According to research, between 18-25% of women experience worsening headache or migraine symptoms around the time of their period when oestrogen levels naturally decline.
Increased frequency of headaches and migraines are also reported during perimenopause. It is believed that this could be due to the fluctuations and eventual decline in the levels of oestrogen.
In addition to declining levels of oestrogen, heavy periods, which are common in perimenopause, can cause iron deficiency and lead to headaches that often happen just after your period.
You may also be at greater risk of headaches and migraines if you experience low blood sugar or go long periods of time without eating going.
Other factors that could trigger headaches or migraine
- Not getting enough sleep
- Chronic stress
- Food/drink triggers include caffeine, alcohol, especially red wine, chocolate, monosodium glutamate MSG, gluten, and refined sugar
- Eye strain
- Poor posture
- Persistent headaches can also be a sign of elevated blood pressure and you should get these checked out by your GP or healthcare provider
What you can do to manage headaches and migraines
- Eat a balance of proteins, healthy fats and fibre at each meal for blood sugar balance. Avoid processed foods and refined sugars.
- Stay hydrated – Drink approximately 2 litres of filtered water per day, more if you are very active or sweat a lot
- Keep a food diary to check for food triggers.
- Ensure you are getting plenty of vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) from foods such as apples, beef, organic tofu, salmon, almonds, mushrooms, spinach, eggs, and lentils to support enzyme production for detoxification pathways
- Get your eyesight checked
- Check your posture
- Try a magnesium glycinate supplement of 400mg over the course of the day
- Cold water therapy to the back of the neck may also be helpful. Try turning the shower to cold and running the water on the back of your neck for a few minutes.
Want to know what to eat during perimenopause? Get my meal plan and food guide for women over forty here