It has been estimated that 70% of migraine sufferers are women. Of these migraine sufferers, 60% to 70% report a connection between their menstruation (periods) and their migraine attacks.

What is the relationship between hormones and headaches?

Headaches in women, especially migraines, have been found to be related to changes in the levels of estrogen (a female hormone) during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Levels of estrogen drop immediately before the start of the menstrual flow (menses).

Premenstrual migraines regularly occur during or after the time when the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, drop to their lowest levels.

Migraine attacks usually disappear during pregnancy. However, some women have reported that migraines started during the first trimester of pregnancy, and then went away after the third month of pregnancy.

What triggers migraines in women?

Birth control pills, and hormone replacement therapy for menopause, can change the frequency or severity of headaches. If you notice your headache getting worse after starting one of these medications, it may be worthwhile to ask your physician for a medication that contains a lower dose of estrogen, or ask for a change from an interrupted dosing regimen to a continuous one.