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  Category: Articles » Health & Fitness » Women's Health » Article

Menopause and Headaches

By Cathy Taylor

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

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 writes frequently on mid-life issues for women and men particularly menopause, and a copy of her book can be found at
To read a sample of this book go to

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  Some other articles by Cathy Taylor
Menopause and Gastrointestinal Distress
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Insomnia is a very common symptom reported by numerous women at the onset of menopause. It is characterized by sleepless nights and often uncomfortable sleep such as tossing and turning in an effort ...

Menopause and Hair Loss
The onset of menopause can often lead to hair loss and has long been a part of aging that many women fear the most. These days many more women ...

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