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Honey, I Have a Headache

Filed Under: Women's Health at 9:18 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
WomanHoney, I have a headache – It’s one of today’s most clichéd rejections, seen as a kinder way of saying “I’m not interested” rather than a legitimate excuse. While on any given night that could be true, it’s not always. In fact, men, it’s very likely that the lady beside you actually has a headache. Women experience them three times more often than men, usually at the start of their menstrual cycles. And as they age, the pain worsens, increasing in frequency and intensity. Menopause and the subsequent drop in estrogen may end the suffering. However, that’s not a definite, and that could be a long way away. You would like the pain, whether it’s your own or your partner’s, to go away now. You had plans for the evening that didn’t involve a bottle of aspirin and a cold compress. What should you do?

The first step is identifying the source of the headache. It may not be one of the more common causes: eyestrain, stress or hormonal shifts. Or it may be a result of something a little more bizarre. Strong odors, for example, assault the nose’s nerve cells, which triggers the nervous system associated with head pain and elicits a grade-A migraine. Weather changes, hair accessories, hunger and even overexertion can cause similar aches but for varying reasons. Barometric disturbances affect your body differently than heavy earrings and tight headbands, so your method of treatment will have to very accordingly, as well.

For almost all, using a basic, over-the-counter pain reliever should alleviate the pain. However, there are other things you can do before reaching for the bottle. Try these solutions for the more common uncommon causes of headaches:

• Avoid the offending odors – if you are knocked out by a whiff of Tommy Hilfiger perfume, stay away from Tommy Hilfiger. Use unscented shampoos, soaps and laundry detergents. You may not smell as pretty, but you’ll feel much better.
• Prepare for bad weather – when the skies cloud and the thunder rolls, prep your head. Start the morning off with a cold compress, read for a look into your future aches and avoid other headache triggers, such as excessive caffeine, caffeine withdrawal, smoking, alcohol or stress (if that’s even remotely possible).
• Loosen your hair – your favorite hairstyle whether it’s a bun or heavily burdened sweep may be the reason you are in constant pain. Loosen your hair, remove a few clips and experiment with wearing your hair down. I’m sure it looks lovely.
• Eat – low blood sugar spells a headache. Eat protein and complex carbohydrates rather than simple sugar to refuel. You should feel better after the first few bites.
• Change activities – if running always gives you a headache . . . stop running. Try biking, swimming, aerobics, etc. You have a list of options that should be head-pain free. If they aren’t, see your doctor.

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