Migraine affects more than 37 million men and women in the US. As a result of these patterns, researchers have speculated that migraines might be linked to hormonal activity in women and teenage girls.
Most migraine sufferers are women, and many female migraine sufferers report getting migraines at certain times of the month, that is, around the time they have their period. Scientists have linked this to a decrease in the hormone estrogen during menstruation.
Some women who use birth control pills report more migraines, and more severe migraines, than those who don’t. Other women begin to take the pill to try to reduce the symptoms of their migraines. The birth control pill uses various hormones, including estrogen derived from mares ( equine sources), to regulate a woman’s ability to conceive a child. Because our Human estrogen is molecularly different than a horse’s estrogen, you may want to find a bio-identical source of hormones instead.
Soy is a plant which is high in protein and substances known as phytoestrogens, which seem to mimic estrogen women produce naturally. Phytoestrogens have been linked to fewer menopausal symptoms in women, and therefore might be helpful to treat migraines for men and women alike.
Hormones in the food supply
The food industry is the US is drive by profit-motives, not health-related ones. Many cattle are pumped full of hormones, steroids and antibiotics in order to get as much yield out of the animal as possible. Cow milk with hormone in it is of particular concern. Some studies show girls are starting to menstruate at even younger ages than the usual lower range of 11 and some boys have experienced ‘feminization’, such as the development of breast tissues, if they tend to drink a lot of dairy milk.
Whenever possible, aim for organic foods and consider using milk substitutes such as coconut, pea protein and nut milks .
Hormonal fluctuations are often accompanied by food cravings. Some people crave salty foods, which can trigger migraines. Others might crave sweets, and go for sugar-free products because they are weight conscious. The artificial sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet) has been linked with migraine. There are natural amino acids and supplements that can help with cravings, and I encourage you to talk to your functional health provider about these, as they can greatly help!
The stress and a lack of sleep many men, women and teenagers experience have been found to be a significant contributor to migraines. Whether it is stress caused by work, school, personal matters, or other health issues, mastering stress management techniques can help to improve the lives of migraine sufferers greatly. Check out our Resources page to find some ideas for stress reduction using Mindfulness and Meditation apps.