Thousands of women have their fair share of migraine-related stories. This is mainly because migraine attacks affect women more than men. Studies explain that this trend has something to do with hormonal fluctuations. As it turns out, estrogen, a sex hormone predominantly found in women, plays a pivotal role in the onset of migraine attacks. Notably, some patients who seek a chiropractor for migraines experience varying migraine intensities throughout their menstrual cycle. Others also note worse symptoms as they reach menopause.
Let’s help you understand the effects of hormonal changes and other identified triggers on your symptoms. Hopefully, this can come in handy in improving your migraine care plan and reducing the impact of your condition on your life.
Female Hormones and Migraines: How are they Related
Women experience worse migraine attacks than men for a reason: fluctuating hormones during the menstrual cycle. Research explains that this issue happens because of estrogen. If you remember your basic biology classes, estrogen is a hormone needed for the following physiological processes:
- Blood pressure regulation
- Ovulation or egg cell maturation
- Blood cholesterol regulation
- Bone and muscle mass formation
- Collagen formation and maintenance
- Cognition and concentration
Notably, it can also play an active part in triggering or preventing a migraine attack. According to a study, a sudden drop in estrogen levels can increase the brain’s pain sensitivity. This makes female migraineurs more susceptible to the crippling symptoms that the condition triggers.
To cope, most women who experience migraines take triptans, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, or calcium blockers. Others, on the hand, opt for natural options like visiting a local chiropractor for migraines or exploring craniosacral therapy.
Beyond Hormone-related Migraines: Other Potential Triggers
Besides hormonal fluctuations, female migraineurs also need to be wary of other migraine triggers. Some examples of these include the following:
Odd or strong scents
Some migraineurs react adversely to certain scents like cigarette smoke, perfume, and food odors. This is because certain scents can increase vasodilation and activate pain receptors in the brain.
Jet lag or sleep deprivation
Lack of proper sleep and circadian rhythm problems due to timezone changes can set off intense bouts of migraine headaches. According to reports, people who sleep six hours on average tend to experience worse migraines than those who sleep longer.
Additionally, some women note that traveling to countries at different timezone can sometimes trigger problems. The drastic changes disrupt their circadian rhythm making it harder to sleep and increasing one’s risks for severe migraine headaches.
Stress often aggravates health problems like vertigo attacks. This is because it can activate the release of cortisol and adrenaline, which consequently cause a chain of health mishaps such as
- Increased blood pressure
- Disrupted synapse regulation
- High pain and pressure sensitivity
- Shrinkage of brain tissues
- Short-term memory loss
- Long-term changes in brain structure and composition
Too much consumption of food additives
Everyone who frequently experiences migraine attacks should know how excessive consumption of food additives can lead to worse symptoms. Migraine studies explain that food additives contain high amounts of nitrate and nitrite – two chemicals that can cause the blood vessels to swell up. As a result, doctors often advise against overeating preserved or processed products. You might also want to avoid eating deli meats and aged cheese.
Caffeine is also a popular ingredient used in making beverages like energy drinks, frappe, hot cocoa, and soda. Unfortunately, this plant-derived brain stimulant is one of the most well-known triggers of migraine attacks. Studies explain that caffeine can cause vasoconstriction and increase blood pressure. Additionally, it can affect energy metabolism in the brain.
Unknown to many migraineurs, excessive intake of medications can lead to the onset of rebound headaches. This mostly happens because the body can develop a strong dependency on pain relievers. As a result, clinicians strongly recommend following the suggested dosage for pain relievers or headache medicine. Failure to do so can result in long-term problems impacting various aspects of life.
Excessive alcohol intake
Abnormal intake of alcoholic beverages can easily lead to two types of migraine headaches: an episode that develops hours after the alcohol intake and a delayed or hangover migraine. According to research, this mostly happens because alcohol spikes histamine levels in the bloodstream. When this happens, your body activates an inflammatory response that can affect the brain’s blood vessels.
Weather condition changes such as temperature and air pressure fluctuation can quickly initiate a migraine episode. Unfortunately, these things can also lead to allergies and aggravate pre-existing health complaints (heart diseases, diabetes-related conditions, etc.). Hence, you might find it helpful to make room for improvements to your usual routine to avoid unnecessary changes to migraine-related triggers.
Cervical subluxation or atlas and axis misalignment is very common among migraineurs. It mainly develops because of a neck or head trauma, but it can also arise from repetitive wear and tear of the neck, poor posture, and degenerative disc disease.
When you develop cervical subluxation, the neck bones shift from the spine’s central axis and pinch or compress nearby nervous system tissues. It can also impair fluid drainage in the head, increasing intracranial pressure and triggering worse headaches.
So naturally, once you restore balance in your cervical spine, you can also cancel out the adverse effects and lessen your risk for migraine attacks.
Enjoy Migraine Relief with the Help of a Chiropractor for Migraines
Migraines can severely impact various aspects of life if you frequently expose yourself to your triggers or fail to address contributing factors. Hopefully, now that you have a bit of background on how the condition works, you can begin taking active steps to care for yourself better.
For starters, you can tap into upper cervical chiropractic – one of the country’s leading sources of relief among thousands of female migraineurs. It’s safe, scientifically proven, and holistic, so you should definitely take advantage of it as soon as you can.
Thousands of patients seeking a chiropractor for migraines have already seen impressive results from their initial consultation and adjustment sessions. So, now is the perfect time for you to explore this option and begin restoring your cervical spine’s alignment.
Talk to a neck chiropractor so you can start managing your migraine attacks better, regardless of your triggers.