Headaches and Periods: Is there a connection?
There’s a throbbing, lingering pain circulating around your head, stopping you from thinking straight but making you wonder how this could be happening. You stay hydrated, make healthier food and diet choices each day, do pilates, took a step back from late nights and partying, and rarely drink alcohol. Well, for many even with the right lifestyle choices headaches are just a part of their monthly cycle. The connection between headaches and hormonal changes during menstruation has been studied for quite a while, giving some clarity to the topic.
Is my period giving me a hormonal headache?
Menstrual-related headaches (MRH) is a classification for headaches that occur in those who have a cycle and occur at the time when estrogen declines. They’re also known as hormone headaches, hormonal headaches, or menstrual migraines. They typically occur in a set timeframe: from two days before bleeding begins to three days into bleeding. MRH can also occur during perimenopause and menopause due to fluctuations and changes in our hormones during that time in our life. Women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men, a disparity thought to be directly linked to hormone fluctuation during the menstrual cycle and menopause.
Are period headaches normal?
We are not here to normalize pain. While hormone changes during our cycles are a monthly occurrence, the painful side effects that include hormonal headaches are related to the level and intensity of hormonal changes, not the simple fact that a change occurs. Bigger fluctuations in hormone levels are associated with these pains.
Of course, there are other factors that can be taken into account, outside of just your personal cycle. Doctors often look to family history to see if there is a genetic component to this pain. Medications, including birth control, can have side effects that include headaches—although it should be known that hormonal birth control is sometimes prescribed as a method to mitigate period headaches, since they help regulate hormone levels and fluctuations. Lifestyle has an effect as well. Daily hydration, sugar intake, stress, sleep issues, and exercise all have a relationship with hormonal balance and in supporting our bodies’ ability to self-regulate.
Related to: Menopause & CBD
How do we deal with Menstrual Migraines
Some doctors will advise us to take medications, start hormonal treatments, or suggest living an even more balanced and therapeutic lifestyle. For most, grabbing over-the-counter medications is the often too common way for one to find “ease” when they feel period-related ailments such as headaches coming on, and others just dealing with it! Nothing against NSAIDs, because they often do work, but not everyone wants to turn to pills for their symptoms. What’s more, they don’t work for everyone. Whether you decide to take OTC or prescribed drugs for your menstrual migraines, you could supplement your routine with another method that has been used to millennia: Plant medicine.
For thousands and thousands of years, cultures from around the world have used herbs to cure troublesome ailments, fight infections and disease, relieve stress and anxiety, and balance our bodies. There are many herbal remedies that can be used to help regulate our hormones and ease the onset of headaches.
We put together a list of our favorite botanical herbs that may be used along our menstrual cycles to provide balance, relief, and ease those bothersome headaches.
Curcumin and turmeric root are the popular duo that many could benefit from understanding and using more of. Turmeric contains curcumin, shown to be powerful anti-inflammatory, non-toxic, and having little to no side effects. Studies have shown that when taken as a supplement this herb may help ease headaches and migraines, and assists in relieving pain.
Burdock root supports liver function to clean blood and balance hormone levels. Having healthy liver function is essential for keeping the feedback loops that inform hormone production to stay balanced and consistent.
While all of the above herbs can be enjoyed as teas and cooked into food, two great ways to consume medicinal plants in general, we’ve taken it a step further to make consumption super simple. Our Happy Hormones formula contains all of the above herbs and more, specifically crafted by our herbalists and researchers to balance hormones associated with menstrual cycles. It’s dosed out to take on a daily basis, all month long. Correct dosage and usage herbal remedies for menstruation are safe and have little to no side effects, while working internally to help you find the hormonal balance and relief you need and not just cover it up. Don’t forget a balanced diet, regular exercise and breathing techniques contribute to your bodies’ happiness and may provide better overall results when taking natural supplements.
Moy G, Gupta V. Menstrual-Related Headache. [Updated 2022 Oct 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557451/
Akbarzadeh M, Dehghani M, Moshfeghy Z, Emamghoreishi M, Tavakoli P, Zare N. Effect of Melissa officinalis Capsule on the Intensity of Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms in High School Girl Students. Nurs Midwifery Stud. 2015 Jun;4(2):e27001. doi: 10.17795/nmsjournal27001. Epub 2015 Jun 27. PMID: 26339667; PMCID: PMC4557408.
Matthew C. Fadus, Cecilia Lau, Jai Bikhchandani, Henry T. Lynch, Curcumin: An age-old anti-inflammatory and anti-neoplastic agent, Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, Volume 7, Issue 3, 2017, Pages 339-346, ISSN 2225 4110, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.08.002.