Blog By: Riya Rathore

Headaches are life’s yellow lights. They don’t really stop you, they just slow everything down — from your productivity to your husband’s wandering hands. The biggest problem, though, is that most of us think our only option is to accept the pounding pain, try to treat it, then wait it out. But you have more options for treating — and preventing — the most common skull-busters around.Locate It Throbbing, pulsating pain  that’s only on one side of your head. Often with nausea or light sensitivity. Diagnose It If it’s localized on one side, it’s probably a migraine. That occurs when nerves in the brain stem become overexcited (from almost anything — skipping meals to stress). And that leads to dilation of blood vessels in the brain — causing the pain. About 15 percent of people with migraines get an “aura” right before. “You may see wavy or jagged lines, dots, or flashing lights,” says Lisa K. Mannix, M.D., a heasache expert in Ohio.Women are five times more likely to experience headaches than men, and are more susceptible to frequency and intensity of headaches as they approach menopause.

This can be directly linked to the hormone fluctuations middle-aged women experience during the menopause transition. Headaches can range from mild, everyday tension headaches to unbearable migraines that can last several hours or days. It is important to understand the common triggers of headaches, as well as beneficial treatments for them. Tension type headaches are the most common type of headaches. They are defined as the dull, daily headaches that typically do not last more than a few hours. Migraine headaches are much more intense, and are characterized by a recurrent, throbbing pain that starts on one side of the head. Migraines are usually accompanied by nausea, and can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Hormone fluctuations are the primary cause of daily headaches among middle-aged women. Essentially, the hormone called estrogen causes blood vessels to dilate, and progesterone makes them constrict. When hormones fluctuate, it results in intense pain because they are constantly expanding and contracting. There are additional common triggers for daily headaches in middle-aged women, including: excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption, lack of sleep, skipping meals, dehydration, high stress, lack of exercise, and poor diet. Some people will have these headaches steadily for months or years. For others, the pain will go away for weeks or months, then come back. The headaches often have some of the same symptoms as other kinds. This overlap can make them tricky for doctors to diagnose.

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