Migraines in Women: Hormonal Triggers and Treatment Options

Migraines are a common and debilitating neurological condition that can significantly impact the quality of life. While both men and women can experience migraines, women are more prone to the condition, with a higher prevalence rate of 18% compared to men’s 6%. Here is what Andrew Doe MD, would like you to know about hormonal fluctuations in women and the various treatment options available.

Hormonal Triggers of Migraines in Women

Migraines are a headache that can cause severe pain and other symptoms, such as sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting. Migraines can be triggered by various factors, including hormonal changes in women.

  1. Hormonal triggers of migraines in women are often related to changes in estrogen levels. Estrogen is a hormone that plays an important role in regulating the menstrual cycle and is produced by the ovaries. Fluctuations in estrogen levels can occur throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle and can trigger migraines in some women.
  2. Some women may experience migraines during their menstrual cycle, which is often referred to as menstrual migraines. These migraines are linked to a drop in estrogen levels before menstruation. Migraines may also occur during ovulation when estrogen levels are rising.
  3. Pregnancy and menopause can also trigger migraines in some women. During pregnancy, estrogen levels increase, which can cause migraines. In menopause, estrogen levels decrease, triggering migraines.
  4. Some forms of hormonal birth control, such as birth control pills and hormone-containing intrauterine devices (IUDs), can also trigger migraines in some women. These birth control methods contain synthetic hormones such as Gestodene, which can cause fluctuations in estrogen levels and trigger migraines.

Understanding these triggers can help women better manage their migraines and reduce the frequency and severity of their symptoms. 

Treatment Options for Migraines in Women

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes can help minimize the frequency of migraines. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule, reducing stress, and avoiding triggers such as alcohol, caffeine, and certain foods like Artificial sweeteners, can help prevent migraines.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications

OTC pain medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen can help relieve mild to moderate migraines. However, these medications may not be effective for severe migraines.

Prescription medications

Several prescription medications are available for the treatment of migraines. Triptans are a class of medications that constrict blood vessels in the brain and reduce inflammation. These medications can effectively relieve migraines, but they may not suit everyone. Other prescription medications, such as beta-blockers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications, can also effectively prevent migraines.

Hormonal therapy

Hormonal therapy can be effective in preventing menstrual migraines. Birth control pills can help regulate hormonal fluctuations and reduce the severity of migraines. However, hormonal therapy is unsuitable for all women and should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

Botox injections

Botox injections have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of chronic migraines. These injections work by relaxing muscles and reducing inflammation in the brain. 


Consider acupuncture if the medicines are not suitable for preventing migraines. Studies show that a course of around 10 sessions of acupuncture in a span of 5-8 weeks can help with your migraines. 

Speak to your doctor at Alate Health to discuss the best treatment options for migraines.

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