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What are hormonal migraines?

The American Headache Society Committee reports that until puberty, boys and girls report the same rate of migraine. However, the numbers change significantly after puberty.

The big change in girls happens as their bodies begin to have fluctuations of estrogen, as they experience their menstrual cycles. Estrogen is thought to be the prime reason why women have more migraines than men.

Women often experience hormonal migraines during or before their periods, when estrogen levels decrease.
As many as 60 to 70 percent of females who experience migraines report their menstrual cycle is related to when they feel migraine pain.

Hormonally related migraine headaches include menstrual and menstrual related migraine headaches. Menstrual migraines occur almost exclusively during or right before the menses each month. They may last for several days and may be severe. Menstrual related migraines may also occur during the ovulation phase and as well as at other times during the month. They are triggered by the changes in levels of sex hormones, primarily estrogen. Oral contraceptives also may be responsible for worsening of migraine headaches in some case, especially migraine aura.

There is a link between migraine and hormones. In this video, Adel Olshansky, MD, a neurologist at West Hills Hospital, says that there is a specific kind of migraine that is particularly sensitive to hormonal fluctuation.

Mia Lundin
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

Very much so. Shifting levels of estrogen, causing drop of the neurotransmitter serotonin often cause cyclical headaches. Read more in my book: Female Brain Gone Insane.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.