Hormonal changes in women are believed to be the most common cause for migraine attacks.
The national headaches foundation has estimated that more women get migraine attacks than men with a quarter of women suffering from migraines have more than 3 attacks a month.
The symptoms include nausea, chills, hot flashes, neck pain, diarrhea, dizziness, blocked and/or runny nose, confusion, constipation, blurry vision, dehydration, depression, anxiety, sweating, vertigo, etc. The symptoms vary from person to person and individuals may have different symptoms during different attacks.
Many of these symptoms are the result of low progesterone levels.
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What triggers Hormonal Migraines attack?
The actual cause of migraine is unknown, but it is usually triggered by stress, lack of food, too much alcohol, lack of sleep, weather and environment changes, or bright lights, etc. It is also believed that people who suffer from migraine headaches are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than those without. It is estimated that around 25 % migraine sufferers also have depression while around 50 – 60 % endure anxiety.
- The metabolite allopregnanolone found in Progesterone are potent anxiolytics. Migraines and insomnia are linked to each other, and it affects the frequency and the intensity of the attack. It can also be made worst in the presence of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
Migraine can be associated with the menstrual cycle, and migraine attacks are usually triggered by stress, hunger, fatigue…and estrogen.
One need to realise that estrogen is an excitatory, inflammatory hormone, making women more susceptible to migraines than men.
For many women, who are estrogen dominant, hormonal migraine attacks are most likely to occur on the days prior to the bleeding than during the ovulation phase.
The use of contraceptives can also trigger the painful headaches.
- Not surprisingly, pregnant women can be relieved from the migraine attacks due to the raised progesterone level during pregnancy
The hormone estrogen rises in a women’s body around 5 days before the ovulation begins. Thus approximately 50 hours before the ovulation.
Progesterone also rises 50 hours before the ovulation starts. This increase has nothing to do with ovulation itself, but the hormone is secreted by the brain.
If this progesterone surge does not take place during the ovulation phase, then oestrogen will become the dominant hormone which is likely to trigger hormonal migraines, asthma, panic attacks, heart palpitations, seizures, etc.
Progesterone will not rise in the case of an anovulatory cycle occurs, or if the corpus luteum fails to secrete sufficient progesterone. This condition is known as a defective luteal phase.
The secretion of natural progesterone is essential to counter the peak of estrogen otherwise the symptoms mentioned above can occur during a women’s luteal phase.
- Supplementation with Natural progesterone will help counteract anovulatory cycle or low progesterone levels.
- Vitamin D is also anti-inflammatory and analgesic which supports the action of progesterone. Those with low levels of vitamin D are also at risk of migraine attacks.
What progesterone dosage for hormonal migraines treatment:
- As a prevention, women should take 100 – 200 mg of progesterone per day. If the migraine or nausea has started, increase the dose to 400 – 500 mg per day. Once the headaches have diminished, the dose should be lowered slowly, over a number of weeks.Men should take 10 -100 mg of progesterone per day and increase when the symptoms of migraines start showing up. For those who have suffered from Traumatic Brain Injury or concussion, or PTSD a higher dose of progesterone is required.
- Vitamin D is also an important nutrient and required for cell functioning. An individual’s blood levels should be 70 – 100 ng/ml or 175 – 250nmol/L. the minimum daily requirement for vitamin D is 5000iu’s per day while latest research suggests that it should be increased to 10,000 IU’s per day.
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