Hormonal imbalances might contribute to the painful and potentially debilitating migraine condition. Fortunately, there are several counter measures that could be helpful.
Migraines are severe headaches that typically produce a serious pounding, pulsing or throbbing discomfort on one side of a person’s head. In addition to significant pain, the condition can be accompanied by other untoward physical manifestations such as sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting. Moreover, migraine attacks are usually not short-lived. In most cases, they last several hours. However, for certain people, they can last for many hours or possibly days.
Hormones play a vital role in helping almost every bodily system carry out pertinent life functions. That said, reproductive hormones are particularly susceptible to changes in systemic concentrations.
This can happen for a variety of reasons:
- Age – As men and women age, their internal levels of major reproductive hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone gradually decrease. In women, a naturally occurring life stage known as menopause precipitates the eventual cessation of reproductive-hormone production.
- Stress – Individuals exposed to excessive or chronic stress levels experience an increased production and systemic secretion of “stress hormones.” These substances can wreak havoc on bodily systems and deplete concentrations of other important hormones, most notably reproductive chemicals.
- Environmental Factors – Hormones are often additives to many of the foods people commonly consume. Over time, ingestion of these products can alter one’s body chemistry.
- Various Illnesses – Any number of illnesses can precipitate hormonal imbalances. Typically, these conditions impact the glands and organs comprising the endocrine system, which is responsible for producing hormones. However, diseases of other major organs could elicit hormonal changes as well.
Correlation Between Migraine and Hormonal Alterations
Hormonal imbalances are believed to trigger many symptoms, especially headaches, for a variety of reasons:
- Diminished Estrogen – Researchers opine that gradual systemic depletion of estrogen bears a significant link to the development of migraines. Thus, women in the menopausal or post-menopausal stages stand at an increased risk.
- Food Craving – Scientists suggest that hormonal fluctuations often precipitate food cravings. Typically, these desires are for products containing higher salt and sugar contents. Both chemicals have been known to trigger migraine attacks.
- Insomnia – Sleep loss is among the most common manifestations associated with hormonal imbalances. A repeated lack of rest can weaken the immune system, leaving the body susceptible to many untoward occurrences, particularly migraines.
- Anxiety – As previously mentioned, chronic stress often precipitates the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. As systemic concentrations of these substances increase, bothersome, even debilitating manifestations like migraines can set in.
Circumventing the Problem
Hormonal fluctuations will be inevitable for most people at one time or another. Medical researchers caution that hormonal changes do not guarantee the development of migraines. Nonetheless, attempting to maintain as equal a balance as possible could prevent the painful and potentially disabling condition.
Hormonal balance might be maintained by practicing the following natural and, if need be, medical actions:
- Exercise – Physical activity strengthens the muscles and bones and provides a productive, safe outlet to alleviate stress. Additionally, regular exercise helps the body maintain hormonal balance.
- Consume a Balanced Diet – A hormone-friendly diet will include foods rife with nutrients such as healthy fats, proteins and omega-3 fatty acid and a limited intake of products containing elevated quantities of unhealthy fats, sugar, salt and refined carbohydrates.
- Alleviate Stress – Extended durations of excessive tension and anxiety will ultimately lead to a body rife with stress hormones. Thus, identifying a relaxing hobby or partaking in breathing exercises might provide a worthy outlet for such negative feelings. That said, habits like cigarette smoking or excessive alcohol ingestion should be avoided because these activities have a negative effect on systemic hormone concentrations.
- Obtain Adequate Rest – Obtaining anywhere from seven to nine hours of restful sleep per night is necessary to keep the body relaxed and healthy. Moreover, this respite is integral to preventing increased systemic secretion and release of stress hormones.
- Medications – If hormonal imbalance be caused by some type of medical condition, medications employed to treat those ailments might stabilize hormonal levels.
- Hormone-Replacement Therapy – Individuals with significantly diminished hormonal levels might choose to undergo replacement therapy. Though relatively effective, this remedial protocol also comes with certain associated health risks. Therefore, such therapy should be employed only after close consultation with a healthcare professional and continued medical monitoring.