Headaches are more common around peri/menopause and, just to clarify hotties, we’re not talking about the ones some of us/you might fake in order to get out of having sex! We’re actually talking about hormonal headaches, the ones that are brought on by our ever-fluctuating, pain in the arse, all over the place and forever-causing-mayhem, hormones.
Over 50% of women who report headaches say they more often than not coincide with their periods, producing crippling menstrual migraines. For some lucky women, these headaches can subside when they get to the menopause stage, however, for the unfortunate ones, the hormone disruption and imbalance can make them much more erratic and severe, especially with the withdrawal of oestrogen.
There are many different kinds of headaches that can affect you during peri/menopause, but the two most common are:
Migraines: The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache on one side of the head. Other symptoms commonly associated with a migraine include nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light and/or sound, which is why many people seek the comfort of a quiet, dark room.
Tension headaches: Signs and symptoms of a tension headache include a dull, aching head pain with a sensation of tightness or pressure across the forehead, or on both sides and the back of the head. Tenderness around the scalp, neck and shoulder muscles.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty and see what wonderful headachey delights await us hotties, because sometimes it is possible that you don’t realise that what you are experiencing and feeling is actually a headache, and not that you’re Harry Potter in close proximity to Lord Voldermort!
- Pulsing in your head
- Strange head sensations
- The feeling that there is a tight band around your head
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Neck pain
So how can we help alleviate the peri/menopausal headaches?
Try keeping a headache diary including dates, times, symptoms and possible triggers, which might include food, drink and activities. This will help both you and your GP to identify any patterns, especially if your headaches are linked to your menstrual cycle.
Talk to your GP as headaches can be caused by a number of different conditions and many of them can be treated effectively once they have been correctly diagnosed. Your GP will also know what other treatments work best alongside any HRT you may be taking.
Now to the boring, yet essential, stuff which we know you dislike, however, a healthy lifestyle is always a winner, so put on your big girl pants and suck it up buttercup!
Often, the main cause of a headache can be something as basic as dehydration. So this is your cue to drink more hotties. No, don’t get excited, alcofrolic drinks don’t count on this one!
Try reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake - stay hydrated - your head/brain will love you for it - water is the elixir of life! Eat the rainbow - you are what you eat. And if you are constantly scoffing crap, then our dear darling hottie, you’re going to feel like crap. Little Miss bossy boots pep talk over!
Exercise, ideally in the fresh air, and get plenty of restful sleep. Resting is not laziness - it’s medicine, especially for us hotties, giving our minds and bodies time to rest and replenish.
An ice pack or cold compress on the back of the neck or the forehead can help soothe both migraines and headaches. You can also find little gel packs to stick on your forehead or neck at your local pharmacy or supermarket - they provide cooling relief to migraines and headaches.
You can also top up your magnesium intake, as studies have shown that magnesium can sometimes be of real benefit to migraines. Tho if you’d rather boost levels via your diet, you might want to try these magnesium-rich foods:
- Nuts & seeds
- Leafy greens
- Legumes & grains
- Oily fish
- Dark chocolate
Most importantly, try to relax. Easier said than done tho when your body and mind are going through so many changes that sometimes you wonder who you are and what the hell is happening to you!
You could try yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture, reiki, crystal or spiritual healing.
Take a walk in nature, along the seashore, by the lake, in the forest, or a local park.
Listen to calming music to help you switch off. You might want to dip in to this playlist to help you relax, unwind, prevent and calm those pesky headaches.
Bathe The Senses - Stuart Jones
Cavatina (Theme from Deer Hunter) - Mason Wilson
Chevaliers De Sangreal (The Da Vinci Code) - `Hans Zimmer
Everybody Hurts (arr.M.Townend) - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Float Away - Stuart Jones
Flying Without Wings (arr.M.Freeman) - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
I’m Forrest…Forrest Gump - Alan Silvestri
Imagine - (arr.M.Freeman) - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Right Here Waiting - Relaxation Guitar Maestro
Wind Beneath My Wings (arr.D.Arnold) - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
**N.B. if you are in any doubt about head pain you are experiencing, please seek medical attention/contact your GP for further advice**