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Women’s Health

What Causes Migraine in Women?

There are many different causes for migraine, which vary widely between individuals. Genetic factors, physiological factors, and hormones may make one live with migraine [1]. Environmental and weather changes, stress, alcohol, caffeine, and other specific foods are common triggers that can increase the chances for migraine attacks [2].

In women, it is common to experience migraine attacks due to changes in hormone levels. Menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause can trigger migraine attacks as well [3]. Understanding which trigger affects you can help you manage your migraine and treat it earlier.

Symptoms of Women’s Migraine

Symptoms vary between individuals and the type and phase of migraine [1]. These are a few symptoms that may indicate you are having a migraine. Consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. 

Common Symptoms

  • Intense, throbbing head pain 
  • Sensitivity to light or sound 
  • Nausea or Vomiting 
  • Neck pain 
  • Fatigue 
  • Depression 
  • Mood swings 
  • Visual disturbances, like flashes of lights 
  • Muscle stiffness 

Migraine attacks are common, especially in women. If you experience migraine, please know that there is help available. You do not need to feel alone.

Talk to your doctor about creating a treatment plan that fits your symptoms and individual needs. Also, ask your family or close friends for support. Keep them informed of your symptoms and treatment plan so they can encourage and help you along the way. 

Migraine & Women’s Health

Migraine is a common brain disease affecting over 30 million Americans each year [1]. Women experience migraine up to three times more often than men [1]. 

Women also report feeling more severe symptoms than men [2]. While there is no cure for migraine, there are tools to help women manage this complex neurological condition [1].

Menstrual Migraine and Hormone Headaches

It is normal to get migraine attacks during your period. Women frequently experience migraine attacks a few days before or during menstruation. A drop in estrogen hormone levels just before a menstrual cycle begins can trigger a migraine attack in women [6].

The amount of change in hormone levels can also affect how severe a migraine becomes. Other sources of hormonal change, like pregnancy and menopause, can also trigger migraine attacks [5]. Options for premenstrual migraine relief may include ice packs, relaxation exercises, remote electrical neuromodulation (REN) [7], or certain over-the-counter pain relievers.

Migraine & Menstruation (soon)

Migraine During Pregnancy

Although migraine often improves during pregnancy, attacks may continue and even become more severe throughout pregnancy and postpartum [6].  Some women experience migraine attacks during the first trimester, while others get them later. Early pregnancy migraine attacks usually happen because of changes in hormone levels. Other causes may be stress or food-related. Skipping meals or not getting enough sleep may also be a factor [2]. While there are plenty of pain medications, pregnant women seeking migraine relief should work carefully with their doctor to find the right treatment plan. There are also safe, drug-free options for treating migraine when pregnant.

Migraine During Pregnancy (soon)

Migraine Relief for Postpartum and Breastfeeding Mothers

Women dealing with headaches or migraine after pregnancy need to know they are not alone. Many new mothers experience migraine attacks during and after pregnancy. Headaches are typical postpartum symptoms [8].

About half of all women report having a headache during the first week after giving birth [9]. While no evidence proves whether or not breastfeeding triggers migraine, studies suggest that changes in hormonal levels during and right after pregnancy can trigger them.

Postpartum headaches and breastfeeding migraine are common and treatable. Women seeking postpartum migraine treatment should ask their doctor about drug-free options or about safe medications to use while breastfeeding [8].

Postpartum Health Breastfeeding and Migraine (soon)

Postpartum headaches and breastfeeding migraine are common and treatable.

Tracking the Phases of a Migraine

Migraine attacks have four phases: prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome [10]. Each phase has symptoms that help identify which one you are experiencing. Since everyone experiences migraine differently, it is helpful to understand how migraine affects you. 

Migraine journaling by using a migraine diary, like in the Nerivio app, is a popular method for tracking symptoms, severity, triggers, and treatments [11]. The more detailed you are with tracking your symptoms through the phases, the easier it will be for a doctor to prescribe an effective, customized treatment plan.

Learn More About Tracking Migraine Phases

Get Nerivio to Treat and Prevent Migraine

Ask your doctor about drug-free migraine treatment options. Nerivio is an FDA-cleared, drug-free, wearable device for migraine treatment and prevention that works safely and effectively by activating natural pain pathways to inhibit migraine and associated symptoms. It is a prescription-use, smartphone-controlled, noninvasive wearable that is discrete and easy to use.


Nerivio has not been clinically tested during pregnancy. Consult your healthcare provider about using Nerivio as a dual-use therapy – for treating and preventing migraine.


  1. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Migraine Headaches. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/5005-migraine-headaches
  2. American Migraine Foundation. (n.d.). Top 10 migraine triggers. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/top-10-migraine-triggers/
  3. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Menstrual Migraines Treatment, Pain Relief, & Symptoms. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8260-menstrual-migraines-hormone-headaches
  4. National Headache Foundation. (n.d.). Facts About Migraine. https://headaches.org/facts-about-migraine/
  5. National Library of Medicine. (2020 Aug 26). Gender-related differences in migraine https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7704513/
  6. American Migraine Foundation. (2019, March 21). Migraine Through A Woman’s Life. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/migraine-through-a-womans-life/
  7. Grosberg, B., Rabany, L., Lin, T., Harris, D., Vizel, M., Ironi, A., O’Carroll, C. P., & Schim, J. (2021). Safety and efficacy of remote electrical neuromodulation for the acute treatment of chronic migraine: an open-label study. Pain reports, 6(4), e966. https://doi.org/10.1097/PR9.0000000000000966
  8. Boushra, M., & Rathbun, K. M. (2022). Postpartum Headache. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537101/
  9. Kvisvik, E. V., Stovner, L. J., Helde, G., Bovim, G., & Linde, M. (2011). Headache and migraine during pregnancy and puerperium: the MIGRA-study. The journal of headache and pain, 12(4), 443–451. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10194-011-0329-1
  10. The Migraine Trust. (n.d.). Stages of a migraine attack. https://migrainetrust.org/understand-migraine/stages-of-a-migraine-attack/
  11. Stanford Health Care. (n.d.). Headache Diary. https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-conditions/brain-and-nerves/headache/diagnosis/headache-diary.html

Safety Information

It is highly recommended that you consult your doctor before taking any action based on the information above. This content does not constitute medical advice or a recommendation.

Nerivio is indicated for acute and/or preventive treatment of migraine with or without aura in patients 12 years of age or older. It is a prescription use, a self-administered device for use in the home environment at the onset of migraine headache or aura for acute treatment, or every other day for preventive treatment.

Nerivio should not be used by people with uncontrolled epilepsy, an active implantable medical device, such as a pacemaker, hearing aid implant, or any implanted electronic device. Such use could cause electric shock, electrical interference or serious injuries or medical conditions.”

For full user instructions and safety information, please see the Nerivio User Manual.
Talk to your doctor to see if Nerivio is right for you.