Ladies, there are natural remedies for migraines and hormonal headaches and today I want to share them with you some of the most effective strategies to be free of pain meds and headaches!
Acetaminophen—a well-known hepatotoxin… wait, Hepata, what?
Hepatotoxin is the term for substances that are toxic to the liver and acetaminophen is among the worst when it comes to over the counter drugs. In fact, it is the number one cause of acute liver failure in America!
The top 20 natural remedies for hormonal migraines includes (keep reading for doses and to learn why these work):
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Essential oils
- Stress Reduction Techniques
- Chiropractic Care
- Liver Loving Foods
- Apply a Cold Compress
- Digestive Enzymes
- Drink Caffeine
What’s the most common root cause of hormonal headaches?
Can Estrogen Levels Cause Headaches?
Estrogen dominance is the most common cause of hormonal headaches. This can occur when there is an excess amount of estrogen in your system either because you are making too much, not eliminating it effectively, or are being over exposed to xenoestrogens.
It can also happen if you're not ovulating or not making sufficient progesterone.
Estrogen dominance is referred to as estrogen excess in medicine and is a diagnosable condition. Sometimes doctors will say they do not believe in estrogen dominance, but this is often because they are not testing correctly or familiar with the diagnosis (ICD-10 E28.0).
Working with a hormone expert can help you identify the source of your headaches and support you in relieving them for good.
Finding your root cause is important to understand if something bigger is at play.
Ok, so finding the root cause is important and sure Ibuprofen and Tylenol are bad, but when there’s pain, what’s a girl to do?
20 Natural Remedies for Hormonal Headaches
Hormonal headaches are cyclical in nature and most commonly occur just before or after your period. For some women, they experience headaches around ovulation due to the spike in estrogen, which triggers ovulation.
The top 20 natural remedies for hormonal headaches includes:
1. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
At a dose of 400 mg a day many people see a reduction in the number of migraines they have. Riboflavin is more of a preventative therapy and has to be taken consistently for at least 1 month to see any effects, with 3 months being the ideal minimum amount of time to evaluate the therapy.
I generally recommend a B-Complex because B12, folate, and B6 can also be beneficial for hormonal migraine relief. Check out my B-Active Plus here.
This little herb has been shown to prevent menstrual migraines. I recommend women aim for at least 25 mg daily to get the most benefit of this anti-inflammatory herb.
3. Try Essential Oils
One to two drops of peppermint oil and lavender oil applied or massaged into the temples can safely alleviate headaches.
This is derived from the core of a pineapple and is a natural way to break down the inflammation-causing molecules in your body. When taken with food it acts as a digestive enzyme. But taking about 200-300 mg twice daily between meals can help lower your pain and inflammation.
I know it seems obvious, but for reals, if you’re dehydrated and prone to headaches then odds are one is brewing. Dehydration is a common cause of headaches. Aim for about 3 liters of water, herbal tea, bone broth, and mineral water daily.
6. Stress Reduction Techniques
Catch yourself clenching your jaw? What about pulling your shoulders to your ears? Many headaches can come from tension and if your hormones are imbalanced then stress is going to take a greater toll. Try these stress-reducing techniques to help with hormonal migraine relief.
This beautiful golden root works on some of the major inflammatory pathways in the body to bring down pain and inflammation. It is excellent as a beverage (see recipe) and can be taken in capsule form at a dose of 1,000-2,500 mg daily.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful compound that has many potential health benefits. One benefit is its potent anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, studies have shown that turmeric may be as effective as NSAIDs for reducing pain!
You can read all about the benefits of turmeric in this article.
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help lower inflammation and can help bring hormones back into balance.
Aim to eat 2-3 servings of fatty fish or supplement 1,000-2,000 mg daily. Yes, ladies, sardines can help your headaches!
Check out my Omega Plus, which is a high quality fish oil.
Stretching, movement and exercise can go a long way in keeping pain at bay. Consider working with an exercise physiologist, functional trainer, physical therapist, or another movement expert as part of your pain prevention regimen.
This little root is a rival to NSAIDs! It’s been shown to be as effective as NSAIDs at reducing pain. In general, a dose of 1,000 mg twice daily works well for most people. Ginger is also lovely as a tea and can be combined with turmeric for double the herbal anti-inflammatory power!
Body work can not be underestimated for ladies who suffer from hormonal headaches! It’ll not only soothe your stress, but it will also allow your nervous system to take some much-needed R & R while your muscles get a good release.
12. Chiropractic Care
You need a doc experienced and trained in pregnancy to help you really have all your prenatal needs met. Gentle chiropractic care can help alleviate musculoskeletal pain.
13. Eat Liver Loving Foods
The liver has a big role to play during your pregnancy, which includes supporting hormone breakdown and metabolism. A diet rich in high-quality proteins, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and root vegetables like burdock, carrots, and beets supports a healthy functioning liver.
14. Apply a Cold Compress
Applying a cold compress to the back of your neck or over the areas you're experiencing the headache can help reduce inflammation, constrict blood vessels and slow your nerves from firing pain signals.
Cold compresses are excellent for many types of headaches, including migraines.
You can make an icepack, soak a washcloth in ice water or throw a bag of frozen vegetables over the area. Be sure to use a towel between your skin and the cold pack and avoid applying for more than 20 minutes at a time. Brain freeze is real.
15. Digestive Enzymes
Taken between meals, enzymes like bromelain can help cut down inflammation and pain. Of course, check with your doctor first, but this may be a helpful tool to add to your routine.
This mineral has been shown to prevent headaches. It acts as a muscle relaxant and is also anti-inflammatory. Most women often need more magnesium than their diet can provide, but diet is still the best starting place.
Typical dose of magnesium is 300 mg daily and in my women's health practice, we increase to 600 mg a day during the times that my patients are most prone to headaches. You can check out the Magnesium Plus we use in my practice.
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine, involving thin needles inserted at specific points in the body, typically to relieve pain. While acupuncture likely won’t alleviate your pain completely, research shows that it can significantly reduce the pain and frequency of hormonal migraines.
Biofeedback involves the use of a device to monitor different things, e.g. muscle tension. The device alerts you when the muscles start to tighten up, so that you can consciously work on releasing that tension.
Hormonal headaches can sometimes be caused by unbalanced estrogen. DIM (Diindolylmethane) supports more balanced estrogen, by encouraging the production of good estrogen metabolites, while reducing bad estrogen metabolites.
You can check out Balance Women's Hormone Support, which delivers a healthy dose of DIM.
20. Drink Caffeine
This may seem counterintuitive if you're struggling with hormone imbalance symptoms, but in a pinch, you can lean on a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea to help provide hormonal migraine relief.
Caffeine can constrict blood vessels and increase your mood. It also can enhance the effect of Ibuprofen and acetaminophen if you do need it.
But use caution because caffeine withdrawal headaches are real. This doesn't mean you'll get a headache if you have a cup of coffee and then you metabolize the caffeine. Instead, if you consume high amounts of caffeine daily and then stop then you may experience a headache.
Bonus: Cramp Bark for Menstrual Cramps
This is one every woman should keep in her medicine cabinet. If you have menstrual cramps taking Cramp Bark two days prior to your period and during may be just herb you need to break up with those NSAIDs. Women generally report relief with 1-2 droppers full (30-60 drops) three to five times daily.
Hormonal Headaches Have a Root Cause
Hormonal headaches are more than just a monthly inconvenience or burden—they are a sign that something is out of balance in your body and in need of attention.