How can hormones cause migraine?


The drop in estrogen just before menses is the biggest trigger for menstrual migraine.


“Again, we are our hormones. So when you look at … let's just say the woman doesn't have an abnormality, but the typical female, when her ovaries start producing estrogen and progesterone, again, let's say around the age of 12 or 13, that estrogen and progesterone is not evenly secreted across a cycle. You have times that it goes up and down, and what appears to be the biggest trigger for menstrual migraine is the decline or drop in estrogen just before menses. There's been numerous studies looking at the fact that if you try to even out that estrogen, it can make a difference.”

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Susan Hutchinson, MD

Author - The Women's Guide to Managing Migraine
Orange County Migraine & Headache Center

Dr. Susan Hutchinson is a headache specialist and board-certified family practice physician. In February 2007, she founded Orange County Migraine & Headache Center, dedicated to serving patients with headache and mood disorders. Although she is not a psychiatrist, she has developed a special interest in treating mood disorders as well as headache. The mood disorders she treats include depression; anxiety; bipolar disorder; ADHD; and panic attacks. Dr. Hutchinson suffers from migraine headaches which gives her an empathy with her patients.

She felt such a calling to help patients with headache and mood disorders that she decided to specialize and devote her career to alleviating the suffering caused by both headaches and mood disorders. She lectures nationally on the subject of headache; has written dozens of articles for medical journals; participated in headache research projects and is very active in numerous professional organizations such as the American Headache Society and the National Headache Foundation.

She is the immediate post-chair of the Women’s Issues section of the American Headache Society after serving in the chair position for 5 years. Dr. Hutchinson is a dynamic and sought-after speaker. She speaks for community groups as well as professional groups. In 2010 she became the President of The Orange County Chapter of the California Academy of Family Physicians.