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The Link Between Hormones and Migraines in Women

Are you suffering from frequent migraines? Have you considered the possibility that their underlying cause may be hormonal? Read about the connection and how functional medicine addresses it. Click below to

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Migraines are three times more likely in women, and hormonal changes from pregnancy to hormone replacement therapy are common culprits. What is the link between hormones and migraines, and how can a functional medicine doctor help you find relief?

At Tri-Cities Functional Medicine, we search for the root cause of your migraines and provide treatment based on those underlying causes. If hormones are behind your pain and discomfort, we offer recommendations and treatments that help you get your hormones back into balance to promote brain health.

Would you like to know more about what hormones are and how they link your mind and body? Read more about the three types of hormones in our blog, What Are Hormones? Three Key Types Explained.

What Hormonal Changes Can Cause Migraines?

Women go through many hormonal changes that may cause migraines. In particular, a dropping estrogen level can cause cells in your brain to respond to headache triggers that might not affect you at other times. Your estrogen level tends to fluctuate at certain times in your life.

  • During your menstrual period.
  • During pregnancy
  • During perimenopause
  • During menopause

In addition to these natural changes, some medical treatments for women have the potential to cause migraines because they change your hormonal balance. For example, birth control pills change your hormone levels. After all, that’s their purpose. While this reduces headaches in some women, it exacerbates them in others. In the same way, hormone replacement therapy is meant to change your hormonal balance, and sometimes, it can set off migraines.

Finally, you can develop hormonal imbalances for other reasons, such as a poor diet, smoking, intense stress, sleep disorders, weather changes, and inflammation.

Wish you knew how to fix your hormonal imbalances? Read our blog, How Do You Fix Hormonal Imbalance? We Answer Your FAQs. Then, talk to a functional medicine doctor for individualized suggestions.

What Are the Symptoms of a Hormone-Related Migraine?

The symptoms of a migraine caused by a hormone imbalance can include headaches, joint pains, acne, lack of coordination, fatigue, and cravings. Talking to your functional medicine doctor about your migraine symptoms begins the process of finding the root cause. Your doctor will listen closely and ask you questions about your symptoms. At Tri-Cities Functional Medicine, we value you as an individual and seek to provide you with effective and compassionate care.

How Do Hormones Cause Migraines?

Low estrogen is often the culprit behind migraines in women, but how does it happen? What does the lower estrogen level do to your brain?

Estrogen doesn’t just work on your reproductive organs. It also controls chemicals in your brain that affect how you feel pain and how much pain you experience. When your estrogen drops, your sensitivity increases, and something that wouldn’t normally cause headaches will actually trigger a migraine.

Getting to the Root Cause

The first major task of functional medicine is to find the root cause of your migraines. We do this in several ways.

First, we discuss your medical history and determine if you are vulnerable to hormonal migraines. We ask questions about noticeable hormone-related changes you are experiencing right now and around the time of the worst migraines.

We take lab tests to discover any hormone imbalances you may not be aware of. With these tests, we can see a snapshot of your hormonal health. This highly specific information can help us identify problems that aren’t immediately obvious.

Another technique we might use is asking you to chart your migraines, including when they happened and their intensity, duration, and frequency. We also request that you chart any obvious hormonal changes, such as when your period happened. Also, we suggest you keep notes on your diet, emotional health, and sleep patterns. By comparing all this data, we can determine how closely-related your hormones and migraines are.

Treatments for Hormones and Migraines

Treatments for hormones and migraines infographic

Functional medicine has the most common-sense solution to treating hormone imbalances that trigger migraines. Rather than treating your symptoms with drugs, we find the root cause and treat that. We consider any factors that could contribute to your hormonal imbalance and include remedies for them in your treatment plan. Here are a few examples.

Dietary Issues

Many dietary choices can affect your hormone levels. If you’re skipping meals, we suggest a steady diet of healthy foods taken at regular times. We may also ask you to cut certain foods out of your diet. Depending on your unique problems, we may ask you to refrain from eating any of the following:

  • Processed meats
  • MSG
  • Aged cheeses
  • Soy products
  • Smoked sausages
  • Smoked fish
  • Artificial sweeteners

Besides avoiding these foods, we can help you develop better eating habits, such as choosing healthy food, staying hydrated, and eating on a schedule. In addition, supplements may be beneficial in helping you restore good hormonal balance. We will give you recommendations based on your unique physical condition.

Sleep Problems

Sleeping too much or too little causes many health problems, and hormone imbalances are among them. If you are not sleeping enough, we can examine the reasons why and address them. If you are sleeping too much, we determine why and provide solutions. Whether you need to practice better sleep habits or have an underlying physical or emotional problem, we address it appropriately.

Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine can have a strong impact on your hormones. Alcohol, especially red wine, can trigger migraines. Drinking too much caffeine or suddenly stopping caffeine can both trigger migraines. Ideally, you could stop drinking caffeinated beverages and alcohol. If you continue, drinking less alcohol or consuming a steady amount of caffeine may help you avoid migraines.

Exercise Regimens

Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body and more balanced hormones. We can recommend exercise regimens to help your body perform better. Walking in nature is a good form of exercise. It not only gets you moving, but exposure to a natural setting reduces stress that can also trigger migraines.

Stress Reduction

Reducing stress can have a powerful effect, reducing or eliminating migraine pain. Getting enough sleep, avoiding too much alcohol and caffeine, exercising regularly, and eating the right amount of healthy foods can all reduce your stress. Meditation can also be a calming activity.

Want to reduce your stress? Read our blog, 12 Practical Steps You Can Take to Relieve Stress Right Now

All of these treatment options can influence your hormone balance. If hormone imbalance is the root cause of your migraines, adding these treatments can get them back in balance and reduce pain.  Your specific combination of treatments will depend on several factors, which your functional medicine doctor will consider when devising your treatment plan. Your treatment is customized to you as an individual.

Partner with Tri-Cities Functional Medicine for Help with Hormones and Migraines!

Are migraines disrupting your life? The Tri-Cities Functional Medicine team is here in Tennessee to help! Rather than dismissing your pain, we examine and analyze it to determine its cause. We are your partners in achieving a healthier, more pain-free life. Together, we address your health issues through various treatments based on your unique health condition, circumstances, and current lifestyle.

As the head of Tri-Cities Functional Medicine, Dr. Joseph Radawi leads our team in providing friendly, caring, and clinically sound treatments. If other doctors have dismissed your pain or failed to provide effective treatments, come to a place where you can be a partner in your own health and get the treatment you deserve!

Here’s how you can take the first step toward better health:

  • After your discovery call – if we are a good fit, you’ll schedule a consultation with our doctor to dive deeper and formulate an individualized treatment plan for you.

Tri-Cities Functional Medicine is located in Johnson City, Tennessee, and serves patients throughout Tennessee and into Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Kentucky. These areas include but are not limited to: Washington County, TN, Sullivan County, TN, Carter County, TN, Greene County, TN, Knox County, TN, Bristol, TN, Holston Valley, TN, Tri-Cities, TN, Walnut Hill, TN, Elizabethton, TN, Greeneville, TN, Morristown, TN, Blountville, TN, Bluff City, TN, Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN, Colonial Heights, TN, Limestone, TN, Knoxville, TN, Bristol, VA, Abingdon, VA, Grundy, VA, Asheville, NC, Boone, NC.