Fluctuating hormones during your menstrual cycle can bring about many changes. And like some women, you may deal with headaches during this time of the month.
Different types of headaches can happen around your period. One type is a tension headache — often caused by stress — that feels like a tight band around your forehead. Or you may develop a headache after your period due to blood loss and a drop in your iron level.
But among the different types of headaches that can occur during your period, a hormonal headache and a menstrual migraine seem to be the most common. The underlying cause is the same for both, yet their symptoms vary.
Here’s what you need to know about hormone-induced headaches, as well as ways to stop the throb.
A change in hormone level can trigger a hormonal headache and a menstrual migraine. Hormones regulate many of your body’s functions.
Women who have headaches during their period can develop one before their cycle, during their cycle, or after their cycle.
Headaches result from changing levels of estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is a female sex hormone. It travels through the bloodstream delivering messages to different parts of the body.
Estrogen levels rise midway through your menstrual cycle. This prompts the release of an egg. Progesterone is another important hormone. Rising levels of this hormone help an egg implant in the uterus.
After ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary), hormone levels decline. Estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest right before your period. It’s this decrease that makes some women more likely to experience headaches.
You can have a hormonal headache at other times, too. Some women have more headaches during menopause or perimenopause due to a drop in hormones.
Pregnancy can also trigger headaches because hormone levels can fluctuate over nine months.