Polycystic ovary syndrome is referred to as PCOS. Let’s start by dispelling the idea that PCOS is an illness. PCOS is a hormonal issue that can be treated properly and is not a disease.
A higher risk of migraines which are also known as head throbbing pains or severe headaches has been linked to PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) as hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, and obesity may all play a role in its development.
According to a study done in Finland in 2022, those with PCOS had a significantly greater prevalence of migraines. 24.7% of those in the group without the condition reported having migraines, compared to 34.2% of those with PCOS.
Conditions that may relate to PCOS and migraine:
Migraines can also be brought on by some PCOS factors. Here are a few factors that may contribute to PCOS and migraines simultaneously.
- Hormonal imbalances :
PCOS is caused by hormonal imbalances and also having PCOS results in hormonal fluctuations.
Estrogen is a hormone present in both male and female reproductive systems. Estrogen has three major forms such as,
Estradiol is the more potent form of estrogen whereas estrone and other forms are weaker.
Generally, estrogen levels are built up in the first half of the menstrual cycle and they began to drop after ovulation which occurs halfway through the cycle.
The drop in estrogen levels causes migraines. This is the reason why some females get severe headaches at specific times during their menstrual cycle.
With PCOS, this circumstance is different. Androgens, the male hormones, are also present in women. These hormones are typically higher in males but present in all individuals but with PCOS the levels of these hormones are elevated in the women with this condition.
Although our body can convert androgens into estrogen PCOS can cause a cycle of hormone dis-regulation that reduces this process. Specifically, it results in converting androgen into estrone instead of estradiol.
This results in a drop in estradiol level which is a more potent form of estrogen as mentioned above. This drop in estradiol level (hormonal imbalance) due to PCOS may affect migraine development or symptoms.
- Sleep apnea :
A person with sleep apnea, often known as a sleep disorder, may have breathing pauses while they sleep, difficulty falling asleep, drowsiness during the day, or loud snoring.
Alterations in hormones like estrogen and androgen in PCOS could potentially contribute to obstructive sleep apnea which is one type of sleep apnea.
Migraines or tension headaches are brought on by sleep apnea. Therefore, migraine risk is increased in women who have PCOS and sleep apnea.
PCOS may cause anxiety due to its effect on the hormones. One of the many effects of hormonal imbalances is depression or anxiety.
For eg; Progesterone is a calming hormone which has many benefits like lowering anxiety and prompting healthy sleep.
However many women with PCOS have a deficiency in progesterone due to a lack of ovulation. Further panic attacks and feelings of anxiety can result in migraines.
- Insulin resistance:
Insulin is a hormone which is responsible for converting the glucose in your body into energy and delivering it to your cells. However, when insulin is resistant, your body stores more fat and has a slower metabolism, which leads to weight gain.
As a result of insulin resistance, the body may produce more free fatty acids and blood lipids which may result in a migraine attack.
Furthermore, PCOS is also brought on by insulin resistance. As was already noted, insulin resistance results in excess weight and obesity-related insulin resistance changes the function of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain, boosting the production of androgenic hormones that help people develop this condition.
- Lifestyle and Environmental Factors :
Eating habits, stress, exercise and sleep are examples of lifestyle variables that might affect both PCOS and migraines. These habits may also be influenced by environmental factors, such as exposure to specific chemicals.
- Neurological Involvement :
The migraine headache disorder is related to the nervous system, although PCOS also appears to involve the nervous system. Both conditions are accompanied by altered brain signaling and neurotransmitter imbalances.
The body’s immunological response to an injury or infection is inflammation. It involves chemical releases that expand blood arteries, increasing blood flow and causing white blood cells to migrate to the affected locations.
In conditions like PCOS chronic low-grade inflammation leads to hormonal imbalances, increases nervous system sensitivity and promotes insulin resistance all contributing to severe head throbbing pains.
Treatment of PCOS with hormonal birth control pills:
Nowadays everyone prefers medication to treat PCOS as it is efficient. Medication just addresses the symptoms and not the underlying causes of the problem, thus it only provides short-term relief.
Further, all types of birth control pills have side effects. The most common side effects are;
- Breast tenderness
- Possible weight gain or loss
- A mild rise in blood pressure
- Mood changes
- Irregular bleeding
- Blood clots
- Vaginal discharge changes
Apart from the above-mentioned side effects, it may also cause head throbbing pain in specific individuals. Here are a few points explaining how birth control pills taken for treating the above condition can cause migraine;
- Hormonal changes :
In birth control pills, synthetic hormones (estrogen and progestin) are used to regulate the menstrual cycle. Individuals who are susceptible to these head throbbing pains may experience fluctuations in estrogen levels due to these hormones.
- Serotonin levels :
Serotonin levels in the brain can be affected by birth control pills. Serotonin regulates mood and pain perception critically, and in certain people, its modification can result in migraines.
- Personal susceptibility:
People who take birth control pills do not always develop severe headaches because everyone has different migraine triggers. People who have experienced migraines personally, particularly those with hormonal factors, may be more vulnerable to headaches when taking medication.
- Dosage and formulation :
A migraine’s likelihood can also be influenced by the type and dosage of birth control pills. Migraine symptoms may vary depending on whether the pill contains a high level of estrogen or a certain type of progestin.
PCOS treatment through natural means
PCOS can be treated naturally instead of medication. Yes, you heard it right. PCOS is caused by hormonal imbalances and if we can balance the hormones naturally then PCOS can be reversed. Epigenetics helps us understand better. Think of genes as a gun and trigger lifestyle and environmental factors. The gun symbolizes our genetic potential, while the trigger represents signals from our choices and environment that influence gene expression. By regulating our lifestyle and environment, we can positively impact gene expression and address the root causes of PCOS. Treating PCOS can obviously treat migraines caused by PCOS.
So let’s discuss how PCOS can be treated naturally through 5 pillars of a holistic lifestyle:
- Eat right :
Be careful about when and what you eat. Embrace living, water-rich, whole, plant-based foods that nurture our genetic potential. By opting for local and seasonal choices, we honor nature’s wisdom. Increase consumption of this type of food can improve insulin sensitivity and digestion.
Avoiding specific foods including fried and processed foods, refined carbohydrates, drinks, alcohol, and caffeine aids in managing PCOS. Eliminating packaged and processed foods liberates us from epigenetic imprints, elevating our hormonal health.
Your body is best at digesting when you are active and when there is sunlight. Thus eating or drinking when your body wants you to sleep and when it’s dark disrupts the system and compromises the metabolism. So it’s important to stop midnight snacking. Adapt to a consistent daily eating window of only 12 hours say 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Move more :
Moving more helps the body to regulate hormones, reduce weight and also improve insulin sensitivity. Staying active transcends mere exercise, embracing constant movement throughout the day optimizes epigenetic expression, igniting hormonal balance. Engage in pleasurable exercise, dance, yoga, etc to unlock the power of epigenetic triggers. Maintaining a healthy weight through physical activity can help to manage PCOS symptoms thereby reversing it.
- Breath aware :
Breath awareness is nothing but noticing each breath we take, it immediately calms our stress and promotes relaxation. As we get a deeper comprehension of Pranayama, the science of breath, we open a significant doorway to support glandular function and balance hormones. Utilizing the epigenetic impact of the breath, we transcend the usual and improve our hormonal well-being.
- Sleep better :
Sleeping better is very important for balancing hormones. The ability of the body to control hormone levels and encourage healthy menstruation is improved by getting enough sleep.
Lack of sleep, or more specifically, poor quality sleep, can worsen insulin resistance, which in turn can cause PCOS symptoms to emerge.
Discover the benefits of deep sleep, a powerful technique for healing and rejuvenation. We embrace epigenetic potential through the practice of YogNidra, uncovering hormonal balance in the dream world. Through this beautiful dance with the epigenetic clock, rejuvenate your entire existence. So prioritizing quality sleep helps in managing PCOS.
- Mind free :
Being mind free actually helps in reducing stress. Journey into the realm of emotions, thoughts, and stress resilience, where journaling, gratitude, and emotional practices become our guiding compass.
By embracing epigenetic intelligence, we transform our stress-to-calm narrative, strengthening our hormonal landscape.
Following these 5 integrated natural ways to treat PCOS has zero side effects and also contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Further, treating PCOS symptoms can reduce migraines resulting from it.
To conclude, we have learned that the association between PCOS and migraines is not a myth; rather, it is based on all of the PCOS-related characteristics listed above.
We discussed how Migraines are caused by PCOS and the common factors that contribute to both migraines and PCOS.
We then discussed how PCOS can be managed naturally without negative effects in contrast to using medications that have side effects and how treating PCOS can automatically reduce migraines caused by them.