I thought I’d start this topic off because I’ve noticed so often continuous hormone therapy gets left out of the discussion of effective migraine preventive treatments.
Has anyone else tried continuous hormone therapy, either in the form of continuous birth control pills or continuous hormone replacement therapy post menopause? What has your experience been? I look forward to finding out.
I’ll share my own experiences in a separate post (or posts!)
I am extremely lucky to be able to say that Dr. Hutchinson has been my migraine specialist for several years now, and I have benefited greatly from the wealth of knowledge and experience she has in treating migraine.
I can also highly recommend her book, The Woman’s Guide to Managing Migraine: Understanding the Hormone Connection to Find Hope and Wellness, not to mention the many articles she has written for this website. She has much to teach us!
While I have not tried continuous hormone therapy, I look forward to hearing your experience. Once you share your story, it’d be great if you could add a link to it here in this forum discussion.
I’m so pleased that you have found a migraine specialist as talented as Dr. Hutchinson. I’ve not met her before but have read her book and reviewed it for Migraine.com. Some of the information she shares in her book has already changed my migraine patterns for the better!
I tried estrogen therapy after menopause, and my migraines immediately got worse. Even found if I ate too much soy the migraines were worse.
A few years ago my wonderful nurse practitioner recommended I try testosterone because a test showed my level was lower than normal, even for women. I’ve been on testosterone cream now for three years. My migraines haven’t stopped, but they are about half as bad as they were. I tried stopping the testosterone for a few weeks to see what would happen, and the migraines turned into level 10s. I’m right back on the testosterone again.
Hello Karen! I’m glad to hear you’ve found supplemental testosterone works so well to cut the severity of your migraines. That’s wonderful. I don’t use “T” but take a small amount of DHEA (which is a precursor hormone) and I’ve found it a helpful addition to my overall HRT regime as well.
There is no doubt that hormone supplementation of any kind takes the guidance of an experienced health care practitioner. As most of us with migraine well know, every one of us is different and there is no such thing as a one size fits all solution. What can relieve migraines in one person will make them worse in another.
I’ve been meaning to add to this post for weeks, but life events have gotten in the way. I’ve also struggled with how best to present my experiences using hormones to manage my migraines so it’ll make sense to others, but have finally decided I just need to dive in.
The main thing I’d like to get across is that hormone replacement or balancing hasn’t been the perfect answer to dealing with my worsening chronic migraines throughout all the stages of menopause, but it has proven itself to be far superior to anything else I’ve tried. It’s also not the only approach I use as I also use an anti-depressant and a number of over the counter supplements (minerals, vitamins & an herbal migraine preventive) to manage my migraines.
The primary advantage for me has been the lack of ongoing side effects while it’s primary challenge has been working out the best levels to take as no one has yet devised an easy at home test to check your hormone levels so you know precisely how much you need on a daily basis. (I’m thinking of the pin-prick test that diabetics use.)
As a result, even when you think you’ve got it all worked out, something in your hormone levels shifts again and you’re back to trying educated guesses along with your doctor’s best recommendation as to what or how much to add or subtract and in what manner or formulation.
Over the course of about seven years under three different migraine specialists and two gynecologists, I’ve used bio-identical creams and gel pump forms of estradiol and progesterone singlely and together. I’ve been on a couple of different BCPs, I’ve used estradiol patches and micronized progesterone orally, topically and vaginally. I’ve had brands and modalities changed due to insurance coverage issues. Sometimes I’ve even gone off the hormones completely for brief periods of time.
But through all of it, I’ve found I have the fewest number of migraines when I am using the right balance of hormones for me at any given time. It has meant the difference for me between having a non-stop migraine and being able to live pain free most of the time with two to four (easily treatable) migraines a month.
I am so glad to have found this forum. I am at a place in my life where I have finally determined that my migraines are primarily triggered by hormonal fluctuations. I am 38 years old and recently became pregnant for about 9 weeks. The pregnancy ended in miscarriage, but in that time I had 9 blissfully migraine free weeks, coupled with elevated mood. I believe I suffer from PMDD. I get 15-20 headache days per month when I am cycling. My psychiatrist has recently suggested I try bio-identical hormone therapy. There is a compounding pharmacy in my area but I have no idea how to proceed. I cannot afford the $250 hormonal consultation or hormone testing that seems necessary to start this kind of therapy successfully. I am also in a bit of a limbo space as I would like to get pregnant again soon. I have recently tried Lexapro in hopes that it would help with mood and migraine, but after two doses I was almost suicidal. It was awful. I want to try Zoloft next because my doctor says I could take it during pregnancy and into the post partum period, but I’m worried I’ll react the same as I did to the Lexapro. I tried Amitriptyline about a year ago but it caused me to have tremors after three days. Whats confusing is that at that same time I was also withdrawing from benzodiazapine dependence, which had it’s own long list of symptoms and could very well have been contributing to how my body reacted to the Amitriptyline. I know this is a lot of information and I don’t even know if any of you visit this board very often, but I’m feeling desperate and unsure about how to proceed.
Thanks in advance,