The first step is understanding why you get migraines at all. As a woman, you’re already more susceptible to headaches, mainly due to shifts and imbalances in your hormone levels. Which, as we all know, is often tied to stress and its effects on your body.

So let’s look first at why the migraines strike at all, then some natural ways to prevent or treat the headaches that plague you.

Hormonal Headaches

Are migraine headaches more common in women than men?

Yes. About three out of four people who have migraines are women. Migraines are most common in women between the ages of 20 and 45. At this time of life women often have more job, family, and social duties. Women tend to report more painful and longer lasting headaches and more symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. All these factors make it hard for a woman to fulfill her roles at work and at home when migraine strikes.

I get migraines right before my period. Could they be related to my menstrual cycle?

More than half of migraines in women occur right before, during, or after a woman has her period. This often is called “menstrual migraine.” But, just a small fraction of women who have migraine around their period only have migraine at this time. Most have migraine headaches at other times of the month as well.

How the menstrual cycle and migraine are linked is still unclear. We know that just before the cycle begins, levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, go down sharply. This drop in hormones may trigger a migraine, because estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that affect a woman’s pain sensation.

Can stress cause migraines?

Yes. Stress can trigger both migraine and tension-type headache. Events like getting married, moving to a new home, or having a baby can cause stress. But studies show that everyday stresses — not major life changes — cause most headaches. Juggling many roles, such as being a mother and wife, having a career, and financial pressures, can be daily stresses for women.

Making time for yourself and finding healthy ways to deal with stress are important. Some things you can do to help prevent or reduce stress include:

  • Eating healthy foods
  • Being active (at least 30 minutes most days of the week is best)
  • Doing relaxation exercises

Getting enough sleep

Try to figure out what causes you to feel stressed. You may be able to cut out some of these stressors. For example, if driving to work is stressful, try taking the bus or subway. You can take this time to read or listen to music, rather than deal with traffic. For stressors you can’t avoid, keeping organized and doing as much as you can ahead of time will help you to feel in control.

– via womenshealth.gov

It’s easy to get discouraged by monthly fluctuations in your hormone levels and start to feel like your body is outside of your control. But it doesn’t have to always be so! There are some simple steps you can take to regain control, and in the area of hormonal headaches and migraines, below you’ll see a few great ideas to try.

Natural Remedies To Treat And Prevent Hormonal Migraines

Magnesium supplements

About 50% of women who suffer from migraines have magnesium deficiencies, says neurologist Alexander Mauskop, M.D., founder of the New York Headache Center, who conducted a series of studies on the subject in the late 1990s. He discovered that women taking magnesium supplements experienced significant relief.

Magnesium helps relax blood vessels that constrict during a migraine attack, Dr. Grosberg says.

For migraine prevention, doctors recommend a daily magnesium supplement dose of 400 mg. You can also eat more dark green vegetables, whole grains, beans, bananas and seafood.

Stress reduction

Stress happens when you’re juggling job, family and other responsibilities. Unfortunately, it may also be one of your migraine triggers.

Adopting stress-reducing lifestyle changes can ease symptoms of menstrual migraines, says Jennifer Milosavljevic, M.D., an OB-GYN with Henry Ford Women’s Health Services in Detroit.

Meditation, deep breathing, biofeedback, yoga, resistance exercises and tai chi can also lessen menstrual migraines, Dr. Isaacs says.

Several studies have found that aerobic exercise, in particular, may help manage migraines.

Besides reducing stress, exercise increases levels of endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers. It may also improve circulation to the brain, Dr. Isaacs says.

– via www.lifescript.com

Do you struggle with hormonal migraines? Have you found anything that helped in the past?