Menopause has its unique issues, and one of them is a menopause migraine. That’s a bad headache that pulses painfully. It’s recognizable as such because it’s frequently felt on only one side of the head and in combination with other things like nausea and severe sensitivity to light and sound.
Almost ten percent of Americans have periodic migraine headaches lasting from several hours to several days. The longer they last, the more suffering a person goes through and the more side effects are likely to occur. Women complain of them more than men, but even young people and children can be prone to migraines.
Menopause Headaches And Migraines
Menopause migraines are a particularly sad surprise if a woman has never had such headaches before. Why they begin is something of a mystery. It used to be thought that blood vessels were dilating at this time of life. Now no one is quite sure and there’s speculation about hereditary factors and about the interaction of such chemicals as seratonin with the nerves. Much research is still being done.
There are in effect two types of migraines. The first starts with an “aura.” Now this may sound pleasant and mysterious when talking about the energy fields of the body, but it’s not in this case. Here it refers to the visual problems a person will undergo just before the migraine hits. She might see lights or lose vision or have hallucinations. If there are none of these visual signs, then the person is suffering from the second of two types of menopause migraines.
Those who are prone to menopause migraines must work out a pretty clear balancing act. They can’t lose too much sleep, but they can’t sleep too much, either. They can’t overeat certain foods, such as cheese, but they can’t get too hungry, either. Exercise is often good, but too much exercise isn’t and can trigger something. Stress must be avoided as much as possible. These people must be vigilant in knowing their body’s needs and in taking care to meet these needs or there may be a sudden onset of pain and the other associated symptoms. Keeping a journal of what activities preceded a migraine can help the person see a pattern and avoid certain behaviors or combinations of behaviors that could be triggers.
Since roughly 17 percent of women have these, as opposed to 6 percent of men, it’s presumed that hormones play a big part throughout the life of women and certainly with menopausal migraines. The ebb and flow of estrogen that happens when a woman takes contraceptive pills or when she is pregnant or when she enters menopause does seem to have something to do with these occurrences. Thank goodness there’s a lot of research being done on menopause migraines these days, as women’s health issues have taken the forefront.
Still, there’s no overall consensus on what helps a particular person. Sometimes over the counter drugs will do the job and just taking acetaminophen is the way to go, but if the migraines are particularly frequent or horribly painful, it’s best to go to the doctor and have a medication prescribed. No one should rest until various methods of relief have been tried and the right one for that person is found.