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Hormone link

Although my symptoms are 24/7 I’ve noticed that every month after ovulation I get 5-7 days where my symptoms become quite alot milder, then bam, they get worse again. It’s the same 5-7 days every month, after ovulation, when I feel better. Since doing all the recommended lifestyle changes with no relief at all, and given this monthly occurrence, I’m convinced hormones play a huge factor, if not the main factor, in my MAV. Has anyone else noticed this same fluctuation?

Anyone had their hormones tested? The nhs seem so disinterested. I’m 30,my periods are regular and so a hormone imbalance is dismissed. I have pms symptoms every month of cramps, sore breasts, ankle swelling and stomach upset but nothing severe, it’s just considered normal.

Anyone else with any theories or successful treatment regarding hormones?

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Hi @MissMigraine , I obviously am not encouraging you to experiment with your hormone levels. However, after finding some vague research and comments from ladies who have experienced migraine relief after using progesterone cream, I started using it on Feb 22nd. I cannot tell you that it alone specifically has made such a difference for me since I am on Ami and supplements… but I can tell you that I have had almost 2 weeks of feeling nearly “normal”! It could be absolutely coincidence… but I don’t aim to find out. I will continue using it!
Here is one link, but there are many if you search out “progesterone for migraine”
and here is the cream I started using last month:

yeah, my understanding of what happened to me is that postpartum hormones (period back and going down the number of feedings) along with stress and sleep deprivation set me up for this MAV trip. I havent seen a pattern yet with my periods though. I also used progesteron cream but it was during the rough times, so who knows!

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i used the same cream!

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Have a google of hormone changes during cycle. The period you’re referring to, when you feel a bit better, is when your progesterone levels are high, after ovulation.
I read in the “Migraine Brain” book that for women hormones play a big role because they fluctuate and keep changing, which is exactly the kind of instability the migraine brain doesn’t like. I’ve decided to go on the progesterone only mini pill to keep my hormone levels even. So far haven’t felt any difference but will carry on with it for now.
I haven’t had my hormones tested. Would be interesting to know what you find.


My first visit with my Specialist, he asked about my hormones and stated that they play a huge part in this Migraine Brain of ours. I think the hormones vary so much throughout our days, weeks and months… one triggering another to produce more or less, it’s a moving target that cannot always be captured on a test.

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I’ve wondered if there’s a hormonal link as well. I feel worse the second half of my cycle and am wondering if I have low progesterone. I’ve brought it up to my doctor but they haven’t been interested in testing my levels cause they fluctuate throughout the month. I recently bought a test online from Everlywell where I can test my levels at home at different times in my cycle and send it in to a lab for results. Not sure how accurate it is but I’m going to give it a try.

@Naejohn Thanks for the link for that cream. Perfect timing for me as I’ve been wondering if I may benefit from something like that. I love this forum!

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Did you try birth control for hormone regulation?

Hi naejohn, really interested in your input, my neuro is convinced my primary trigger is hormones and I am too. Before I started effexor, I did hrt for 6 months, so I tried to manipulate the hormones… And found its mission impossible… However, one thing I did discover was that the days that were my best days were the days I had to take the progesterone…
Quick question, are you applying the cream everyday or just a few days before a period. I’m 47 and in peri, my worst days even as good as I’m doing on effexor are still this time of the month. I think I may experiment with this cream…
The other thing I found helped hugely last month was the triptan forvex, took it on day 2 of my cycle just as a headache was starting up at a pain level of about 6…and it worked, aborted it after an hour and didn’t return for rest of cycle.
Thanks for reading x

That’s exactly wgat I have always suspected - that migraines don’t like change, but hormones change throughout the cycle, every day gradually, they don’t stay the same. Personally, I think that’s my trigger, as I have nothing else to explain it. No bad sleep, food, weather or anything. The only link i see is my monthly cycle. Funnily, my pms symptoms changed in my mid 20s, around the same time as the mav began. I never used to have breast tenderness, acne etc. The acne no longer occurs now. I have fibrocystic breasts and that began shortly before mav. I doubt my hormones are imbalanced since my periods are regular, but it could just be the normal fluctuations of hormones we all go through that some migraine brains are sebsitive too. I would be interested in having them tested regardless but my doctors are disinterested due to my regular periods.

So far my google research has come up with nothing. Menstrual migraine are only supposed to be 4 days around the start of your period, not any other time, and is linked to low estrogen, rather than the actual change vs routine idea.

Nope, because every doctor and migraine expert i’ve seen ad also read online say to avoid it because it makes migraines worse. My local chemist advised against it too because it increased her menstrual migraines. (the only thing which helped her was botox). The usual advice is to not take the pill, not take hormone therapy and not have a hysterectomy either because it won’t help and can make it worse. Only being 30, I don’t want to mess about with my hormones, not even with the pill, if they are stable and not imbalanced. I’m not menopausal and i don’t want to end up just making myself worse.

I’ve read that hormonal migraines are more severe and more unresponsive to medication than migraines from other triggers. I wonder if that’s why i’m not responding to the treatments so far. Lifestyle change hasn’t helped me at all, (sticking to a sleep routine, eating routine, hydration, diet, de-stress, activity etc etc hasn’t done a single thing to help me) and meds i couldn’t tolerate, which is why i’m being considered for bitox by a headache specialist. I will definitely bring up the fluctuations i feel with my monthly cycle and see what he says. I believe it’s my primary trigger.


I think hormones are in some way responsible for at least 75% of all female MAV cases I’ve come across on this forum although how that helps with sorting them I have no idea. I suspect doctors don’t want to test for them is because all that may prove is that they are varying throughout the month as is perfectly normal for fertile women so won’t prove anything. I think the trouble with MAVers is they are over sensitive to those ‘normal’ changes and that’s where the problem lies. MAVers over react to these hormone fluctuations in the same way they over react to supermarket lights, bright sunshine, caffeine or what ever. MAVers become hypersensitive to all manner of different stimuli. There must be a reason, as yet undiscovered, to account for this. There’s probably a genetic predisposition to it together with other minor psysiological alterations as root cause but so far nobody really knows.

I’m sure you were given this info in good faith but I’m afraid it’s far too pendantic for me as are many generalisations. I remember reading when first diagnosed reading many similar set-in-concrete statements relating to MAV symptoms that I could easily contradict from personal experience. Systems do vary so, I cannot accept the above statement. I worked years ago with a young woman in her twenties who spent seven days in bed with classical menstrual migraine, one full week out of every four, running with her hormonal cycle and who had been the same snce she was thirteen. She occasionally, but rarely, got migraines at other times. Usually if she went on holiday, i think she’d get one. Helen

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I absolutely agree with you. I think my iwn mav is sensitive to the normal hormones we all have, which there’s clearly not much I can do about, i can’t alter them because our bodies need them. If I mess about with them, I could cause an imbalance. I can avoid weather, or food for example, but not hormones.

I definitely agree that the definition of menstrual migraine is incorrect, but if you put “menstrual migraine” into google, that’s how it’s defined on every medical website out there. If you tyoe “hormones and migraine” all you get is info saying menopause causes migraine and low estrogen before your period for a few days, migraines at any other time are not hormonally triggered. That’s what the whole medical profession believes. The chemist at my local pharmacy told me she had migraines for 2 weeks out of every month (the week before and during her period) so it’s obvious this widely accepted definition is wrong. Just like the criteria for diagnosing mav states symptoms last 5 to 72 hours - nonesense.

The definition of PMS is symptoms occuring 3-4 days before a period, and they have to occur for 3 consecutive months. Pffft. I get pms symptoms sometimes right from ovulation, and they alter from month to month, not consecutive.

When I look at my migraine diaries, although i have symptoms every day, I can see i have worse days any time my hormones shift. So that’s a couple days round ovulation, again about 5 days before my period is due (when pms starts), then again when my period starts, then when it finishes, then ovulation again… Some months are worse than others.

From what I’ve read about mav in particular, it takes time to recover, time to de-sensitise your brain. Because of the monthly cycle, i’m not getting that needed time to recover before another migraine worsens my symptoms again. I get about 5-7 days after ovulation where every day feels a bit better than the one before, til it gets worse again with a hormone shift.

i always think the same about vitamin/mineral supplements too.

Oh, I remember resding this one, and saying “I wish’. At the time of reading that Mine had worsened to nine days. Historically and Interestingly mine were 72 hours always, for years. You could almost time them. Seventy two hours later, it would all stop as abruptedly as it had started and be gone, completely without breakthrough symptoms ever, until the next acute eoisodic bout. And still no doctor recognised it!

I’d read this too… there’s a need to break the cycle. Be interesting to see what the consultant advises. Helen

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Millions alter them through birth control all the time. My wife uses IUD (hormonal) and she does just fine. Not to say that altering them doesn’t come with some risk, everything has a risk. But if the benefit is to break the migraine cycle than it might be worth it.

Same could be said about neurotransmitters and antidepressants. The body can adjust to all kinds of treatments pretty well if done slowly and carefully under the care of a healthcare professional. Again, there is risk with everything, but the benefit might be worth it.

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There are folks here on mvertigo who had success from birth control and hence was asking

Yeah i know tons of people do it safely but my reaction to the preventative meds has been terrible, I can’t tolerate them, so definitely don’t want to be messing about with hormones or taking anything else with countless side effects (i know everything has a risk but some have more than others.) Not since i seem to be sensitive. What most others seem to tolerate, i don’t seem to be able to. If a headache specialist recommends it, i’d do it because they’d know their stuff. But not leaving it up to a gp. Even before i had migraine, i never wanted to be on the pill or using that sort of contraception because i’m not happy altering my body that way. I don’t alter anything if its working correctly. Not when there’s a possibility of side effects. Why suffer the symptoms of hormone imbalance because of taking the pill if there’s nothing wrong with my hormones? I get that others are happy to do it, for contraception or for health reasons, but it’s not my thing i’m afraid. It’s bad enough being a guinea pig with migraine treatment because there’s no better method than trial and error. If pills cause side effects, you can stop taking them and you’ll be ok when they are out of your sstem. But once your hormones are altered, it takes a while to get them balanced again if you’ve been on the pill or IUD etc. They don’t settle straight away. It can take months. So that unsettles me. As does having any kind of implanted device - they can cause other health problems, bladder issues, pelvic pain or just stop working. Just not something i’m comfortable with.

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Hi @nin, I was 47 when MAV started. Now I’m 48. Was told I was pre-menopause about 6 years ago. So, I definitely think my hormones are a turmoil mess, I have hot flashes to prove it :joy: I use the cream every day except for during my cycle, which is a short 2-3 days. I believe it is working for me! Good luck! Do update us with your thoughts if you try it.

Thanks a million Renee, will keep you posted. Mav started for me at 43, hormones have a lot to answer for :wink:

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It’s interesting how for some, mav starts in the 20s,and seems to subside after menopause. Whereas for others, it only appears towards menopause. Obviously hormonsl causes but it must be different hormones setting it off.

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