How they relate to hormones
A migraine is a vascular headache that involves the
excessive dilation or contraction of the brain’s blood
vessels. Common and classic are the two types of
migraines. Slowly the common migraine, produces a
throbbing pain that may last for two to seventy-two
hours. Often centered at the temple or behind one ear,
the pain is severe. Alternatively it can begin at the
back of the head and spreads to one entire side of the
head ( the word "migraine" comes from the Greek
hemikrania, which means "half a skull"). Nausea,
vomiting, blurred vision, and tingling and numbness in
the limbs that can last up to eighteen hours usually
accompanies a migraine.
A classic migraine is preceded by a set of symptoms
referred to as an aura, which can consist of speech
disorder, weakness, and disturbances in the senses of
vision and/or smell.
Causes of Migraine Headaches
One factor behind higher incidence of migraines in
women may be fluctuations in the level of the hormone
estrogen. Around the time of menstruation, when there is
hormonal imbalance, women typically get migraines. Any
number of things can trigger a migraine in a susceptible
individual, including allergies, stress, constipation,
too much or too little sleep, liver malfunction,
emotional changes, sun glare, hormonal changes, flashing
lights, lack of exercise, and changes in barometric
pressure. Dr. John Lee states that low blood sugar is
frequently associated with migraines and studies have
shown that blood sugar levels are low during a migraine
attack, and the lower the blood sugar level, the more
severe the headache. Dental problems may also be a
Smoking can cause an attack because the nicotine and
carbon monoxide cigarette smoke, affects the blood
vessels – the nicotine constricts them while the carbon
monoxide tends to expand them. Foods may also
precipitate an attack. Some of the most common offenders
are chocolate, citrus fruits, alcohol (especially red
wine), and any food that is pickled, cured, aged,
fermented, yeasty, or soured.
Natural Progesterone Cream and Migraine Headaches
Transdermal application of topical progesterone
immediately at the onset of a headache, has successfully
aborted significant numbers of migraines. A suggested
amount is up to 1 teaspoon of progesterone cream. This
simple and often effective treatment, is worth trying
with most female migraine sufferers.
Migraine headaches that occur with regularity in
women only at premenstrual times are most likely due to
estrogen dominance. Estrogen causes dilation of blood
vessels, and thus contributes to the cause(s) of
migraines. Dr. John Lee states that one of the many
virtues of natural progesterone is that it helps restore
normal vascular tone, counteracting the blood vessel
dilation that causes the headache. He states that once
again, progesterone is safe and treats the cause in a
normal, physiologic way. The more dangerous
pharmaceutical drugs can be reserved for the rare case
that does not respond completely to progesterone.
Menstrual Migraine Linked To Magnesium
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) May 17, 2002- Women with
menstrual migraine have a high incidence of ionized
magnesium deficiency and elevated ionized
calcium/ionized magnesium ratio, confirming the
hypothesis that ionized magnesium is involved in the
development of menstrual migraine, researchers report.
Dr. Burton M. Altura and colleagues, from the State
University of New York at Downstate Medical Center,
Brooklyn, prospectively studied 61 women who had
menstrual migraine. The researchers measured ionized
magnesium, total magnesium, and ionized calcium, and
calculated the ionized calcium/ionized magnesium ratio.
During menstrual migraine, 45% of the women had an
ionized magnesium deficiency compared with 15% during
nonmenstrual migraine and 14% during menstruation
without migraine. Between menstruations and during times
when there were no headaches, 15% of the women had an
ionized magnesium deficiency, the investigators found.
"The high incidence of ionized magnesium deficiency
we found in our patients during menstrual migraine
attacks indicates that magnesium may have a role in the
development of this disease in a subgroup of patients,"
Dr. Altura and colleagues conclude.
"It appears from our study that some women exhibit
ionized magnesium deficiency between migraines and
menstruations but that the incidence rises when these
two events are combined," they add.
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