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Fluctuating hormone levels can influence the severity of chronic headaches, tension headaches, and menstrual migraines, which at most times are very severe. During the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause, oestrogen levels fluctuate and these changes can trigger different types of headaches.

The main symptom of hormonal headaches is a headache or migraine that can start as a throbbing pain in one side of the head and may affect your sensitivity to light or smell.  Several factors may instigate headaches, but here are some of the most common related to hormone fluctuations.

As you have previously read, histamine stimulates oestrogen and too much oestrogen stimulates histamine.  Histamine can contribute to multiple symptoms including rashes, GI upsets, acne and headaches.  Especially cyclical headaches.  If you get a headache around ovulation (when oestrogen levels peak) or just before you bleed (when oestrogen also has a little spike) then histamine may be to blame.  Magnesium and B6 may support the DAO enzyme.

When females are still menstruating, for every menstrual cycle, oestrogen and progesterone levels fall just before a bleed. As a result in the days leading to their period women can experience migraines.

As you know oestrogen levels fluctuate even more when we are in perimenopause.  The sudden drops can trigger migraines too.  Low oestrogen also reduces the body’s ability to produce 5-http, a compound which is converted to serotonin.  Triptans given for migraines are structurally similar to serotonin.  Perhaps try balancing oestrogen levels to reduce migraine frequency.

Low progesterone can also be a cause.  Oestrogen facilitates what is called the glutamatergic system and increases neural excitability in the brain.  This effect is calmed down by progesterone which has a positive effect upon GABA in the brain.

Declining oestrogen may also be involved with migraines by causing contraction and expansion of blood vessels (throbbing feeling) causing pain. If progesterone levels are sufficient they will counter any negative effects of oestrogen regarding menstrual migraines.

Oestrogen also regulates pain.  Reduced oestrogen levels means a higher sensitivity to pain (why men don´t have babies!)

Inflammation – Too many inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins have been known to cause cyclical migraines.  Ensure you are getting enough EFAs (omega 3) to counter and reduce inflammatory compounds to the diet.

OPTIONS: Vitex Agnus castus may help: A herb that can support progesterone.  Should work after 4 months, pulse during cycle and do not take continuously.  Not a good option for those with PCOS.

Perhaps levels of Mg are low!

Try a lower histamine diet to see if symptoms improve.  This is only a “band-aid” solution and you will need vitamin C, B6 and an enzyme called DAO. Mg and quercetin also.

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