Love Hormones to Relieve Headaches
Oxytocin hormone, which the hormone of love that comes every time we interact with a sense of compassion, can be used as a therapy to deal with complaints of recurrent headaches.
Oxytocin hormone normally arise when mothers breastfeed their babies. This hormone is also associated with the emergence of mutual trust and emotional bonding.
In a study of 40 patients given a single dose of oxytocin in the form of drug inhalation, 50 percent reported that they felt their headache was reduced by half. In fact, 27 percent of these patients say they don’t feel pain anymore an hour later.
In comparison, only 11 percent of patients given placebo spray said their headaches was reduced by half an hour after given sprays.
All patients in this study were patients with chronic headaches and suffer from migraines at least 15 times a month. This disease affects about 6 million Americans. According to David Yeomans, a researcher who did this research, all study participants had previously tried other therapies but do not get a satisfying result.
“These patients have tried various ways and no one can solve their complaints,” says Yeomans, a researcher from Stanford University School of Medicine.
The oxytocin hormone works in the nervous system by inhibiting the release of pain signals. The effects of this hormone is rather long, about 4 hours, far longer than any other headache therapies.
Currently there are only two therapies that demonstrate an effective result to cope with chronic headaches, the first is botox injections, which has been approved by the FDA in October 2010. Another therapy is a drug called topiramate.
Although both therapies showed significant results compared with placebo, but not all patients are helped by the therapy because the disease often relapse.
Both types of therapy also cause side effects, like topiramete that affect cognition and the effects of botox injections must be repeated every three months. Botox injections also have serious side effects, such as shortness of breath and difficulty in swallowing.
Meanwhile, oxytocin treatment did not show any side effects. But long-term effects of this therapy is unknown, besides that the number of study participants is too small. Therefore, further research will be conducted to determine the safety of this hormone of love is to drive out headaches.