ItÄôs estimated that 40 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches. Headaches are one of the leading causes of missed work or school. So why is it that so many of us suffer from such annoying and often debilitating pains in the head? Honestly, there are several reasons.
Some of the most common triggers of migraines are stress, food allergies, caffeine withdrawal, medications, lack of sleep, extreme weather conditions, blood sugar fluctuations, and hormone imbalances.
Many migraine suffers find little or no relief in either over-the-counter or prescription medications. And, even for those that do, rebound headaches are often a resulting side effect.
When suffering from chronic headaches, it is important to learn your triggers. Keep a diary that tells the date, time, weather conditions, foods eaten in the last 24 hours, emotional stressors, amount of sleep, drugs taken or, if you are a female, where you are in your menstrual cycle. Determining your triggers can take you a long way towards reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines.
Once you have eliminated many of the triggers (yes, through hard work and dedication), you may find your headaches arrive pre or post menstrual. You have just discovered that your migraines are triggered by hormones. Oh yes, the same lovely chemical that gives us mood swings, cramps, bloating, breast tenderness and those horrible chocolate cravings will also cause your migraine headaches.
If you fall into this category, there is hope beyond medication. ItÄôs important to understand that this will require a commitment on your part. Balancing hormones can be a tedious and difficult prospect but the rewards are well worth the effort.
Estrogen dominance is the most frequent cause of hormone imbalances.
Here are a few keys to remember about estrogen dominance.
- Fat stores estrogen. The more weight you gain, the more estrogen you will retain.
- Stress produces cortisol which boosts estrogen levels.
- A toxic liver, from excess alcohol or pollution, will not filter estrogen out of our bodies.
- Many of the foods we eat are fed estrogens to make them grow and produce more food.
- Eating meat and diary products will increase your estrogen levels.
- Plastic containers, pesticides and cleaning chemicals produce xeno-estrogens, chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body.
- Skipping periods, whether by choice through the use of birth control pills or by nature, will prevent the release of progesterone which keeps estrogen levels in balance.
ItÄôs no wonder girls as young as 7 and 8 are now starting their menstrual cycles.
So what are the answers? You can beat hormone caused migraine headaches through good nutrition and supplementation as well as regular exercise. Here are some suggestions.
- Start shopping for hormone free meats. These can be found in health food stores or ordered online.
- Use non-toxic household cleaners and non-toxic pesticides whenever possible.
- Make sure you are getting at least 30 grams of fiber every day. If you arenÄôt eating enough to get this amount, be sure to supplement with a quality fiber product. Fiber binds to estrogen helping to remove it from the body.
- Vitamins A, C, B12 and E along with magnesium, selenium, calcium and anti-oxidants are essential to maintaining a healthy hormone balance.
- Supplement with DHEA. This hormone precursor promotes the development of progesterone which will keep estrogen in check.
- And, of course, there is progesterone cream. Be sure to select a high quality progesterone cream that offers no less than 500 mg of progesterone that is not synthetic.
- Also consider adding in Milk Thistle. This herb has a wonderful track record for cleansing and supporting the liver.
If you are unsure of what products to use or which steps to take, be sure you work with someone that is familiar with natural alternatives. They should be able to guide you in your decision making process.
By taking these steps, you should be on your way to improved health with a wonderful side effect, no more MIGRAINES!
Nicole Bandes is a Certified Herb Specialist whose passion is educating individuals about natural alternatives available to them. Find more articles by Nicole and order health supplements at NatureÄôs Sunshine Products.