Hormones: Can imbalance cause headaches?

Hormone imbalance is known to have a considerable affect on women, specifically.  This includes headaches.  Estrogen and  Progesterone are namely the culprits.  These two hormones are produced by the body to support reproductive function such as regulation of the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.  The imbalance of these hormones is what causes the headaches, not the natural release.  


Headaches are more often felt by women than men.  In women, progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone are to blame when their levels get out of control.  The best time for these levels to bounce around would be during menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, stress, fatigue, etc.  Premenstrual headaches typically occur due to low levels of these hormones right before menstruation.  In regards to pregnancy, the headaches may actually disappear after the first trimester or may not even occur at all.  


Since the 60’s, birth control pills have been known to cause these hormone-imbalance headaches.  The pills with the high doses of estrogen are the most causative.  The pills balanced in estrogen and progesterone are less likely to spark up these headaches.  


Migraines are actually very similar to hormonally caused headaches.  The big difference here is that migraines can be soothed with a pain reliever whereas a hormonally caused headache requires much more.  Hormonal headaches are usually felt on one side of the head and cause throbbing in the temple.  The symptoms associated are vomiting, nausea, and photosensitivity.  These symptoms may last hours or days; it varies according to the woman affected.  


Testosterone is a hormone mainly found in men, however there are very small levels in women.  The purpose of testosterone in men is to give them the characteristics that distinguish them from women such as the growth of excess hair and deepening of the voice.  In women, however, this hormone is mainly for maintenance of the reproductive system.  Like estrogen and progesterone, testosterone causes headaches in women.  Low testosterone levels are mainly to blame.  


Studies have proved the hypothesis regarding testosterone and headaches in women.  In 2012, an experiment was performed where testosterone pellets were implanted under the skin.  The study found that this did relieve pre- and post-menstrual headaches.  In another experiment with men and women who suffer from cluster headaches, it was found that testosterone-replacement therapy in men decreased their cluster headaches and testosterone-estrogen replacement therapy in women decreased their cluster headaches as well.

As you can see, there is a close relationship between hormone imbalance and headaches.  They are biologically inescapable and affect both men and women.  

Home remedies for hormonally triggered headaches


Headaches may be cured from home.  They do not always require physician-treatment.  Managing your diet, stress, and hydration are three places to start!



Diet is a catalyst for hormonal headaches, but it can also be a cure.  There are several foods to rid yourself of and several foods to start eating.  Wine, gluten, and sugar consumption should be cut down.  This includes food with tyramine such as old cheese and smoked or cured meats and fish. Corn syrup, salt, and carbs should be rid of to prevent hormone imbalance.   


Organics are always better than processed foods for your health.  Processed foods contain pesticides, preservatives, and herbicides that throw hormone balance into a state of frenzy.  Avoid this by choosing to eat only organically.  


Whole foods are very helpful as well.  Like orange juice vs. oranges, for instance.  The orange juice has gone through a whole bunch of processing and loses some of its nutrients along the way.  The whole orange itself is like a packaged pouch of nutrients with no lossage along the way.  Which one is better?  The whole orange!  




Stress makes all body systems go haywire and causes headaches.  Luckily, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to reduce stress.  The key is to relax!  For some, relaxing is not so easy.  Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, exercise, and Biofeedback are a few examples of ways to force yourself to relax.  


Yoga is all about becoming in control.  It’s about forgetting all of the day’s petty problems and thinking of the bigger picture and becoming one with the world around you.  


Tai Chi uses meditative movements, originally intended for self-defense, to find inner peace and calm.  

Meditation is a versatile practice adopted by many, and proven successful.  In the most common form, a person assumes a calming position (sitting, standing, walking), closes his or her eyes, and simply concentrates on their breath.  Thoughts come in and out and are pushed “nonjudgmentally” to the side as a person brings their attention back to their breath.  This practice increases a sense of calm and helps them be able to focus their attention.  


Exercise helps in all dimensions.  It takes you out of the daily stress to promote physical health which is both calming and healthy for all body systems.  In turn, this helps avoid stress.


Mayo Clinic suggests Biofeedback as a possible remedy for hormonally triggered headaches.  This technique allows a person complete mental control over their body systems, muscles in particular.  Ever heard of people having the ability to make their hearts slow down and stop just by thinking about it?  We all have this ability, just some people have this ability more developed.  It can be dangerous if not fully in control, but is worth looking into.  




Most people do not think about hydration as a cure for headaches.  Drinking water is such a natural habit, that people fail to recognize its importance.  ALL body systems require water to function normally.  This includes the endocrine system which includes all hormones and their associated structures.  If you are not adequately hydrated, your endocrine system will not function normally, then hormone levels will be out of balance.  Furthermore, hormone-induced headaches will occur more frequently.


The first few steps to making these changes are the hardest.  However, once ingrained into your lifestyle, they will come naturally and provide fruitful results!