House Call: Headaches and hormones in women
Migraines occur in 28 million people throughout the United States, with three times as many women suffering from them than men. Signs of a migraine include pain, sensitivity to light, sounds and smells, nausea and/or vomiting and a desire to be still.
Migraines are largely underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed as conditions such as sinus headaches.
Migraines in women are often triggered by hormones and/or stress.
Migraine frequency and severity often increases around periods of significant hormone fluctuations, such as onset of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy (especially in the first trimester and after delivery) and during menopause. Stress is a major migraine trigger as demands on American women are very high.
Many women are balancing a full-time job, raising children and running a household.
Therefore, migraines often co-exist with conditions such as an anxiety, depression and/or insomnia in women.
Fortunately, there are treatment options for women suffering from migraines.
Depending on the triggers of the migraines, treatment is individualized to each patient, and often involves a combination of medications and lifestyle modifications. If you or someone you know is experiencing migraine symptoms, and over-the-counter medicines are no longer working, it is time to seek the help of a headache specialist.
The exceptional team of medical providers at Cone Health Centers for Women’s Healthcare at Stoney Creek and Kernersville are dedicated to treating women who suffer from migraines and restoring their quality of life.
Linda Barefoot is a women’s health nurse practitioner at Cone Health Centers for Women’s Healthcare at Stoney Creek and Kernersville. She has specialized in headaches since 2001.
Linda received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from California State University Fullerton in 1995. She earned a Master of Science in Nursing from UNCG in 1996 and a postgraduate degree in women’s health from UNC Chapel Hill in 2005.