Is It Normal To Get Headaches On Your Period

Fats For Progesterone Support

Is it normal to have headaches during pregnancy?

Progesterone is a key hormone that both men and women need which has a large regulation role. It keeps estrogen and testosterone in balance. Some of the best foods to support progesterone are fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, cruciferous vegetables and sulfur containing foods like the onion family and mushrooms, shellfish, oysters and other mollusks, high vitamin C foods like camu camu, sweet potato, strawberries, kiwi, papaya, pumpkin and orange, and super foods like liver.

How Can I Tell The Difference Between Period Flu And Covid

It can be a little tricky, Dr. Wider says. The period flu is obviously not caused by a virus, but some of the symptoms can mimic COVID-19, including fatigue, lethargy, headaches, and gastrointestinal upset or changes in bowel habits, she says.

Just a quick refresher on the most common symptoms of COVID-19, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention :

  • Fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Of course, if youre not sure whats happening with you, Dr. Wider says you should take a COVID-19 test. Just practice safety methods while you wait for the results, like wearing a mask when youre around others and social distancing.

Preventative Menstrual Migraine Treatments

Triptans: This medication can also be taken to prevent future migraines from happening. In one study, using triptans for a few days before the start of the period helped reduce both severity and frequency of menstrual migraine headaches .

Hormone stabilization techniques: Preventative treatment using hormone therapy may help to decrease the frequency of severe menstrual migraines. In one study, researchers looked at how two treatments with hormonal contraception affected migraines. The majority of participants were prescribed combined oral contraceptives and additionally took estrogen during the week of their withdrawal bleed , which helped to make the drop in estrogen less severe. Fewer participants used the estrogen patch during their normal menstrual period to prevent the drop in hormones. Among all participants, eight out of 10 people reported a decrease in their menstrual migraines and were able to reduce their pain-medication use by half .

Continuous birth control: Using a form of continuous/extended-use birth control may be an option to decrease menstrually related migraine attacks or headaches. People who took extended use combined oral contraceptives had fewer headache symptoms, and were more productive . Talk to your healthcare provider about extended use hormonal birth control, though this may not be the right therapy for everyone, especially those with migraine with auraâsee the section below on hormonal birth control for more info.

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What Are Menstrual Migraine Symptoms

Menstrual migraine feels like any other form of migraine but it tends to last longer and may cause more nausea, Dr. Ailani says. According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Headache Pain, menstrual migraine attacks may even be more painful than other types.2 Typical migraine symptoms include: 1

  • Throbbing, pounding, or pulsating pain on one side of your head or around your eyes or cheeks
  • Head pain that worsens with physical activity
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Head pain that lasts for several hours and up to several days
  • Head pain thats severe enough to make you miss your usual activities

Some people also experience migraine with aura, which is usually characterized by visual disturbances such as flashes of light, dots or blind spots, blurred vision, and vision loss. These symptoms usually show up before the migraine attack and go away in an hour or less. However, according to a 2021 study published in the journal South Dakota Medicine, having a menstrual migraine with aura is not very common.3

How To Manage Bad Headache Before Period

Why You Get Headaches On Your PeriodAnd How To Deal With It!

Being female comes with its own struggles, especially when it comes to headaches. Fortunately, there’s help.

Over-the-counter pain relievers can be of great help. They may soothe your pain soon after your headache begins.

Triptans are another option. You might feel their effects 2 hours after you take them.

You can also try acupuncture. This ancient Chinese practice may lower the number of tension headaches you get and could prevent a migraine before period.

Many women also report using biofeedback. Biofeedback may relieve your headaches by helping you monitor how your body responds to stress. Apart from biofeedback, you can also try relaxation techniques.

Sometimes, holding an ice pack to the painful area is the best solution. Simply wrap the ice pack in a towel in order to protect your skin.

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Youre Hungry Or Dehydrated

According to an old 2008 research review, when you get your period, the fluctuations in your hormones can make you more likely to get dehydrated, which, in turn, can make you feel light-headed.

This is because periods can cause edema . Your body reacts to this in the same way it reacts to dehydration. With edema, fluids seep out of your bloodstream and into body tissues.

Some people also eat or drink less because of their menstrual cramps . Skipping calories your body needs can make you feel dizzy.

How Is Menstrual Migraine Diagnosed

There are no tests available for menstrual migraine. The most accurate way to tell if you have menstrual migraine is to keep a diary for at least three months recording both your migraine attacks and the days you menstruate.

For menstrual migraine to be diagnosed migraine should occur predominately between two days before and up to three days into menstruation, in at least two out of three consecutive menstrual cycles.

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Keep Your Glutamate Levels Low

Glutamate has been implicated as one of the main migraine triggers since the 1970s. Our brain has glutamate scavengers that help clear of any excesses of glutamate. One study published in Biology of Reproduction found that estrogen and progesterone are neuroprotective and serve as glutamate scavengers. When these hormones drop dramatically close to the last and first days of the menstrual cycle, glutamate can build up in neurons, causing damage. Avoid any large sources of glutamate or synthetic forms found in eggs, milk, wheat, and soy products.

Home Remedies And Lifestyle Changes

Is it normal to get headaches during pregnancy, and what should I do about them?

Symptoms of PMS are different from one woman to another. The severity could also go from mild to extreme depending on your body, your diet, hormones, and your lifestyle as a whole.

Consulting an OB-GYN will also be a great recommendation for those with more complicated symptoms and experiences.

For those women who are getting mild to moderate symptoms, there are some home remedies and lifestyle guidelines that you could follow to try and ease the symptoms of discomfort during your period.

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Recommended Lifestyle Adjustments For Migraines And Headaches

Not all lifestyle changes are studied, but these recommendations are fairly standard for how to help you cope with your headaches. Give them a try, see what works best for you.

Get enough sleep: Since fatigue and sleep disturbances are linked to being migraine/headache triggers , be sure to adjust your bedtime accordingly so that you wake up relaxed and well rested. If you commonly have headaches in the morning after waking up, it may be a good idea to get checked for sleep apnea .

Reduce your stress levels: Stress, whether itâs particular events, feelings, or time periods, are linked to triggering migraines and headache . For this reason, stress management techniques like relaxation therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and biofeedback could help . Itâs easier said than done, but prioritize de-stressing as best you can.

Avoid extreme weather: Weather changes, both hot and cold, can trigger migraines and headaches . Check the weather forecast and plan ahead. Be extra cautious about extreme heat and sun exposure, as exhaustion and dehydration can also cause headaches .

Find a dark and quiet space: For people experiencing a migraine headache, light and sound can aggravate migraine symptoms . Some people find relief by lying in dark, quiet rooms.

The Bottom Line On Period Headaches

If you’re concerned about your headaches, start to track their frequency and duration it will help your doc determine an accurate diagnosis and find the right treatment options for you, Dr. Edokpayi says.

When is it time to make an appointment? “Patients should see their physician if headaches are becoming more severe or are affecting their day-to-day activities,” says Dr. Edokpayi. “If you find yourself lying in bed in a darkened room during your menstrual cycle because your headaches are so debilitating, then it’s time to see your doctor.”

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How To Deal With Menstrual Headaches

Do you struggle with menstrual headaches?

Do you have these headaches before, during or after menstruation?

What are your symptoms and are these usually migraine headaches?

If so how do you get rid of them and what kind of remedies do you use?

What causes them and how long do they last?

These and other questions will be addressed here.

Can Birth Control Help Relieve Migraine Attacks

Top 10 Symptoms that are Perfectly Normal during Menstruation

For many people, birth control actually helps prevent migraine attacks. Consistent, correct use may prevent or reduce attacks by providing a stable estrogen level throughout the month, and decreasing or eliminating the pre-period estrogen plunge that triggers attacks.

When youâre not on hormonal birth control, you experience a surge of estrogen during your menstrual cycle that causes your body to ovulate and release a mature egg. Then if the egg isnât fertilized, estrogen levels drop dramatically before you get your period. The hormones in all combination birth control methods, whether pill, patch, or ring, keep estrogen levels steady to stop an egg from being released, which prevents pregnancy while also preventing the estrogen surge and plunge that can lead to attacks.

Need help finding a birth control that can help you avoid migraine attacks? Nurx can recommend the right birth control for your needs and deliver it to your door.

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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.

Hormonal Headache Vs Menstrual Migraine

While a hormonal headache and a menstrual migraine are both caused by fluctuating hormones, the difference between the two involves the severity of the head pain.

A hormonal headache may be mild to moderate and cause a nagging ache or throb. Its a nuisance and uncomfortable, but it might not interfere with your day-to-day routine.

A menstrual migraine, on the other hand, can be debilitating. According to the National Headache Foundation, menstrual migraine affects about 60 percent of women.

If you regularly experience migraine attacks, you may be susceptible to menstrual migraine.

A menstrual migraine differs from a regular migraine in that it isnt usually associated with an aura. Aura refers to flashing lights, zigzag lines, or other sensory experiences that some people experience before a migraine attack.

A menstrual migraine is characterized by severe throbbing that can start on one side of the forehead and travel to the other. The severity can make it difficult to keep your eyes open, work, or even think.

Treatment for a hormonal headache and a menstrual migraine depend on the severity.

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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.

Treatment Menstrually Related Migraine

Menstrual Migraine Relief (Headaches During My Period)

As you review these, remember that all medications have side effects, and you should discuss them with your doctor.

In general, MRM can be effectively managed with strategies similar to those used for non-MRM. Behavioral management is an important concept in menstrual as well as nonmenstrual migraine. Menstruation is one of many factors that put women at risk for migraine disease. Hormonal changes are just one of many potential trigger factors.

Most women living with menstrually related migraine are treated with acute medications. When attacks are very frequent, severe, or disabling, preventive treatment may be required.

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Avoid Migraine Triggers In General In The Days Leading Up To Your Period

Dont skip meals or fast, and avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners, alcohol and highly caffeinated drinks, notes the Mayo Clinic. Keep your sleep patterns as normal as possible, and try to either avoid stress or learn how to cope with it.

You can also be proactive about preventing migraines in general by asking about certain vitamin supplements, like magnesium.

How To Prevent Period Flu

If period flu is a regular thing for you, its more than understandable that youd want to stop symptoms before they even start. There are a few potential hacks you can try, according to womens health expert Jennifer Wider, MD. Preparation is key for managing and preventing some of these uncomfortable symptoms, she says. Her advice:

  • Ask your doctor about hormonal birth control. When you get your period, the estrogen levels in your body drop. Taking hormonal birth control can help keep them more consistent and lower your risk of developing period flu symptoms.
  • Take an NSAID early. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen can help tackle symptoms like achiness, joint pain, and headaches. Taking a NSAID before the symptoms even start can help prevent them, Dr. Wider says. So, if you know that you tend to get period flu symptoms three days before your period arrives, youll want to try taking an NSAID four days beforehand.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration can exacerbate all the symptoms, Dr. Wider says. And, she says, avoiding alcohol and caffeine can do you a solid, too.
  • Get some sleep. Sure, you probably hear this advice a lot, but its important since Dr. Wider says that sleep deprivation can make symptoms worse. FWIW: The National Sleep Foundation recommends aiming to get seven to nine hours a night.
  • Exercise regularly. Getting in regular workouts and keeping them up around the time your period flu arrives can help you feel better, Dr. Wider says.

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Fatigue Or Low Energy

As your period approaches, your body shifts gears from getting ready for a pregnancy to getting ready to menstruate.

Shifting hormones disturb your sleep patterns and make you feel tired. Changes in estrogen and progesterone may also increase core body temperature, especially when sleeping.

Youre more likely to get good sleep when your core body temperature decreases.

If I Do Feel Like Crap Around My Period How Can I Find Some Relief

Why You Get Headaches On Your PeriodAnd How To Deal With It!

These are the best cures for those pesky flu-like symptoms:

  • Pop a NSAID. These are technically known as prostaglandin synthetase inhibitors. “They block the making of more prostaglandins,” Dr. Minkin says. “So the key there is taking them early when you start feeling achy and fluish.” These pills include aspirin, Motrin, and Advil.
  • Move around. Exercise helps everything . “Exercise has been shown over and over again to help with menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms overall,” Dr. Dweck says. Aerobic exercise will bring you right back to life by also reducing water retention and excess fluid in your joints.
  • Talk to your doc about birth control. Your estrogen levels decline when you get your period, as you learned. So taking birth control can be a huge help. “Birth control pills keep your hormone levels steady throughout the month by preventing ovulation,” Dr. Dweck says.
  • Monitor your diet. Instead of upping your caffeine intake to stay awake or eating more junk food , which can create inflammation that leads to flu-like joint pain, try drinking tea . And next time you want to go in on that entire bag of potato chips, try a snack lower in sodium instead.

If no intervention is really working for you and you keep feeling horrible when flow is comin’ to town, speak with your gynecologist. They can do a proper workup and help you feel A-okay when your period comes your way.

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