Hormonal Headaches??

lydia1959February 1, 2005

I've been having headaches (maybe migraines) that can last up to a month at a time. I just started seeing a endocrinologist about the problem. He hasn't checked my female hormones yet, since the regular blood test showed high liver levels because I was taking LOTS of Tylenol. I quit the Tylenol, the liver tests came back fine and no headaches for an entire month. He assumed all my problems were from the Tylenol, but the day after my appointment - the headache is back. It seems to start about 2 days before my period and goes until I start having the killer menstrual cramps (usually 2 weeks before my period). I am 45, periods sometimes skip a month or I have 2 per month.

Anybody else suffer from these headaches? Anything help to alleviate them? Why am I affected 1 month, but not the next?

I have uterine cysts too (1 as large as a golf ball), but was told they don't cause any problems (I don't have any excess bleeding). So we are just watching it for now. TIA

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I generally get a headache the day before or the day that I start. Usually the only thing that works for me is a sinus pill. Never lasts as long as yours. Tylenol, aspirin, none of that worked for me. Yes, I do believe it is hormonal.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 7:23PM
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I've had tons of migraines during perimenopause. In fact, for a year and a half, I had them every day! Then, maybe like you, I got into having rebound headaches from all the pain med I was taking. Some of us are just lucky, I guess, and develop these hormonal headaches!
I'm thinking you should be seeing a headache specialist (neuro doc, who is a headache specialist), rather than an endocrinologist. But if he can't find anything wrong, you might try the neuro doc. My headaches were usually a week before my period and a week or 2 afterwards. Now, I'm almost through menopause, and still get them occasionally. But.......what finally saved me was being put on a beta blocker for my high BP. Many people are put on them for headaches. About a week after I was put on Toprol LX, my headaches were GONE. It was like a miracle for me.
I recently went down on the Toprol, because it was making me very dumb. I'm not as dumb now........but I'm getting some of the headaches back.
One thing that works for some women is to start taking an NSAID a couple days before your period is supposed to start, and take it for a few days afterwards.
Just be careful not to take a medication that has a very high rebound potential (like Fiorinal). Good luck, and feel free to ask me more questions. I can so empathize with you!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 8:29PM
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My headaches are ABSOLUTELY hormone related. You'll find an amazingly slim bit of information about hormonal headaches out there, considering how many women get them. Mine are absolutely tied to my menstrual cycle. Not much I can offer you as advice for fixing them, I use Anaprox right before and during my period to prevent bad menstrual cramps, which has lessened the headaches somewhat, since there are prostglandins released during your period that can contribute to cramps and headaches. But I still get a headache as a result of rapidly shifting hormones, either up or down, so I'm sure they'll get worse with menopause. I use painkillers judiciously and correctly (before the pain gets really bad) and when things get really bad, I snort Imitrex. A good book to get on the subject is "Screaming to Be Heard" which is about how hormones can affect women's health and how little the hormone connection is acknowledged by most doctors, (probably because they don't have many effective treatments). There's a whole chapter on hormonal headaches and menopause and the treatment of hormonal headaches. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 5:34PM
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I notice the day before my period, I get what I call a "crying headache", because it hurts so much, I want to go in a corner and cry.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 8:10AM
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You're right about docs not making the hormone/headache connection. I even went to a reproductive specialist, who supposedly deals with all sorts of hormone problems, and when I told her I was having uncontrollable migraine headaches associated with my hormones, she looked at me like she'd never heard of that before!! She had nothing to offer me. I just couldn't believe it!!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2005 at 11:16PM
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An update from me ~ the endocrinologist put me on a very low dose of Prozac (10 mg.) for the headaches and PMS. The truth is I didn't have a headache as long as I took the Prozac, but I didn't like the insomnia and the 'depressed' blah feeling it gave me, so I tapered off for a week, then quit 2 days ago. I've had a headache off and on since stopping the Prozac.

Might be something to look into if you can tolerate the Prozac. It obviously does help a lot of women with these headaches. It just wasn't worth the side effects for me.

I just got the book "Screaming to be Heard" suggested by 1pinkmountain. I'm finding it very interesting reading. I go back to the endo next month and will see if he has any other ideas. He did run a hormonal blood tests, but since I didn't get a phone call, I'm guessing nothing was too far from normal.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2005 at 11:39PM
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I am menopausal and never had headaches until menopause started. Mine are relieved with estrogen. I am on a higher then I wanta be dose, but cannot tolerate these headaches they term "vaso-motor". They are incapacitating. I don't know what I will do when I have to taper off the estrogen.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 11:22AM
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Hi byrdlady,
I was "addicted" to HRT, and would get so sick and get horrible headaches if I tried to come off it. Can you try to wean yourself off very slowly, and take something like Exedrine to get you through? How about a beta blocker? I'm on Toprol for high BP, but discovered that it took care of my migraines too. I think it allowed me to come off my HRT. But now I think I need the Toprol to keep from getting the headaches.......although I am on a lower dose. Weaning off HRT should take awhile. I was on a patch, and I took 3 months to slowly cut it down. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 8:53PM
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Natural progesterone cream has worked wonders for me and my hormonal headaches. A very good website with information if www.johnleemd.com Dr. Lee also had a great book "What your doctor may not tell you about Menopause" It goes into detail about hormones, pros and cons of estrogen and that decrease of progesterone after age of 35 contributes to many problems. I didn't check with my local library, just ordered it from Amazon.com. My DD had a copy loaned to her by a friend and I had started reading it and found it so interesting I bought one for me and one for her so she could return the borrowed one.
I am a retired RN and wish I had had this book when I was counseling patients with problems. Try it you will like it!
Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 7:54PM
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Donna: I just bought the book from Amazon as well; looking forward to reading it.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 6:32AM
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I am still reading mine. I have two books going at once! The other one is "The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women" and this is written by Barbara Seaman, and explores the estrogen myth. The author is a well known women's health advocate and writes for many popular magazines. I got this one real reasonable from www.EdwardRHamilton.com I ordered one for my daughter and one to donate to the local health dept. also. This site has great books at reasonable prices.
As I stated before wish I had all this information about the history of estrogen and other hormones. Things they sure didn't teach in nursing school.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 11:11PM
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I suffered from hormone related headaches for over 25 years and like all of you, my doctor didn't believe me. At age 52, I went on HRT for 5 years and my headaches disappeared. When I came off HRT I went immediately on natural progesterone cream and have absolutely no headaches. By the way, I was told that when you come off HRT, you should do so gradually. If you have been on for 5 years, take 5 months to come off, 3 years - 3 months etc.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 5:45PM
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Hey Guys, glad I found you. I to get headaches, it wakes me up at nights leaving alot of pressure in my head, it feels like I have a tight shower cap on my head and I feel like my head is going to explore. Anyone else feel this way.Can anyone tell me what kind of progesterone cream they use that works cause here in Canada is hard to find one that Dr. John lee recommends.I have his book and read it, it's a must for every women to read for sure.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 3:40PM
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Altenative practitioners can help a lot with endocrine problems, speaking from experience. They don't look at womens cycles and menopause as a disease to be cured, they work with it instead. In my late 20s-early 30s, I had a lot of headaches that became worse with each passing year and doctors would just tell me I was depressed and do nothing. A friend introduced me to alternative medicine and I took a class to learn more about it and the teacher was a naturopath. After just a couple of classes, I decided to go to him and I improved so much after just one month and the headaches were gone and haven't come back, even with the menopausal phase, knock on wood!! Like any doctors, there are good ones and bad ones, so ask at a natural foods store for suggestions.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 1:27PM
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Sometime during the summer my headaches just went away - no treatment. I still have an occasional headache, but not the constant lingering ones like I was having before.

The endocrinologist told me I wasn't yet in perimenopause according to my hormone levels. I haven't been on any HRT or BC pills for over 20 years so no connection there either.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 2:43PM
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I am 49 and suffer from chronic migrain headaches. I know they are hormonal but my doctor looked at me like I was crazy when I told her. I used to get them only once a month during my menstral cycle and now I get them almost daily and I am perimenopausal. I take hrt, and Imitrex. but im tired of the constant pain or having to take a pill that makes me nauseaus and sleepy. I wish that doctors would look into this more so they would understand. Then maybe we could get the help that we deserve.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 7:55PM
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Several years ago I had migraines that were stress related. The only thing that helped them was Imitrex injections. The migraines went away after my life became less stressful, but about 2 years ago I started getting migraines on the day that I started my period. These migraines were not as bad as the ones I had in the past and I could control them with Excederin. I knew that they were hormone related. When I had my ovaries removed and was thrown into menopause as a result of it, I had terrible hormonal headaches. I've been in surgical menopause for about 1.5 months and the migraines have slowed down. Most of the time I can control them with Excederin.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 6:58PM
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Has anyone tried bioidentical HRT what do you think about them and what kind of doctor is prescribing them?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 11:43PM
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I have been having hormonal related migraines for years and in recent months it has become almost unbearable. Like many of you, I found no relief from my doctor. All the prescription meds, worked for a short time but lost their effectiveness. About a month ago on this site I saw the suggestion of natural progesterone cream and I bought some that day. I will tell you that I haven't have a headache since! I think it's a miracle. I found the cream at a health food store and it was $15. Not only have my headaches ceased, I feel so much better. My mood is improved and my sex drive has returned. I'm only 45 and I have not started menopause yet so I didn't think I needed hormones but I guess I was wrong. I don't know if this will work for all of you, but I am a believer!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 11:42AM
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Natural progesterone cream....hmmmmmm. You can buy this without a prescription? Are there adverse reactions or dangers of using this? I have a migraine for three days every month. It's a killer headache I call "my three-day headache". It hurts so bad I want to cry but if i cry it makes it worse, so I have to hold it in. It's just awful. I will be looking into this cream. Do you use it when you get the headache? Or do you use it every day?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 11:33PM
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