If you get migraines, you know how painful they can be. Migraines may be brought on by several categories of “triggers,” including diet, sleep patterns, weather, irritating chemicals, odours, stress, exercise – and hormones.
Women have significantly more migraines than men, with a 3 to 1 ratio. And 60% of female migraine sufferers report that their headaches are connected in time to their menstrual cycles, although they can happen at other times too.
Indeed, there is evidence that migraines may be associated with fluctuations in the hormone oestrogen. Women may have more migraines during or before their menstrual period, or during the first trimester of pregnancy. Oral contraceptives can also trigger migraines. Fortunately, for most women, migraines subside or stop completely with aging and menopause. But in the meantime, what can you do to decrease the frequency and severity of your migraines?
Some things to consider to calm your migraine pain:
- Treat the migraine as soon as possible. Pain that goes on for a long period of time may be more difficult to get rid of, so tackle it as soon as you notice symptoms if you can.
- Keep track of your migraines. Try to identify and then avoid your migraine triggers as much as possible. You might try keeping a migraine log for a while, if you are not sure what your personal triggers are. Every time you get a migraine, log your activities, diet, sleep patterns, the weather etc. and then look for patterns in the information.
- Medicine. There are several medicines currently available over-the-counter or by prescription that can relieve a migraine attack after you are experiencing symptoms. For general pain management, over-the-counter analgesics are effective for some people, especially for mild-moderate migraine pain. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see what’s right for you.
- Rest and sleep. Some migraine sufferers find resting and sleeping can help.
- Prevention. Preventing the onset of a migraine is always the best course. Try to identify your personal migraine triggers (these could be certain foods, smells, or other environmental factors), and then avoid them as much as possible.