5 Ways to Treat Hormonal Headaches Naturally

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Whether it’s a debilitating migraine or the dull throbbing from a stressful day, headaches have the ability to zap your energy, ruin your focus and turn your otherwise centered self into a crabby mess.

As one of the most common – and vague – health conditions, headaches are generally accepted as just part of being human, whether brought on by fatigue, dehydration, stress or lack of sleep. Headaches can indeed be caused by all of these things, but for women, there’s often a hormonal imbalance at the root of those menstrual migraines or the constant tension between your eyes.

Hormones, You Win Again

Being female, you’re on a hormonal roller-coaster ride most of your life. The ups can be thrilling, (like when you get a spike of mood-improving estrogen), but the downs (when it dips the other way) can cause imbalance to the chemicals and systems of the brain, resulting in headache.

The estrogen/progesterone balance plays a pivotal role in whether you regularly experience hormonal-related headaches. Many women are prone to getting headaches just before they start their periods – a time when estrogen levels take a dive. And if you’re one of thousands of women who experience menstrual migraines – severely painful headaches that occur usually before or during menstruation – you probably don’t need me to reiterate just how disruptive and excruciating they are.

What do you normally do when a headache strikes?

The conventional remedy is usually a strong dose of acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, the ingredients found in over-the-counter painkillers. And while there’s nothing harmful about these pills (as long as you don’t have liver problems or take them excessively), there are natural ways to re-balance your hormones to avoid needing headache medicine in the first place.


5 Ways to Heal Headaches Naturally

1. Talk to your doctor.

Have your physician take a closer look at your estrogen/progesterone balance, as well as your thyroid levels. Based on the results of these tests, the two of you can decide what treatment options may be best for you. If you suffer from severe menstrual migraines, applying progesterone cream to the skin may be helpful, but should be considered under the guidance of your doctor.

2. Diet.

As part of the Gottfried Protocol, I recommend a lifestyle “reset” by eliminating gluten, reducing sugar intake and cutting out red wine from your diet. Avoid tyramine, too, which is a migraine-triggering compound found in aged and fermented foods like old cheeses, smoked fish or cured meats. Enact these changes for at least 30 days and you will probably notice an improvement in hormonal-related headache symptoms.

3. Supplements.

Once you have a better understanding of your hormonal profile, you can also use supplements to support nutritional deficiencies that might be contributing to headaches. Magnesium, CoQ10 and 5-HTP are all recommended for these purposes. Talk to your doctor about proper dosage.

4. Stress.

Remember that stress can directly influence your hormonal balance. Find ways to cope with PMS-related mood fluctuations and eliminate stress during those difficult times in your cycle. Yoga, meditation, exercise, and a good belly laugh are all great techniques to keep you calm and centered, which may reduce hormonal headaches.

5. Hydration.

Aim to drink about three liters of water every day to prevent dehydration and cut down on hormonal headaches.

When Natural Is Not Enough

There are medications you can take to help alleviate headache pain, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, triptans, beta blockers and others. I recommend using medication only if you aren’t able to relieve symptoms through the methods listed above.

And while the occasional headache is normal, hormonal-related headaches certainly don’t have to be part of your everyday life or monthly cycle. Prevention is the best strategy, and in the long run it will cost you less than the painkillers currently taking up space in your medicine cabinet.

Originally published at SaraGottfriedMD.com.

About the Author

Dr. Sara Gottfried M.D. is a Harvard-educated physician, speaker, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep, Sex Drive, and Vitality with The Gottfried Protocol. For the past 20 years, Dr. Gottfried has been dedicated to practicing and helping women feel at home in their bodies.

From the Author


  1. KrishNa

    well here goes. I have had bad headaches since I was ten years old. I still have mienriags a lot but I went to a neurologist a few months back and I had this traveling pain in my head that was not a migraine and he ran all kind of tests on me and come to find out I didn’t have any vitimeine B1 in my system at all and he put me on it and the pain that would go from my ear and travel around my head somethimes five days and night went away. Anyway my vitimine b1 went from five to 29 in three weeks and I have not had the pain that goes around my head and would last five days and night have completely gone , he said that I may not have ever had it in my system and it is going to take years for the rest of my body , but I still get mienriags , but thank goodness the other pain is gone He is the type of Dr that always checks out vitimines on every patient . There isn’t any place on orders for vitimine test for B1 he had to right it down. You will never know how it feels to not have my ear sore all the time and the pain moving from place to place for days. Any I still have migrains and I have meds. for that and the pain goes away within about 20 minutes thank goodnes for that. Ask your Dr. to run a itimine b1 test he will have to put it down himself because it is no longer a vitimine they look for and it is the one that control the nervous system and also the musels go figure.

  2. Katie Anderson

    There are lots of thing that you can do to help with your headaches naturally, but you want to make sure that you contact a doctor first. Making sure that it is not something more serious should be your top priority, and a doctor will be able to help you with that. I think the sooner you get in touch with a professional, the faster you will be able to figure out what is going on, and get it fixed.

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