Menopausal headaches and how to deal with them

During menopause, stiff shoulders associated with disturbances in the autonomic nervous system and headaches associated with fluctuations in estrogen levels may occur.

Some data have been reported that these headaches may be alleviated by daily lifestyle habits.

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type of headache

woman suffering from headache

In addition to headaches that occur during menopause, headaches can occur due to various causes such as stiff shoulders, colds, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Headaches are broadly classified into two types: primary headaches and secondary headaches. By knowing this classification, you can also notice the possibility that a major illness is hidden behind the headache. First of all, let's understand "primary headache" and "secondary headache".

primary headache

A primary headache is a headache that has no underlying cause. In general, headaches caused by stress, lifestyle habits, posture, food, etc. are classified. It is not a life-threatening headache that has no underlying cause.

Primary headaches are further subdivided into migraines, tension-type headaches, cluster headaches, and neuralgia. Each type of headache has its own characteristics, but the triggers for headaches also vary. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if my headache is a migraine.

Studies also show that many people suffer from migraines, tension-type headaches, and neck pain1). Studies have shown that people who have migraine headaches are more likely to have tension-type headaches and neck pain.

A migraine is a headache with aura. Lights and sounds are unpleasant, followed by a headache. Tension headaches are headaches caused by poor blood flow due to tension in the head, neck and shoulders. Each headache is complicated and intertwined, making self-diagnosis difficult.

secondary headache

A secondary headache is a headache that has an underlying cause. Possible causes of secondary headaches include subarachnoid hemorrhage, cerebral hemorrhage, brain tumor, glaucoma, heatstroke, hangover, and sinusitis. Some of these diseases, such as heat stroke and hangovers, can be prevented .

In the case of heatstroke and hangovers, the cause may be easy to understand, such as ``activities in an environment where heatstroke is likely to occur'' or ``I drank too much alcohol last night''. You can also prevent heatstroke by staying hydrated and avoiding alcohol to avoid hangovers. Some secondary headaches are easily preventable.

On the other hand, the following symptoms may indicate a high-risk secondary headache.

  • Sudden severe headache
  • Severe headache with nausea and vomiting
  • Headache accompanied by numbness of hands and feet
  • headache with dizziness

If you have any of these symptoms, please visit a hospital and consult a doctor.

Types and Symptoms/Causes of Primary Headache | Possibility of Headache Other Than Menopause

Menopausal headaches are closely related to migraines and tension headaches among primary headaches. By understanding the types of primary headaches, their symptoms, causes, and how to deal with them, you can understand how to deal with menopausal headaches.

Read on to see if it applies to your headache symptoms.


Migraine is a primary headache caused by dilation of blood vessels in the brain. Even among headaches, characteristic symptoms such as “throbbing headache”, “headache on one side of the head”, “sensitivity to light and sound”, and “accompanied by nausea” may occur together.

Migraine headaches are common among women in their 20s to 40s, and are said to be affected by changes in hormonal balance. Other factors include food, lack of sleep, and stress.

Studies have shown that foods containing gluten and histamine, alcohol, and caffeine are the culprits2).

Migraines are treated by resting in a quiet place with no light or sound, and by cooling rather than heating. A migraine headache is caused by dilation of blood vessels. Heating it up will make the pain worse. The cold will constrict the blood vessels, which may help reduce pain.

tension headache

Tension-type headaches are headaches that occur when blood flow to the head is reduced due to tension in the head, neck, and shoulders. It is a symptom that the whole head is constricted. Sensitivity to light, sound, etc. may occur, but nausea does not occur as in migraines.

The causes of tension-type headaches are related to stress, eye strain, poor posture, and lack of exercise. It is also thought to be involved in post-menopausal headaches due to the lack of blood flow.

One of the causes of tension headaches is staying in the same position. Regular exercise is also effective for prevention. Exercise, especially yoga, may improve tension-type headache frequency, headache duration, and pain intensity3). As one of the exercise habits, try continuous yoga.

For tension-type headaches, it is also effective to use over-the-counter medicines that warm areas of tension such as the neck and shoulders. As an effective medicine for headache, pain relievers such as "Loxonin" are effective and can be purchased as over-the-counter medicines. When purchasing, please consult with a pharmacist or registered seller at a pharmacy or drug store.

Neuralgia (trigeminal nerve/autonomic headache)

Neuralgia (trigeminal/autonomic headache) is a headache in which the pain appears on one side, similar to migraine, and disappears in a relatively short time. The difference from migraine is that nasal congestion, runny nose, tearing, and congestion may occur only on the side of the headache.

Other characteristic symptoms such as "attacks occur at the same time every day", "regular pain for 1 to 3 months", "pain wakes up while sleeping", "restlessness in the dark", etc. I have a headache.

Neuralgia (trigeminal nerve/autonomic headache) is also divided into detailed categories such as cluster headache and paroxysmal hemicrania, and the treatment varies. Keeping a “headache diary” or “headache diary” on a regular basis will make it easier for you to tell your doctor about your headache. If you suffer from chronic headaches, try keeping a diary.

Headache due to menstrual (menstrual) cycle

Women are more prone to migraines and tension-type headaches. One of the reasons for this is said to be related to hormonal imbalance.

Hormone balance is important for women's health, as it relates to the menstrual (menstrual) cycle and menopause. Many women suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) during their menstrual cycle. Along with fatigue, irritability, swelling, mild fever, and constipation, which are symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), some people may suffer from headaches.

Learn why hormonal imbalance causes headaches and how to deal with them.

Headache due to hormonal imbalance

The hormone associated with headaches is called estrogen. Estrogen is one of the female hormones that is closely related to the menstrual (menstrual) cycle. Headaches associated with estrogen are called migraines.

During the menstrual (menstrual) cycle, a sharp drop in estrogen causes fluctuations in the amount of the hormone in the brain. This hormonal fluctuation in the brain is thought to cause various premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. In particular, hormones in the brain related to headaches "dilate blood vessels", so there are many headaches affected by the dilation of blood vessels = migraines.

How to deal with headache due to menstruation (period)

Headache associated with menstruation is referred to as migraine. It is NG to warm up because it is ``influenced by the spread of blood vessels'' like the coping method for migraine. The cold will constrict the widened blood vessels and reduce the pain. However, in the case of muscle tension headaches, stiff shoulders are the cause, so it is effective to warm the area around the shoulders. The type of headache will affect how to deal with it, so pay attention to whether the hormonal changes caused by menstruation are really related to the headache. If you're sensitive to light or sound, resting in a dark, quiet place can help.

Eating soy isoflavones may also help prevent estrogen-related headaches. It has been reported that taking 40 mg of soy isoflavones a day reduced the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), especially the symptoms of headache 4).

Since soy isoflavone is a food product, immediate effects cannot be expected. However, you may be able to reduce headaches by consciously taking soy isoflavones in your daily diet.

Also read the following articles
Introduction of nutritional balance and diet that regulates female hormones

Incorporating Chinese herbal medicine may lead to alleviation of various symptoms

Taking herbal medicine is also effective for painful menopausal symptoms. Kampo medicine comprehensively reviews various things such as the person's constitution and lifestyle, and gradually improves symptoms from the inside of the body. There are various herbal medicines, but the herbal medicines that are effective for menopausal symptoms are as follows.

  • Kamishoyosan: Depression, irritation, hot flashes, hot flashes, etc.
  • Toki shakuyakusan: Tendency to coldness and anemia
  • Keishibukuryogan: Hot flashes, headache, lower abdominal pain, etc.

There are individual differences in menopausal symptoms, and it is necessary to take Chinese herbal medicine that matches the symptoms . Kampo medicine gradually improves the symptoms, so it is easy to incorporate it into your life, so if you want to alleviate the symptoms little by little, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

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Here are the types of headaches and how to treat them.

Headache may be improved by adjusting hormone balance, diet and exercise.

Also, if you don't know if your hormone balance is disturbed, it is recommended to have an examination at a gynecologist or try a canvas test kit.

Check out the canvas inspection kit here .

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1) Lotte Skytte Krøll.Level of physical activity, well-being, stress and self-rated health in persons with migraine and co-existing tension-type headache and neck pain.2017 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/28421374/

2) Vincent T Martin. Diet and Headache: Part 1.2016

3) Dennis Anheyer. Yoga for Treating Headaches: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.2020

4) Naoko Ishiwata. Effect of soy isoflavones on premenstrual syndrome.2003