A few weeks ago, someone left a comment suggesting I try electorlytes to stave off migraines. I am too lazy to go back and find the post and comment... but thank you to whoever it was who made the suggestion, because I tried it (honestly, I am at the point with headaches where I'll try just about anything that doesn't cost a bunch of money and/or seem dangerous) and I believe I successfully staved off a migraine this weekend. Also, it seems to help with the garden variety headaches I've been getting lately. So, whoever makes Propel is doing well out of me right now.
I'm glad it helps, because nothing else was helping, and when I asked my doctor she agreed that it seems that the trigger is hormonal and well... as we age....
But I'm also frustrated by the fact that the electrolytes help but no one seems to know why. I'm not dehydrated: I sit in an office all day and I drink plenty of water, but not so much that I could possibly have a weird water poisoning type thing going on. So it is a mystery.
Also bothering me: why, all of the sudden, do I need to drink electrolyte mixes to avoid headaches during certain points in my cycle? What the heck changed? Is this normal? Is it a sign that something is missing from my diet? After all, "sports drinks" is not a food group.
I've done some searching, and turned up an article about hormonal changes in menopause and fluid balance, which might eventually lead to something useful if I follow the trail long enough. From the bit I've followed so far and my vague memories of my endocrinology class in college, I suspect this is a not altogether surprising side effect of the hormonal wackiness of perimenopause and that given my options, drinking Propel is probably a decent response.
To really know, I'd need to dig some more and maybe even chase up my old endrocinology textbook and look at some regulatory pathways. But I don't want to sink a bunch of time into this. I have other things to do. I want to be able to ask my doctor and get solid advice about how to handle this phase of my life. I like my doctor and generally think she's on top of things, but it seems like the medical consensus on any concern of a perimenopausal woman is to shrug your shoulders and say "as we age...."
At some point, I'll cave and go trawling through PubMed and see what I can find out about aging as a woman. I suspect I'm not going to turn up many definitive answers. It seems to me that we've been a bit fixated on the question of whether or not hormone replacement therapy is a good idea. Fine, that is a reasonable priority to have. But I'm curious about more basic things. We've treated menopause (and aging in general) like a disease and not a normal life phase, and this has perhaps obscured our view of what is normal and healthy for aging women. Sure, interventions that will make this phase of my life more pleasant would be nice, but I also just want to understand what's going on.
I guess I should get used to not having answers. You'd think the "yeah, your baby really can't handle it when you eat dairy even though your entire digestive system is between the cow's milk and the baby, and no, we don't know why, just have almond milk instead" thing would have prepared me for this. But it didn't. I'm affronted anew. Where's our basic curiousity? Come on, the milk thing is just weird!
Still, there's not much I can do about it. So I guess, I'll just go to bed. I finished my Propel while writing this post, and I don't have a headache anymore.