What Are The Treatment Options For Period Migraines
The good news is that there are plenty of treatment options if youre having period-related migraines. The first line of treatment recommended typically involves things you can try at home. Always, my first approach is to minimize lifestyle triggers that could be exacerbating the migraines outside of hormones, says Phillips, such as avoiding stress , cutting out foods that you already know can trigger your migraines, correcting irregular sleep patterns, and staying away from second-hand smoke.
What Are Hormones What Is Estrogen
Hormones are often called your bodys chemical messengers. Theyre in your organs, tissues and bloodstream and theyre made by the endocrine glands. Examples of endocrine glands include your thyroid gland, adrenal glands and pituitary gland. If you have too little of a certain hormone, or too much, that can throw your entire system off balance.
Estrogen and progesterone are the two main sex hormones in women. Estrogen causes female physical features, sets off puberty and aids with reproduction. It also affects your cholesterol, controls your menstrual cycle, protects bone health and affects your heart, skin, bones, brain and other tissues. Its mostly produced by your ovaries.
Your levels of estrogen change. Theyre at the highest amount in the middle of your cycle and the lowest amount when youre on your period. When youre in menopause, they drop very low.
What Causes Period Migraines
A quick biology refresher for people with periods: Though most people only bleed for three to five days, your body goes through the menstrual cycle all month long. The levels of both estrogen and progesterone drop off sharply at the end of each monthly cycle, signaling to your body that its time to reset your cycle and begin your period. Dr. Lucky Sekhon, a New York City-based, board-certified OB-GYN and fertility specialist, tells Allure that migraines that show up two or three days before your period can be triggered by this steep hormone drop.
If you switched birth control and began to experience menstrual migraines shortly after, that switch may be the culprit. Its possible that a higher dose of estrogen in your birth control pills can make the hormone drop even steeper. Sometimes, all that is required to improve or prevent migraines is switching to a pill with a lower estrogen content, says Sekhon.
A 2013 literature review published in the Journal of Headache and Pain suggests that people who have migraines might even want to stick to progestin-only pills if they are going to use an oral contraceptive.
And menstrual migraines may be worse for people who are approaching menopause.
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What Is Menstrual Migraine
First, letâs make sure weâre all on the same page about what âmenstrual migraineâ actually means. Menstrual migraine is a type of migraine that always happens just before or at the beginning of your period. Apart from that, theyâre no different from any other migraine attacks, although they can be longer and more painful than non-menstrual attacks .
How To Treat A Hormonal Headache With Homeopathy
ByMadeleine Innocent | Submitted On February 02, 2010
In learning how to treat a hormonal headache with homeopathy, you may resolve not just your headache, not just your hormonal symptoms, but more, much more.
Hormonal headaches indicate that you only get headaches, or that particular type of headache around your period. This means that your period causes you quite a lot of grief, and you are likely to have other symptoms.
Hormonal headaches, and other symptoms are often seen as a hormonal imbalance and the medical treatment usually includes synthetic hormones. However, synthetic hormones do much long term damage, even if they do seem to relief your symptoms short term.
I donât agree with the idea that you necessarily have a hormonal imbalance. I feel that your period is simply a time of greater stress. If your health is only just keeping you level, any extra load will tip the balance, and down you go.
In using homeopathy as a home prescriber, you first need to know that you must be able to see a match of your symptoms to those of the most appropriate medicine. Three strong keynotes symptoms is enough of a match to make things happen.
Belladonna is a common home prescribing medicine with far reaching abilities. Never underestimate the ability of this medicine to resolve maladies from fever, to meniereâs syndrome, from headaches to high blood pressure.
Here, the focus is on the menstrual cycle and headaches.
The general keynotes of Belladonna include:
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Hormones And Head Pain: Whats The Deal
As with most things period related, hormones are to blame. Before your period, estrogen and progesterone levels rise. Then, those levels come crashing down as a signal to your uterus to let that lining go.
This fall in estrogen can trigger headaches. Since birth control regulates this hormonal roller coaster, for some people it can decrease period headaches. For many, birth control makes period headaches worse.
If you have a NuvaRing, headaches during periods are even more common.
Pro tip: If youre already prone to migraines, you should not use the NuvaRing, as it increases your chances of blood clots and continued headaches.
If youre on a hormonal pill based birth control, sometimes skipping the placebo week can get rid of period headaches .
If you noticed your headaches got much worse after starting hormonal birth control, talk to your doctor. You may need to switch pills or your method of birth control to keep headaches at bay.
Though hormones are a background cause of all period headaches, there are four types of menstrual brain pain that are all slightly different.
Consider What Caused It
If you can determine the cause of your migraine, you may be able to take additional steps to find relief. For instance, are you getting a migraine because you havent had enough to eat today? Some migraines can be triggered by a lack of food, which can cause . If you think your headache is triggered by hunger, eat something thats easy on the stomach such as saltine crackers. This, in combination with your medications, may give you additional relief. The National Headache Foundation says some people may crave carbohydrates just before a migraine hits. If this is the case, listen to your body and have a snack.
Dehydration can cause headaches too, and may make your migraine worse. If you havent had enough fluids today, get a drink of water. Sip slowly to avoid triggering nausea or vomiting.
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How Do You Know If You Have A Hormonal Headache Or A Menstrual Migraine
These types of headaches can rear their ugly head the week before you are due or even during your period. The pain is a throbbing which starts on the side of your head. It can cause you to feel sick, be sick, avoid all light and you may also see an aura.
If this sounds like something you face each month, then your hormones could be causing a menstrual migraine.
Menstrual Migraine Is Tough To Treat
Menstrual and menstrually related migraine can be the hardest kind of migraine to treat. can be pretty severe, they can last several days, and they can be quite debilitating, she says.
Even if you have migraine attacks only around the time of your period, for many women that may still mean five days or more a month, says Hindiyeh. In that case, its really time to talk to your doctor about daily preventive treatment options for migraine, she says.
Generally speaking, there are many treatment options for the prevention of migraine and menstrual migraine, says Hindiyeh. Heres a rundown of top medications and lifestyle modifications that can help reduce the frequency and severity of menstrual and menstrually related migraine attacks.
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Why Do I Get A Migraine After My Period
Some women get migraines during the time in their cycle when the hormone estrogen is increasing . In addition, migraines are associated with changes in the hormone progesterone, which is high during the second half of the menstrual cycle. In some women, these hormone changes trigger migraine headaches. However, migraine headaches can also occur in women who do not have any obvious hormonal changes or other triggers..
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Menstrual Migraines
- Am I experiencing a menstrual migraine or another type of migraine?
- Should I change any of the medications Im taking?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- What medications should I take?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A migraine is more than a bad headache. Not only can menstrual migraines get severe, but women have reported that they can be even worse than a migraine that occurs when theyre not on their period. Talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms. There are preventative measures and treatment options. A menstrual migraine might not be something you just have to live with every month.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2021.
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When To Seek Help
Anyone who regularly has menstrual migraine episodes should contact a doctor. They may refer the person to a migraine specialist who can help develop an effective treatment plan.
It is also important to consult a doctor if migraine episodes are getting worse, if treatments are not working, or if any treatment is causing side effects.
Sometimes, migraine symptoms resemble those of other health issues. A person should receive emergency care if they experience:
- a headache that is worse than any in the past
- a sudden headache that feels explosive or violent
- a severe headache with neck stiffness
- a headache that worsens over 24 hours
- a headache that follows a head injury
- a headache that occurs soon after activities such as weightlifting, aerobics, jogging, or sex
- a severe headache in just one eye, with redness in that eye
- a headache and any of the following:
- confusion or disorientation
Does This Feel Like Your Typical Headache Or
They may present a little differently than a typical headache or migraine. Menstrual headaches can range from mild to severe when it comes to pain, says Dr. Talebian, and they tend to start on one side of your head before spreading .
Classic migraine symptoms could strike, too for instance, you might feel super-sensitive to light and sick to your stomach.
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Is It Common To Get Migraines Before Your Period
I get migraines a few days before my period starts. Is it common to have migraines as part of PMS? Alaire*
Yes. Lots of women who have migraines get them as part of their PMS symptoms. Doctors believe that changing hormone levels are to blame for this type of headache, which is known as a menstrual migraine.
Take some steps to try to stop these headaches so you feel better. You could start by taking an over-the-counter medicine like ibuprofen to see if that works. If you often get headaches near your period, try taking the medicine for a few days around that time, even if your headaches haven’t started yet. Doing this might help you avoid getting a headache. Getting enough sleep, not skipping meals, exercising regularly, and managing stress are other ways to help prevent headaches.
If a headache does come on, sometimes a cool cloth or ice pack wrapped in a towel can help. You can also try lying down in a quiet, dark room.
If these things don’t work for you, or if your headaches are severe enough that you miss school or other activities, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend a prescription medicine or refer you to a headache expert.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
Whats The Relationship Between Hormones And Headaches
Headaches in women, especially migraines, are related to changes in the levels of estrogen. Levels of estrogen drop immediately before the start of your menstrual flow .
Premenstrual migraines regularly occur during or after the time when the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, drop to their lowest levels.
Migraine attacks usually improve during pregnancy. However, some women have reported that their migraines started during the first trimester of pregnancy, and then went away.
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Hormonal Contraception For People With Migraine
People with migraine with aura are not recommended to use combined hormonal contraceptives . Having migraines with aura is a risk factor for experiencing a stroke , plus taking combined hormonal contraceptives up to doubles that risk . The combination of these risk factors is associated with a 3x increased risk of stroke, compared to people with migraine who donât use combined hormonal contraceptives .
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people with chronic migraine are safe to use certain forms of contraception:
any form of emergency contraception
Most people who experience migraine without aura can use combined hormonal contraceptives, too, as the risk of increased stroke is outweighed by the benefits that the pill offers however, people with other risk factors for stroke, such as older age and cigarette smoking, may be advised not to use combined hormonal birth control .
People with non-migraine headaches do not have any restrictions on hormonal birth control .
Some birth control options may be safer than others, depending on your age and other risk factors . Speak to your healthcare provider to figure out what is the best contraceptive method for you.
to track your headaches and see how they appear in relation to your cycle.
What Are Symptoms Of A Period
Common signs that your period is approaching are:
- You’re breaking out. Acne is a common problem at this time of the month. …
- Your breasts are sore or heavy. …
- You’re tired but you can’t sleep. …
- You have cramps. …
- You’re constipated or have diarrhea. …
- You’re bloated and gassy. …
- You’re having mood swings.
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What Foods Are Good For Period Headaches
__% of women suffer from period headaches, which are usually located around the forehead. Food is a factor that affects the intensity of your period headaches. It is suggested to avoid or minimize the consumption of high-fat foods and sugar during menstruation. If the cause of your period headaches is caffeine withdrawal, you can try to reduce your caffeine intake, but be careful as you may also suffer from headaches. Other foods that are good for period headaches are tomatoes and peppers. You should eat them raw or only slightly cooked. So instead of grabbing a pain killer whenever you have a headache, try to evaluate the dietary intake of your body..
Which Treatment Option Is Best For You
Keeping a diary of your headaches, including when they occur in relation to your menstrual cycle, as well as their severity and response to treatment, will help your doctor determine the presence of menstrual migraine. There are not any blood tests or any type of imaging that can be done to diagnose this, says Dr. David. Its purely done based on the history.
A headache and menstrual diary can also help you and your doctor identify the best treatment for you. Women with menstrual migraine who have painful cramps may benefit more from a NSAID strategy with a triptan for rescue. Those who have predictable cycles and migraine attacks may benefit from a mini-prevention strategy. Those who dont have regular cycles can try other options.
It is also important to discuss with your doctor any personal risk factors you may have for taking oral contraception, such as an increased risk of stroke, heart disease or blood clots, as hormonal birth control can affect women with migraine differently. Please let your provider know if you have migraine with aura when discussing hormonal options.
The American Migraine Foundation is committed to improving the lives of those living with this debilitating disease. For more of the latest news and information on migraine, visit the AMF Resource Library. For help finding a healthcare provider, check out our Find a Doctor tool. Together, we are as relentless as migraine.
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How The Menstrual Cycle Can Cause Migraine
Women who experience menstrual migraine may be sensitive to hormonal fluctuations experienced just prior to the onset of menstruation. Just before menstruation there is a natural drop in progesterone levels.
The two important females hormones involved are progesterone and estrogen.
Progesterone is a natural steroid hormone involved in the female menstrual cycle that stimulates the uterus to prepare for pregnancy. It is a naturally occurring hormone in the female body that helps a healthy female function normally.
Estrogens or oestrogens , are a group of compounds that are important in the menstrual and reproductive cycles. They are also naturally occurring steroid hormones in women that promote the development and maintenance of female features of the body.
It is important to note that estrogens are used as part of some oral contraceptives and in estrogen replacement therapy for some postmenopausal women.
Throughout the natural menstrual cycle the levels of these hormones fluctuate. During the cycle, the levels of progesterone and estrogens also change in relation to each other. See the image below for how these levels change throughout the cycle.
These fluctuations are normal and part of being a healthy and fertile woman.
Several research studies confirm that migraine is significantly more likely to occur in association with falling estrogen in the late luteal/early follicular phase of the menstrual cycle.
Is estrogen withdrawal the sole trigger for menstrual migraine?