Patient Blogs | Migraine
How I Navigated the Menopause/Migraine 1-2 Punch
photo of depressed woman lost in thought

Migraine and menopause are a match made in, well, not heaven. The relationship between my hormones and migraine began at puberty and grew stronger during my 20s.

I turned to my doctor for answers, and he prescribed a migraine preventive medication. Treatment didn’t eliminate the connection between hormones and migraine, but it did lessen the affect they had on each other.

The next thing you know, my 30s passed and most of my 40s were in the rearview mirror. Cycle after cycle, year after year until the hormone/migraine relationship was about to meet its end.

Change hits you out of left field. The change, to be exact. The menopausal process arrived suddenly and progressed slowly. It brought with it unpredictable menstrual cycles, interrupted sleep, and the emotional realization that I was getting old.

And dear lord, the hot flashes. Without warning, the spark ignites deep inside my body’s core. Heat rises through my chest and into my face as sweat flows from my pores like lava.

As a fiery heat burst from my body, my husband mandated social distancing while the cat came closer to enjoy the warmth of his favorite human heating pad. To top it all off, my migraines had begun to worsen despite my daily dose of preventive.

Menopause and migraine were bad enough on their own. Doing battle with two formidable opponents at one time was going to require extra effort. It was time to learn about what I was up against and how I could fight it.

Herbal remedies provided no relief for me. If I must believe something will work for it to work, then it probably won’t work. It seems I’m more scientifically minded than spiritually minded. To each his own.

This fight was going to require a discussion with my teammate, the doctor. Hormone replacement therapy was an option to ease the menopause symptoms. As for the increase in migraines, hormone therapy could make it better or worse.

Sometimes, reality sits on the fence of indecision, waiting to flip a coin.

In the end, I didn’t try hormone therapy. I gambled on natural menopause relief being nearby and migraine relief waiting on the other side of menopause. I exercised regularly, drank lots of cold water, maintained a migraine preventive treatment, and kept a well-stocked supply of migraine rescue medication on hand.

I don’t know if my decision to progress without hormone therapy was the right answer or not, but that’s what I did. The completion of menopause resulted in a decrease in my migraine episodes, and preventive medication is no longer necessary.

Hormones, migraines, and life are manageable again, for now. When a hot flash hits, I give my husband a big hug, just for fun. I’ve also placed Japanese hand fans all around my house.

When you’re fighting two enemies at once, ask questions, get answers, and bring in as many teammates as you need. Everybody is different. Treat your 1-2 punch of migraine and menopause in the way that’s best for you. And seriously, Japanese hand fans. I can’t stress this enough. Get the pretty ones. You deserve it.

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Photo Credit: fizkes via iStock / Getty Images Plus

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Tammy Hader

Tammy Hader

Diagnosed since 1986

Tammy Hader has been a migraine warrior for over 5 decades. A staunch proponent of migraine management, she has developed the knowledge base to help her navigate relationships, an accounting career, and many lifecycle changes. Hader lives with her husband and cat in southcentral Kansas and enjoys writing, cooking, hiking, and football season. Follow her on Twitter, Medium and Bizcatalyst360.

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