If you suffer from migraines, you’ve probably tried everything to find the root cause and a solution to your pain. Unfortunately, migraines are as complex as they are common. There are countless possible triggers that range from certain foods to stress to structural issues and beyond.
One of the most elusive triggers is hormone imbalance, especially in women with PCOS and endometriosis. Thankfully, there are ways to improve your hormone balance and restore your body’s health. Read on to explore how hormone imbalance may be contributing to your migraine headaches - and what you can do about it to find relief and stop your headaches from the root!
Why Hormone Imbalance Can Trigger Migraines
Migraines are a debilitating condition that affects over 39 million people in the United States alone. Along with the classic migraine headache, migraines also come with whole-body pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light or sound, an aversion to food or smells.
Migraines tend to be more common in women, likely because of regular hormone fluctuations through the menstrual cycle. For those who have significant hormone imbalances - such as PCOS or endometriosis - these fluctuations are more severe and lead to issues like headaches and migraines.
Hormone imbalances can vary widely, but one of the most common imbalances is called “estrogen dominance.” Estrogen dominance occurs when there is too much estrogen in your system. Either your body makes too much, doesn’t eliminate it properly, or your other hormones are out of sync, allowing estrogen to rise. Both excess estrogen and a drop in estrogen can cause migraines.
Causes of Hormonal Headaches
Levels of estrogen and progesterone drop at the end of the menstruation cycle, just before the period starts. This sudden drop can trigger a migraine.
Oral Contraceptives (birth control pills)
While birth control pills can help with some symptoms related to hormone imbalance, some women experience an increase or change in their headaches while on the pill.
Pregnancy causes a drastic change in a woman’s hormone levels. Estrogen and progesterone both rise, which can actually be a good thing for many women! These higher hormone levels can reduce migraines and headaches. But for others, this hormone shift leads to increased headaches, especially in the first trimester.
After the baby is delivered, hormones fall back to pre-pregnancy levels. For some, this drop can reactivate migraines.
Just as in puberty, perimenopause and menopause mark another drastic shift in a woman’s hormone levels. Estrogen declines can leave some women with more frequent headaches and migraines.
Migraines are a common symptom of hormone-related conditions like estrogen dominance, PCOS, and endometriosis.
PCOS and Migraines
PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a condition that affects up to 5 million American women. It is a reproductive disorder that causes irregular periods, missed ovulation, infertility, ovarian cysts, weight gain, excessive hair growth, depression, acne, and other issues. PCOS is caused by hormone imbalance and insulin resistance. Testosterone rises and throws off the body’s delicate hormone balance, thus preventing regular ovulation.
Migraines are not an official symptom of PCOS, but endless comments from patients, forums and message boards show that many women managing PCOS often also have migraines. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why this connection exists, but there is one thing they tend to agree on: the root lies in hormone imbalance.
Endometriosis and Migraines
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue from the lining of the uterus, called endometrium, grows outside of the uterus. The endometrial cells then act as they would inside the uterus, swelling and bleeding through the menstrual cycle. This growth causes inflammation and pain in areas like ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other pelvic organs. The most common symptoms are cramping, heavy bleeding, digestive upset, and abdominal or back pain.
Unlike PCOS, there is more research available that links endometriosis to migraines. In fact, studies show that women who have endometriosis are more likely to also suffer from migraines. Those with both endometriosis and migraines tend to experience more menstrual pain than those without migraines.
The connection, of course, comes back to hormone imbalance. Researchers believe that the excess hormones that cause endometriosis could also play a role in triggering migraines. Other similarities, like genetic susceptibility, increased sensitivity to pain, or early menarche (the age of your first period), are also similarities that connect endometriosis and migraines.
How to Balance Your Hormones to Reduce Migraines
Understanding the root cause of your migraines is essential if you want long-lasting relief. If you have been diagnosed with PCOS or endometriosis, or have had issues with hormone balance in the past, getting your hormones in check is the first step to a pain-free life.
Here are three natural ways you can improve your hormone balance and fight migraines from the root!
#1 - Embrace a healthy hormone diet
A poor diet can easily throw your hormone balance off. The good news? A healthy diet can put your hormones back on track.
Avoid foods like red meat, soy, dairy, sugar, and processed foods. They tend to throw the hormones out of whack and can trigger migraines. Instead, opt for foods that support a healthy hormone balance, like these:
- A wide range of fruits and vegetables
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, bok choy)
- Healthy fats (avocado, olive oil)
- Whole grains and fiber (quinoa, buckwheat)
- Lean and high-quality protein (salmon, grass-fed beef)
- Legumes and beans (lentils, chickpeas)
#2 - Keep stress under control
Stress and headaches go hand in hand. But did you know that stress can also cause your hormones to fall out of balance and make migraines worse? Stress hormones like cortisol interfere with the proper balance of sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Plus, stress can increase issues like insulin resistance to throw the body’s balance off even further.
Practicing stress relief each day is one of the best defenses against hormone-related headaches. Try mild exercises like yoga or walking to shake off the day’s stressors. Then, practice a few minutes of meditation each night or whenever you feel stress creeping in. For added support, take Dr. Danielle’s Stress Lift daily. This natural blend of herbs and adaptogens boosts your adrenal function and helps your body become more resilient to stress.
#3 - Fight Migraines Faster with Dr. Danielle’s Migraine Assist
If you suffer from migraines, you know that relief can never come fast enough. With Migraine Assist, you can reduce your migraine frequency and intensity with natural ingredients like Butterbur and Feverfew, which are proven to help migraines. Migraine Assist can help to calm symptoms of migraines during an attack and help to prevent migraines in the future.
Migraine Assist Key Players
Vitamin C: Reduces inflammation that causes migraines.
B-Vitamins: Reduces frequency and duration of migraines.
Copper: Prevents anemia and low blood oxygen, a common cause of migraines.
Butterbur extract: An effective natural remedy for migraines.
Magnesium: Reduces the severity of migraines and relieves pain.
Feverfew Extract: Reduces migraine tension and muscle spasms.
Quercetin: Reduces inflammation that causes headaches.
Coenzyme Q10: Reduces frequency and severity of migraines.
Ginger Root Extract: Alleviates nausea and vomiting during migraine attacks.
Give Your Body the Best Chance at Balance
Migraines can be difficult to treat, but you can improve your chances of a migraine-free future when you prioritize hormone balance. With a healthy diet, stress relief, exercise, and powerful supporting supplements, you can improve your hormone health and keep migraines at bay.
Don’t lose another day to migraine pain. Dr. Danielle and Migraine Assist are here to help you take back your balance!