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Hormonal Migraines: How Your Las Vegas OBGYN Can Help

August 16, 2022
Miranda Obryan

Headaches are inconvenient, but migraines? Those are debilitating. More than a headache, this special type of throbbing head pain often comes with a host of strange symptoms, including:

  • Numbness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Sensory sensitivity (light, noise, odor)
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Experts still don’t know for sure what causes migraines, but they believe a number of triggers are involved. Some factors that may cause migraines include allergies, alcohol, dehydration, stress, certain foods, or changes in hormones. So what do migraines have to do with your gynecologist?

OBGYNs specialize in understanding the reproductive hormones in the body and how they function or malfunction. Our Las Vegas gynecologists can work with you to identify and minimize hormone-related migraines by correcting imbalances. In this article, we’ll talk about the role that hormones play in migraines.

What Do Hormones Have to Do with Migraines?

Since the odds of experiencing a migraine increase for women three to one, the cause of migraines must be biologically related. Reproductive hormones are what make the two biological sexes unmistakeably distinct. Two well-known reproductive hormones are estrogen in women, and testosterone in men, although each one is not exclusive to one sex.

Estrogen instability seems to be a common denominator for women with migraines. Throughout a woman’s reproductive lifespan, her estrogen levels will drastically change, creating periods of time where she is prone to increased migraine attacks. Some women have migraines on a recurring basis in sync with their menstrual cycles, further supporting the idea that migraines are tied to reproductive hormones.

Researchers suspect that it’s the sudden drops in estrogen that may be to blame. Estrogen levels drop just before the menstrual cycle and during the post-partum period after childbirth. That’s why some women get a break from their migraines while pregnant; their estrogen levels are higher and stable. Here are times when women are more susceptible to migraine:

  • Before and during menstruation
  • After childbirth
  • During the perimenopause phase

While hormone fluctuations are not the only recognized trigger for migraines, they do seem to play a major role for women. That’s where your Las Vegas gynecology team at My Virtual Physician comes in. We’re here to help you understand your body and the role that hormones could play in your migraines.

The Role of Birth Control with Hormonal Migraines

It’s fair to say that many women have a love-hate relationship with their chosen contraceptive method. Birth control does the job of preventing pregnancy, but it often comes with inconvenience and side effects.

Take the pill, for example; it is a contraceptive option that changes your body’s hormones. The pill usually contains estrogen and progesterone. Some women experience increased migraines while taking hormonal birth control, and others actually find migraine relief when using the pill. Sometimes skipping the placebo pills under a doctor’s order can help prevent hormone fluctuations that cause migraines.

Women who suspect that their hormonal birth control is the cause of their migraines should consider alternative nonhormonal contraceptive options. You can read about alternative methods below:

If taking hormonal birth control is off the table for you, there are other treatment options available for hormonal migraines. One of the first steps in identifying the problem is to take a look at what your hormones are doing.

Can Lab Tests Be Used to Diagnose Hormonal Migraines?

Before you start taking hormonal birth control in an attempt to control your migraines, you can opt for hormone testing. There are at-home hormone test kits available that work with blood, urine, or saliva samples. If considering this type of testing, it’s important that you use a method that allows you to test your hormones throughout different days of your menstrual cycle. You will not be able to identify when the drop in estrogen occurs if testing only on a single occurrence.

Bringing your hormone test results to our online Las Vegas OBGYN team can help diagnose, treat, and even prevent future migraine disturbances if the culprit is hormonal imbalances.

How to Treat Hormonal Migraines

There is currently no cure for migraines. However, understanding whether your migraines are hormonal–or triggered by some other influence–can shed light on which way to go for prevention and treatment of symptoms.

Your online OBGYN can help identify whether your migraines are hormone-related. If you’re experiencing menstrual-related migraines, your doctor can help design a prevention plan and also prescribe medications for prevention and symptom relief.

If you’re ready to talk to your doctor about your migraines, the first step is to keep a log. Track your migraines on a calendar along with your menstrual dates. Track these activities to get insight into your migraine triggers:

  • Food intake
  • Exercise
  • Stress levels
  • Sleep habits
  • Water intake

Bring these logs with you when visiting your doctor. It helps to identify patterns and triggers so that your gynecologist can set up an appropriate treatment plan. Sometimes simple lifestyle changes can affect your hormones and reduce your migraines.

For perimenopausal women, doctors may treat severe migraines with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in order to stabilize estrogen. However, there are side effects, so this treatment is not for everyone.

Solving Your Migraine Problem

Your gynecologist isn’t exactly the first person you would think to call to solve your migraine problem. However, if your migraines are cyclical, they could be hormone-related. Ask the hormone experts for help and get migraine relief. Our clinics operate virtually online, so schedule your appointment today to meet with our OBGYN team. Alternatively, we have walk-in hybrid locations in Las Vegas where we can collect labs and vitals for our local patients.

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