North Central New Jersey Edition
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed

Women and Headaches

Setting the Record Straight

An enormous amount of information exists on the subject of headaches. Unfortunately, sometimes that information isn’t completely accurate, nor does it tell the whole story. That can be a big problem, especially for women with chronic headaches.

              According to research published by Columbia University in The Journal of Gender-Specific Medicine, women are three times more likely than men to suffer from migraines, 18 percent versus 6 percent, respectively. In the United States, those numbers are even worse. A study by AMPP Advisory Group shows a staggering 43 percent of American women are affected by migraines. And yet, in spite of this, there is a preponderance of research involving animal pain studies that use male subjects to study this predominantly female disorder.

              It is known that hormones can play a major role in many women’s headaches by affecting blood vessels in the head. Migraines in women often emerge after menarche and occur more frequently preceding or during menstruation. They also often decrease during pregnancy and menopause. But the exact cause of migraines is unknown. Yes, blood vessels are affected by hormones, but that does not necessarily make them the true underlying cause of headaches. Many women experience improvement or even complete resolution after non-medication-related services, such as upper cervical-specific treatment. Therefore, before consenting to hormone therapy for headaches, the following facts bear considering:

• Hormone therapy has a questionable track record of success for women with headaches. In a research study published in the journal Neurology, a 22 percent reduction in the number of headaches during hormone therapy was offset by a 40 percent increase in headaches after the study ended.

• Headache is a frequently reported side effect of hormonal contraception and a leading reason given for contraceptive discontinuation.

• Studies indicate that the use of combined oral contraceptives in women with migraines may further increase the risk for stroke.

              The bottom line: know the facts. There are 150 different types of headaches. Therefore, it is vitally important that one’s doctor is provided with as much information as possible about the kinds of headaches being experienced in order to make informed decisions about treatment.

A free ebook, New Hope for Headaches: The Link Between Craniocervical Syndrome and Chronic Headaches, is available for download at LifeAlignedHealth.com. It offers tips to help receive a proper diagnosis, as well as advice for keeping a headache journal and more information about headaches.

Dr. Andrew Persky, DC, is founder of LifeAligned Upper Cervical Treatment Center, in Warrington. For more information, call 215-491-4200 or visit LifeAlignedHealth.com.

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Be Heard. Make a Difference.

As young adults and teens, we need to start taking action on issues where we want to see something changed.

Three Reasons Why Drinking Ice Cold Beverages Can Be Bad for Your Health

After kicking up a sweat from exercising or working around the house, the popular solution for cooling off is to toss back a frosty, ice cold drink.

The Benefits of Technology in Moderation

Teens are often criticized for being addicted to technology and disconnected from real life. While it is true that many teens spend a lot of time using smartphones and surfing the internet, it’s important to note some of the positive effects of using such technology.

This M.D. Daughter Helps Save Her Father’s Life with Functional Medicine

Dave Sood learned the devastating news on April 23, 2015: He had stage 4 metastatic cancer that was found in his lymph nodes.

Infrared Thermography

Thermography is a highly sensitive study of the largest, most intelligent and most available organ of the body: the skin.