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What Effect Does Menopause have on Headache Pain?

You’d think it would be enough to have to go through menopause without having to figure out how that will affect your headaches. What your headache history has been may no longer have anything to do with what you headaches in the future will be like. For example, many women are known to suffer from terrible headache pain during their menstrual periods. When these stop, because of menopause, very often there is a change in headache activity. Although only rarely is it a complete stop in headache pain it is usually a marked improvement. 

There are two types of menopause one of which most woman will deal with. One is natural, when the body itself goes through changes over time as it adjusts to the hormonal fluctuations of growing older.  When it is a natural menopause, studies show that women find a sixty seven percent improvement in headache suffering. Results also show twenty four percent will notice no change. But sadly nine percent will find their headaches get much worse.  If it is the second form of menopause, a state that occurs after the ovaries have been surgically removed, there is only a thirty three percent improvement in headache suffering noted while research shows an increase in headache pain in sixty seven percent of patients.

There are often changes just before menopause sets in. This period is called perimenopause. It is the beginning of the major hormonal changes that will make a woman’s life more difficult until it settles down. It is the stage when hot flashes, emotional turmoil and night sweats are daily events. This will continue until the hormonal changes are completed. During this stage headaches are usually worse. Beware if hormonal replacement therapy is suggested, especially if you are already a headache, or more specifically, a migraine sufferer. Hormonal replacement therapy, also known as HRT, is known to make migraines much worse. Do not let doctors push you into this if you have worries about headache pain.  As well, some studies have shown that there are medical issues related to hormonal replacement therapy that need to be researched before you accept your health care provider’s recommendation to begin this medical intervention

The confusing part of all this is that studies researching headaches and menopause continue to be inconclusive. Some show frequency and pain improving once menopause has set in while others have said just the opposite. Some women seem to be lucky enough to never have another headache again once they become menopausal, while there are other women who have never been known to be headache sufferers who find themselves suddenly stricken with horrible migraines. Some researchers question whether these changes in headaches are menopausal in nature or just a reflection of aging. Studies show that even after age fifty-five migraines are still more prevalent in woman than in men. This makes some researchers certain that they are hormone related while causes others to question why even after menopause migraine pain is still so bad for women.

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Menopause and Headache Pain