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Headaches in Women and their Hormones

October 15, 2018

Headaches in women are incredibly common, just as in men – but certain factors make certain types peculiar to women.

In this article, let’s look at why you may be more at risk of headaches and, really – can you blame your hormones for the cause?

Lady with hands folded in front of her face

Headaches in women can sometimes happen around the menstrual periods, and identifying this relationship can help some treatments.

Hormones are linked to several headaches

Here’s an interesting statement from NHS Choices:

“Most headaches in women are caused by hormones. At least 5 million women experience hormone headaches each month, say researchers.”

When treating a woman who has been suffering from headaches, it’s good to explore their periods.

Looking at the cycle, its frequency or irregularity can help as the cause of the headache may be associated with their menstrual pattern.

What hormones do…

Observations of women who suffer from headaches associated with their menstrual pattern (Hormone Headaches) indicate the following:

  • 50% of women who suffer from Migraines say that there is a link  between the headaches and their periods
  • Migraine is likely to develop in the first 2 days before a period starts or during the first 3 days of the period.
  • The combined contraceptive pill has an effect on headaches.
    • In a few women, it may improve headaches; however, many other women experience more frequent attacks of headaches – especially in the pill-free week (which is when the Oestrogen levels drop).
  • Women who suffer from Migraines say it tends to get worse as they approach the Menopause.
    • Again this is because of dropping levels of Oestrogen –  AND – the erratic hormone pattern that happens as menopause approaches.
  • When a woman is pregnant, she can experience particularly bad headaches in the first few weeks that are most likely a result of hormone changes.
    • This could be worse if she does not drink enough water to keep her well hydrated.

Other Headaches do still happen…

All this is not to say that women cannot or do not suffer from other causes of Headaches.

These include:

  • Tension headache
  • Cluster headache
  • Chronic daily headaches
  • or the other secondary causes of headaches.

Certainly, it is important when treating headaches in women to recognise non-hormone headaches.

Additionally, abnormal hormones can have an impact on Migraines or other types of headaches they may suffer.

For Treating women’s Hormone headaches, what options are there?

Self-help tips to combat or minimise the severity of headaches include:

In addition, there are some specific treatments that may help:

  • HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) in menopausal ladies,
  • Continuous COC (Combined Oral Contraceptive) pills in women who can use these or
  • Antimigraine medications etc.

And lastly…

The topic is not exhaustive; hopefully, the information relayed here may be useful to you.

Contact us directly here if you need any more advice specific to your needs.

We are always happy to hear comments, so please drop a line below, and see you again in our next post!

More Reading:

Editing by AskAwayHealth Team


All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on a wide range of healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality healthcare. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner. To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly

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Our educational content meets the standards set by the NHS in their Standard for Creating Health Content guidance.

Askawayhealth aims to deliver reliable and evidence based women's health, family health and sexual health information in a way that is easily relatable and easy for everyone to access.

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