What Causes Migraines in Females and How to Treat Them
Around 12% of the US population suffers from migraines, and 85% of chronic migraine sufferers are women. This is interesting because before puberty migraines affect boys more than they do girls.
Let’s take a look at what causes migraines in females and some of the best migraine treatments to help you get through the 6th most disabling illness in the world.
What Causes Migraines in Females
The exact cause of migraines is yet to be determined. However, many studies suggest that migraines are triggered by abnormal brain activity. Migraines have also been linked to genetics.
Migraines are also closely linked to hormonal changes, which after puberty, women are much more susceptible to than men.
Understanding the triggers for migraines is a good way to help reduce the regularity of your migraine headaches. Some of the most common migraine triggers include:
- Hormone changes during the menstrual cycle
- Lack of sleep
- Anxiety and stress
- Caffeine and alcohol
- Loud noises and bright lights
- Low blood sugar
- Sudden changes in climate and temperature
- Certain medicines (birth control pill)
As you can see most of these things elicit a stress response in the body.
Different Types of Migraine Headaches
There are two main categories of migraine headaches:
- With aura (classical migraines)
- Without aura (common migraines
Migraines with aura come with visual symptoms such as flashing, shapes, and lines. Some individuals even lose their sight completely for up to half an hour. Classical migraines affect around 25% of migraine sufferers.
Some classical migraines are hemiplegic. This means that they can cause weakness on one side of the body. The symptoms are very similar to a stroke, but there is no long-lasting nerve damage.
Migraines without aura do not display any visual symptoms. You might still be sensitive to light as well as experiencing the other common migraine symptoms:
- Pain on one side of the head
- Throbbing pain
- Stiffness in the shoulders and neck
- Sensitivity to light and sound
The average migraine lasts from 4-72 hours. Chronic migraine sufferers will suffer a minimum of 15 days of migraine symptoms each month. So, what can you do the help relieve your migraine?
How to Treat Migraines
Most individuals find that taking OTC painkillers like ibuprofen help to reduce migraine symptoms. It’s also worth noting that the sooner these are taken the better.
Getting yourself into a cool, dark room will also help alleviate migraine symptoms. You can also use a cool pack or ice your head. Some people find that caffeine helps with migraine symptoms. Topical migraine treatments such as the Arkopharma Migrastick can also provide relief during a migraine attack.
The best treatment is prevention. There are several things you can do to help reduce the chance of suffering from a migraine headache
- Exercise regularly
- Keep to a regular sleep schedule
- Take a magnesium supplement
- Reduce stress
- Practice yoga and meditation
- Avoid sugary and processed foods
It’s also recommended that you keep a headache diary. This way you can start to identify your migraine triggers and learn to avoid them.
Women and Migraines
Sadly, women are much more susceptible to migraines than men. It seems that this is largely due to the hormonal changes that surround the menstrual cycle. Now you know what causes migraines in females and how to treat and prevent them you can begin to take the necessary steps to reduce the detrimental effects migraines have on you.
For more health and lifestyle tips be sure to take a look at our other articles.