Hormonal headaches and migraines occur when they are linked directly to menstruation. They occur around the onset of menstruation, or just prior, and usually last for 3-5 days. Hormonal headaches/migraines can be purely hormonal, meaning that they only occur around menstruation and/or ovulation, or they can be menstrually related, meaning that you will experience a spike in symptoms around menstruation however can experience symptoms at other times during the month.
Other symptoms of hormonal headaches/migraines can include:
- Joint aches
- Loss of appetite
- Cravings for salt or chocolate
Hormonal headaches and migraines are triggered due to fluctuations in hormone levels. During the menstrual cycle progresterone and estrogen fall to their lowest level just before menstruation. During pregnancy estrogen levels rise. During perimenopause hormone levels are constantly in flux and in menopause the hormone levels decrease.
Due to the hormonal changes during pregnancy, if you suffer with hormonal headaches/migraines one of 3 things will occur. The headaches/migraines will either improve, worsen or stay the same. After pregnancy however, your symptoms will often resort back to their original pattern.
Those that have a strong hormonal pattern to their headaches/migraines often find that menopause significantly improves their symptoms (2/3 of people report a reduction in symptoms).