What are Hormonal Headaches?

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  • Written By: Matt Brady
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 04 July 2019
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Hormonal headaches are headaches caused by hormonal fluctuations within the body. Both genders can experience hormone headaches, primarily as a result of fluctuations in the hormone serotonin. Women are more apt to experience hormonal headaches as a result of the monthly menstrual cycle, which often causes a fluctuation in estrogen, progesterone and serotonin levels. Hormonal headaches may also be caused by hormone-altering medications, such as birth control pills. Most people experience hormonal headaches sometime in their life, whether as a result of natural changes in hormones, such as puberty, or by way of self-induced hormone changes, such as with a poor diet.

Various alterations in hormones are capable of causing tension and migraine headaches. Undergoing adolescence is one regular cause of headaches for both genders. Fluctuations in sexual hormones may also be a trigger. Women, who experience regular hormonal changes more often than men, suffer hormone-related headaches at a higher frequency. Such headaches for women can come just before, during and after the menstrual cycle. Menopause may also bring on hormone headaches for women.

Men might experience hormone headaches for a different and more unpredictable set of reasons. Severe headaches can set in if a man experiences an imbalance in the estrogen and testosterone hormone levels in his body. Andropause, the male menopause, also can result in hormone imbalances, causing headaches.


One's diet can often be responsible for hormone headaches as well. For example, alcohol and caffeine are common culprits as well as one's daily amount of water intake. Individuals experiencing hormone headaches should also ensure that they're eating a sufficient and nutritious set of meals throughout the day.

Exercising can help curb hormonal headaches. For many, stress and a lack of healthy physical activity can cause headache-inducing changes in hormones. A good workout routine, whether running on a treadmill or taking a yoga class, can often diminish hormonal headaches by decreasing stress and creating healthier living habits.

Even with changes in diet and exercise habits, hormonal headaches are sometimes unpredictable and unavoidable. In the event of frequent headaches, drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may provide relief. NSAIDs can easily be found over-the-counter at many stores. If headaches are too severe for over-the-counter drugs, one's doctor may prescribe stronger medication to alleviate the pain.

Women who take birth control pills and experience hormonal headaches may wish to consult a doctor. Birth control pills contain hormones that affect the menstrual cycle and ovulation. As a result, some women on birth control experience hormone headaches. Some women may find relief simply by changing their prescription. Others may need to change to birth control that doesn’t affect hormone levels.



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