How can a woman be proactive in managing hormonal migraine?


Women need to be active participants in their health by educating themselves about hormone regimens, and making sure their health care providers work together to provide the most effective treatments.


“They may have a gynecologist who knows a lot about hormones, they may be seeing a male headache specialist who’s good at headaches, but I think if a woman can educate herself, learn more about hormone regimens which can help headache, which can hurt headache. And I know one of the mistakes I've seen in the past is, well-meaning health care providers were too quick to stop a birth control pill because a woman said her headaches were worse. They needed to take a better step, but maybe when the headaches were worse was when the placebo part of the pill pack. So I think if women are on a birth control regimen, really seeing when she's having headaches, is it on the active pill or the placebo? And whatever that woman migraineur can do to make sure her health care providers are working together, and really help the woman that way. Otherwise you could have one person doing one thing and the other person another. But I do think the woman needs to be an active participant.”

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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.

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