October 22, 2020

Headaches affect women more than men

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Headaches affect women more than men. In fact a migraine (where your head pounds, you feel nauseous including vomiting, light and sound are unbearable, a tiny noise and/or a ray of light creates blinding pain), affects women nearly three times more than a male. According to the Mayo Clinic, 17 percent of women have migraine pain, while only 6 percent of men do.

It is also true that women may have more painful headaches than men, as well. Naturally, there are a number of factors that come into play when considering an individual’s chances of developing headaches, and the frequency of such problems. Age, genetics, and family history can all play a role, but for women, there are a couple of other factors to be considered.

Hormone levels and birth control pills (which tamper with current levels or introduce synthetic hormones to the body) are both possible factors in the headache equation.

The big factor that can play a role in someone’s chances of getting headaches is age. The older one gets, theoretically, the more prone one is to experiencing headaches. People with a family history of being susceptible to the problem are also at increased risk, though whether or not there is a concrete genetic link is still uncertain. However, women have come to note that changes in hormones can often be accompanied by headaches. This can include things like certain periods of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and any other times or circumstances that alter a woman’s usual hormone levels. This includes the use (or overuse) of birth control pills and patches, which introduce synthetic hormones.

The simple cause of this would be progesterone and estrogen, sometimes known as the core hormones of the female physiology. The two of them may have an effect on other chemicals in the body, along with a variety of chemical receptors. Among the many possible physiological compounds that can be affected by the two mentioned above are the ones that regulate and coordinate headaches in the brain. This usually occurs due to some form of ‘correspondence’ with other chemicals in the brain. For example, high levels of estrogen and low levels of serotonin have been known to cause headaches in some patients, with the
intensity varying from the mild to the severe. As can be expected, there are times when the synthetic hormones of birth control pills can also have similar effects.

Of course, just because hormone levels are a natural part of the body and can’t be discarded completely doesn’t mean the average woman is defenseless against them. Modern medicine has ways of helping treat and/or prevent, as the case may be and the intensity of the headaches. Most over-the-counter pain relievers are good ways of combating headaches that come during the start of
menstruation, which is typically accompanied by a sudden drop in estrogen levels. Proper diet and exercise, which are basically considered to be good for pretty much anything, can also help reduce the intensity of hormone-related headaches when they come. Proper and adequate sleep can also be critical in this.

What about those who use birth control pills? There are ways to fight off hormone-related headaches for women on the pill, though the advice may be a tad bit different from those of women who aren’t. Taking a programme that has more or less placebo days can be useful in helping combat the potential increase in hormonal headaches. There are also pills and patches that do not use estrogen or progesterone, and thus there is no increased risk of headaches.

Everyone is sensitive to different things. In fact, these are just some of the more common triggers. One person might be sensitive to alcohol but have no problem with caffeine, while another might have terrible migraines from caffeine and a higher tolerance for alcohol. People are also responsive to different triggers at different times. For instance, one day, bright light may not affect you at all, while on another day, it could immediately set off a headache or worse still a migraine.

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