Headaches are painful and often debilitating. In fact, headaches are responsible for approximately 112 million sick days in the U.S., showing just how much of an effect they can have on people. But, ladies, did you know that there is a reason you are getting more headaches than men? Even though both men and women are susceptible to headaches, studies show that women are more likely to get a headache, specifically around the time of their period. On top of dealing with the added stress of their periods, women are also vulnerable to headaches and migraines that could potentially cause them to stay home from work and not be able to hang out with friends.
Why the Headaches?
It all comes down to this: hormones. While you may not think about it, hormones play a big role in a woman’s everyday life. The two hormones at play are estrogen and progesterone, both of which are essential to the female reproductive system. Estrogen strengthens the uterine lining and progesterone sends signals to begin the shedding of the uterine lining (menstruation) if there is no pregnancy after ovulation. These hormones fluctuate on a monthly basis and even more so during pregnancy, lactation, and menopause. This constant shift in hormones can lead to some women getting headaches before menstruation.
But we’re here to help with some tips on how you can help alleviate headache pain.
What You Can Do
- Birth Control:
- Because hormone headaches are caused by the sudden drop or in-flux of estrogen and progesterone, it can be beneficial to find a way to keep your hormone levels a little more balanced. Taking birth control can be an excellent way to keep your hormones in a more consistent place. Everyone’s body is different and unique, so how your body reacts to birth control may not be how your friend reacts to it. But If you or your daughter is experiencing a lot of headaches during your time of the month, you may want to consider going on birth control to help alleviate some symptoms.
- Another way to alleviate headaches during your period is to remember to drink a lot of water. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, women should be drinking 1.5 to 2 liters of water every day. Water can help alleviate headaches and migraines, making it easier to function throughout your day. It is also wise to limit to your alcohol consumption, as certain chemicals found in alcohol may worsen headaches.
- Reduce Stress
- We know that most women try to work through their headaches, but stress, such as at work or maybe at home, will only exacerbate the pain caused by a headache. If you can, take a half day at work, or try some relaxation techniques. Yoga has long been used to help reduce stress and it might be worth trying out.
When to See Your Doctor
It’s important to see your doctor if you are experiencing frequent headaches, especially if they are close to the time of your period. Your doctor may be able to prescribe some preventative medication, such as triptans, which reduce pain through increasing serotonin levels. These medications will help your day-to-day without the worry of possibly getting a headache.
If you are unable to see your primary care doctor, feel free to stop in at one of our seven centers in the Hampton Roads area for any headaches that might be bothering you. Visit our locations page to see our hours of operation for all centers. No appointment is needed!