Do Female Hormones Cause Migraines?

Estrogen is only part of the answer for women's migraines.
Estrogen is only part of the answer for women’s migraines.
Perhaps you’re aware that women have significantly more migraines than men. Which explains why so many migraines are blamed on female hormones, in general, and estrogen, in particular. Sadly, many doctors will dismiss a woman’s migraines as being caused by their hormones, suggesting that there really isn’t much to be done for them. Thankfully, this isn’t always true.

Can Female Hormones Cause Migraines?

The answer is YES. Female hormones can cause migraines. A prime example are menstrual migraines which occur during periods. It isn’t the presence of the hormones but rather the hormonal fluctuations that trigger the migraines.

Are Female Hormones the Primary Cause of Migraines for Women?

That answer is NO. Or at least not for everyone. If that were the case, you would expect to see a dramatic drop in migraines after menopause, which doesn’t happen for all women. Also, many of us have migraines long before the onset of menses.

For Some, Female Hormones Occasionally Cause Migraines

This was my experience as well as others that I have talked with. Years ago, I was taking birth control pills. I began noticing that I would have a migraine just before my period started. (This was long before I knew that they were migraines, by the way.) Once I connected the head pain to the start of my cycle, my first thought was the birth control pills. So, I went off the pill and never had those menstrual-related migraines again. If only they were all that simple, right?

Can Female Hormones Worsen My Migraines

I believe that answer is YES. I have no real data to back that up, it’s just a logical conclusion that, at times, our hormones can make our migraines worse.

This topic of the role of hormones and migraines is a bit of a gray area. We don’t have all the answers. I once had an acupuncturist tell me that all migraines in women were related to hormones. I dismissed him immediately because what he said was contradicted by my own story.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that hormones aren’t part of the migraine puzzle. I know there are many, many legitimate instances of menstrual migraine. What I am saying is that hormones aren’t always the answer.

I’ve been to doctors and neurologists that assumed my migraines were related to hormones or to menopause. They dismissed them as hormone-related and really didn’t pay a lot of attention to me. Heck, I even had one neurologist fire (yes, fire) me because he said I had too many symptoms. Don’t let anyone dismiss your migraines. Insist on answers!

I believe we all have to find our migraine triggers. And, if we listen to our bodies, we can sometimes know what they are.

Thanks for stopping by!

Have you found or seen a connection between hormones and your migraines? I would love it if you would leave a comment below. Perhaps it will help someone else with a similar issue.

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Barbara

I'm now an author and publisher. I write a blog over at BarbaraMcNeely.com. And I have a book published - “Lessons of an Opening Heart."
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3 thoughts on “Do Female Hormones Cause Migraines?”

  1. Yes, I do have a monthly migraine–usually directly following PMS. I have been an emotional eater during the week previous, and I’ve been wondering if the migraine is related to hormones or just a reaction to the bad “food” I choose to eat during that time of the month. I need to keep a diary for a few months to see if I can spot a pattern.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Melissa. A food diary could help you figure that out. Especially if you only eat those ‘bad foods’ during PMS. Speaking of PMS, you may want to check out this post on magnesium: Magnesium and PMS

      You’ll have to watch the video. In it, I talked about my own PMS experience and how I cured it with magnesium supplementation.

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