According to a survey in the US, women suffer from a migraine thrice more often than men. There are varied reasons for this occurrence such as menstruation, pregnancy, menopause and a few more. Precisely, migraine attacks, especially in women are related to changes in the oestrogen levels. However, not all migraines are hormonal.
Actually, until puberty, boys suffer more from this pain than girls do. With the onset of puberty, as the oestrogen influence increases in girls, they become prone to this attack and it continues until they enter their 40s! After menopause, the menace gradually fades away! At Menarche, the release of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone directly affects the neuronal network in the brain. Technically, this network is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is the circuit responsible for starting, regulating and stopping any stress response!
Nevertheless, migraine in females may be non-menstrual too! Worse still, those who suffer from both the types (menstrual and non-menstrual) may get more severe and longer attacks during menstruation.
Medically, the exact cause of a migraine is unknown. In a nutshell, migraine is a throbbing pain or sensation usually on one side of the head. It is often accompanied by vomiting tendency, nausea and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Some researchers opine that due to changes in certain chemical levels within the brain, the blood vessels are believed to swell up and press the nerves nearby causing pain. Clinically, it has been observed that a variety of factors (called ‘triggers) eventually lead to a migraine. Some common triggers are:

- Lack of adequate sleep
- Skipped meals and long hours of empty stomach
- Bright lights, loud noises and strong odours
- Stress and anxiety
- An excess amount of alcohol as well as caffeine consumption
- Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle and even pregnancy
- Foods, like fast food, broths etc. that contain MSG (monosodium glutamate) to enhance their taste

Apart from treating the disease, the most recommended way to get rid of a migraine is to prevent the triggers. If one can keep the triggers in check, he or she may keep the migraine pain at bay!

Coming to medicinal treatments, mostly preventive anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to such patients. Women, on the other hand, have been found to benefit more from oral birth control pills. Precisely, migraines associated with PMS (premenstrual syndrome) are greatly relieved with the use of these pills. This is because the fall in oestrogen level within the body does not occur. Although the contraception way provides certain patients with huge relief, yet, in a few cases, they might trigger the pain.

Now, how to shrug off the pain with some corrections in your day-to-day routine?

1. Eat Wisely
 Eat around the same time every day. Timeliness is therefore essential
 Don’t skip meals as fasting increases the risk of migraines

2. Sleep well
 Wake up and go to bed approximately at the same time every day and even on weekends. In case you take a short nap on your off days, make sure you keep it short!
 Anything that relaxes you will fetch you a good sleep. Listening to music, a warm bath and a favourite storybook are among a few.
 Minimize distractions by adopting certain practices. No electrical gadgets are to be carried to your bedroom. Preferably, the TV should not be kept in that room too!
 Sleep should not be forced. One should simply doze off to sleep. The harder you try to sleep the more awake you will feel.

3. Manage stress
 Time management would help one to stay stress-free. Update your to-do list both at work and home regularly
 Take a break from work, no matter whatever you are doing. It improves your efficiency! A quick walk or a small chat with your colleague helps you to brush off that stress from your shoulders
 A positive attitude, especially at work, easily makes your work a success
 Deep breathing is a noble habit. Inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply for at 10 minutes could put off the burden of your workload after a hectic day!

Temperature therapy, which is an alternate application of hot and cold compresses to your head and neck, works effectively too! Hot packs or heating pads can relax tense muscles, whereas, ice packs have a numbing effect to dull the pain sensation.

Author's Bio: 

Khalid Md. Saifullah is the editor-in-chief of an esteemed magazine, Health Companion. He is also the Founder and Managing Director of leading healthcare organisations like ‘Naturoveda Health World’, ‘Zilaxo Advanced Pain Solution’, ‘The Megaman Sexual Wellbeing Clinic’ etc.