: 09 February 2021. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/headaches/#when-to-get-medical-help Accessed: 20 July 2021

Topic Last Updated: 30 August 2021 – Topic Last Reviewed: 20 July 2021
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