As if mood swings and hot flashes weren’t enough to deal with, the last thing a woman in menopause wants is an excruciating migraine headache. Migraines are often driven by intense fluctuations of hormones, notes Marla Ahlgrimm. Here, the longtime pharmacist discusses some of the medical solutions that may help deal with this issue
Q: What are the most troublesome symptoms associated with migraine headaches?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Migraines are generally marked by sensitivity to noise and light, vomiting, nausea and painful throbbing near the temples. As with most medical matters, an appointment with a primary care physician should be the first course of action when experiencing a migraine for the first time.
Q: Are there particular methods that may be useful in curbing these feelings of discomfort and pain during menopause?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Hormone replacement therapy, often referred to in the medical community as HRT, has been shown to alleviate perimenopausal migraines in certain situations. Consulting with a specialist can shed light on all of the available options. If HRT is prescribed, the estradiol transdermal patch would be the most likely form.
Q: What other causes could result in migraine headaches?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Besides hormone fluctuations, a lack of sleep or food, flashing or bright lights, and stress may also be contributing factors to migraine headaches.
Q: How may women adjust their regular routine to ensure proper health and alleviate their risk of debilitating pain from migraines?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Eating small meals throughout the course of the day should be the first priority. Try to include foods with protein and complex carbohydrates like starchy vegetables, legumes and whole grains. It may also prove beneficial to use dietary supplements such as magnesium, co-enzyme Q-10, and riboflavin. Exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep is crucial, as is cutting back on alcohol and caffeine. One last note: drink enough water each day to avoid dehydration.