Are Your Migraines Hormonal?
Did you know that women are 3 times more likely to suffer from a migraine than men? Yes, over one-third of women will get migraines during their reproductive years and over 75% happen at ovulation or near the end of their cycle!
Even though migraines are becoming more and more common in both women and men, it is definitely not a normal thing to have migraines.
If you suffer from migraines it is a clear sign that you need to get to the root of the problem sooner rather than later.
The problem with a migraine is that its root can be cause can be one thing, while it is often “triggered” by something completely different.
The above statement is often the secret to discovering why you have struggled to eliminate your chronic migraines. For example, a migraine may be triggered from bright lights, intense exercise or eating a certain food, but the root problem of your migraines could still could be a hormone imbalance, poor response to stress, muscular imbalance or tension and/or a simple vitamin or nutrient deficiency.
Because there are so many possible causes of migraines, you often see migraine sufferers bouncing between multiple specialists searching for answers. Without going too far out on a tangent, if you have chronic migraines, your healthcare practitioner should be checking for multiple root causes with each visit.
Unfortunately, what we often see is that a chiropractor only checks bones and joints, the nutritionist only checks diet, the neurologist only checks the nervous system, etc. Anyway, the point is that migraines can be caused and triggered by almost anything, and if you have tried one thing, it will often require more than that to effectively eliminate your migraines. Below I will cover just a few of the hormonal factors that may be contributing to your migraines.
At the risk of becoming the “estrogen dominance” doctor, we can’t help but notice from the first paragraph above the significance of female hormones in the battle against migraines. If you look closely at the female hormone cycle you will notice that about midway through the cycle, (when many women suffer from headaches and migraines) estrogen is the highest.
If you have read my articles on estrogen dominance, then you know that estrogen dominance is common in males and females. Given the already elevated levels of estrogen in many females, when their estrogen levels go even higher mid-cycle, a migraine is often triggered.
The solution isn’t an aspirin, ibuprofen or caffeine (<– which worsens the hormonal imbalance) during that time of the month, but rather figuring out the reason your estrogen is already too high is what will bring you back in balance.
In the female teenager with migraines many of the migraines are triggered by their constantly fluctuating new levels of hormones, but the problem usually lies in the bodies inability to regulate the cycle and hormones due to poor diets. In the teenager insulin, dysglycemia and sugar handling need to be checked in each and every patient.
Two other hormones that play a significant role in migraines are serotonin and dopamine. Dopamine and serotonin play teeter totter much like estrogen and progesterone do.
High serotonin is known to be associated with migraines. Elevated serotonin can be the source of vascular migraines due to its vasodilatory effects on the middle meningeal artery.
Serotonin is usually elevated not due to overproduction, but due to lack of break down and detoxification. Some of the most common nutrients lacking in the breakdown of serotonin include vitamins B6 (P-5-P), B12, Zn and Folic Acid (5MTHF). Detoxification of serotonin occurs in the liver and if the liver is overburdened or lacking specific nutrients required for detoxification, serotonin can gradually build up. Guess what overburdens the liver most frequently in females? Yes, that is right, estrogen.
While migraines often feel complex and elusive, it is important to know that there is a cause and that they are not something you should try and just “deal with”. Finding the real root problem of your migraines rather than taking a drug to mask the pain will not only relieve the pain but it will correct other imbalances in the body so you can get your quality of life back!