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We have all experienced the annoying, relentless and throbbing pain associated with a headache. They can slow us down or even bring us to a complete stop. However, did you know that there are several different types of headaches, and knowing the type you've got can be the first step in effectively treating it?
ESTIMADA MAYO CLINIC:
Tengo 38 años y todos los meses alrededor de la fecha de la menstruación sufro de dolores de cabeza. En el transcurso del último año aproximadamente, los dolores parecen ser más fuertes y de mayor duración, a veces hasta tres días. ¿Por qué podría estar ocurriendo esto? ¿Existe alguna manera de prevenirlos o tratarlos?
No es raro que las mujeres sufran de dolores de cabeza antes o durante la menstruación. Dichas cefaleas suelen controlarse con medicamentos y, por lo general, no ameritan una evaluación profunda; pero cuando ocurren cambios en la gravedad o tipo de dolor de cabeza, tales como los que usted describe, es oportuno acudir al médico para descubrir si existe otra enfermedad subyacente que pueda ocasionar las cefaleas.
En la mayoría de casos, los dolores de cabeza vinculados a la menstruación se desencadenan a consecuencia de los cambios hormonales que particularmente ocurren durante los días previos al ciclo menstrual, cuando los niveles de estrógeno descienden de forma rápida. Las prostaglandinas, o sustancias químicas producidas naturalmente por el revestimiento uterino, también desempeñan una función en los dolores de cabeza.
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am 38 and have headaches each month around the first day of my period. Over the last year or so they seem to be getting more severe and lasting longer — sometimes up to three days. Why might this be happening? Are there ways to prevent or treat it?
ANSWER: It is not uncommon for women to have headaches before and during their periods. These headaches often can be effectively controlled with medication and usually don’t require in-depth evaluation. When, as you describe, there’s a change in the severity or type of headache, though, then it is time to see your doctor to find out if another underlying medical condition could be causing the headaches.
In most cases, headaches associated with menstruation are triggered by hormone changes. This is particularly true during the days leading up to a menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels fall rapidly. Prostaglandins, natural chemicals made in the lining of the uterus, play a role, too.
Due to these changes, many women have mild headaches, along with other symptoms like bloating and cramping, beginning just before the onset of a period and sometimes lasting a few days after it starts. These headaches tend to be mild. Over-the-counter pain medications are usually all that is needed to manage them.
In some women, though, the headaches that come with menstruation can be more severe. These headaches, called menstrual migraines, typically start two days before a period begins and last until the third day of menses. [...]
PHOENIX — David Dodick, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and an expert in concussion care and research, joined other medical experts and President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., at the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit today.
The summit is a White House initiative to raise awareness of the increasing rate of concussions among young athletes, and to develop an action plan to protect the safety and health of youth athletes who participate in sport. Medical experts, coaches, parents and players joined President Obama to talk about safe sports. [...]
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Stress and headaches: Stop the cycle
Stress can make your head hurt, and a headache can really stress you out. Either way, you can rein in the pain with these tips to keep stress under control: 1. Simplify. Ask yourself what really needs to be done and what can be dropped. 2. Delegate. Look over your to-do list and delegate what you can. 3. Laugh. Humor is a great way to relieve stress. 4. Relax. When you feel your muscles begin to tense, breathe deeply. Focus on inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly for at least 10 minutes. 5. Exercise. Regular exercise provides a healthy break from the stress of daily life.
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ROCHESTER, Minn. — Here are highlights from the April issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter. You may cite this publication as often as you wish. Reprinting is allowed for a fee. Mayo Clinic Health Letter attribution is required. Include the following subscription information as your editorial policies permit: Visit http://www.HealthLetter.MayoClinic.com or call toll-free for subscription information, 1-800-333-9037, extension 9771. Full newsletter text: Mayo Clinic Health Letter April 2014 (for journalists only).
How the placebo effect enhances healing
Researchers are working to better understand the placebo effect, how it works and how it can be harnessed to improve therapies. The April issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers what’s known about this phenomenon and how it may work to improve health.
The placebo effect is most evident in medical research. It’s a person’s belief that an inactive treatment is working just as well as the presumed active therapy being studied. Well-intentioned medical advances, when compared to the placebo treatment, sometimes derive most of their benefit from positive expectations rather than the therapy itself. [...]