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Menopause and Headaches

During the mid-life phenomenon known as menopause, changes in headache type, duration and intensity are more common. Throbbing, explosive headaches can pain the sides of your head, and your energy become totally depleted. The slightest opening of an eye can cause a ripple of pain to burst on one side of your fragile head, leaving you in physical ruin. Menopause is known to heighten such uncomfortable, sometimes unbearable symptoms.

Menopause and headache changes, specifically, migraine headaches cause a repetitive stronger-than-normal headache that resides on one side of your head. During menopause, a woman's hormone system goes awry in part because estrogen is not being produced at normal rates.

Most women nearing the end of a menstrual lifecycle discover that their progesterone levels can become significantly decreased and cause symptoms such as headaches they never had before, or worsen ones they have.  During menopause, other things like foods such as cheese, avocado, nuts, meat tenderizers, and chocolate have been known to bring on a migraine.  Other factors a woman must look for are certain medications including oral contraceptives, changes in weather, fatigue, and alcoholic beverages.

During these headache changes, blood vessel walls in the brain widen and narrow quickly, causing pain nerves to overreact and stimulate pain. The ¨throbbing¨ feeling in the head is because of this bodily reaction.  During menopause, signals that a migraine is coming can be frequent.  

Some women get a warning; their eye sight may suddenly change, or bright spots or zig zag lines are seen. They report experiencing double vision, and in some cases temporary, partial blindness. Sometimes these changes may be followed by numbness and tingling of the lips, face hands, weakness of an arm or le

You need to pay attention to symptoms such as dizziness, extreme mental and physical fatigue, unsteadiness in walking, slight confusion of thinking and slight slurring of speech. Any of these can indicate the on-set of a migraine headache. The intensity of the headache can build until you have a full-force, throbbing headache that typically impacts one side of your head. There are also migraines that occur immediately.

These are quite common and women report that these headaches can last from a couple of hours to days in extreme cases.   In severe cases, migraines can cause vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and noise.

If you want a quick fix to migraine headaches, a technique that helps some women is breathing into a paper bag. Inhaling and exhaling out of a paper bag can restore carbon dioxide intake and eliminate or lessen the effects of brought on by anxiety attacks. Using an ice cold pack and sometimes applying heat to the area can help. 

Try staying in a darkened room and lying still as this can bring relief once a migraine has hit.  Lying down provides relaxation which is critical to lessening the pain. If you know yoga, this is a good time to practice it. Also, take slow, depth breaths into the abdomen letting your attention watch your naval rise and fall (which calms the mind).

Some women benefit from evening primrose oil, progesterone cream and dandelion tea to detoxify the liver. Of course there are some women with symptoms so severe they need drugs such as imitrex. That's where you need to follow your doctor's advice.

The information in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.


About the author: Cathy Taylor is a marketing consultant with over 25 years experience. She specializes in internet marketing, strategy and plan development, as well as management of communications and public relations programs for small business sectors. She can be reached at Creative Communications: creative-com@cox.net or by visiting www.everythingmenopause.com, www.howtoconquermenopause.com or www.internet-marketing-small-business.com

Author: Cathy Taylor