Take Control Of Your Hormonal Migraines
If youve suffered from a migraine, you know the symptoms: throbbing sensation behind the eyes or temples, light and sound sensitivity, and even dizziness and nausea, to name a few. But sometimes they creep in when your body is already experiencing another type of pain and discomfort. Have you ever noticed that your migraines are more frequent or intense leading up to or during your menstruation cycle? If so, youre not alone. Unfortunately, migraines affect approximately 1 in 7 people, and women are affected 3 times as much as men. So why do women have it so much worse when it comes to migraines, and what does the menstrual cycle have to do with it?
Hormone levels in women strongly correlate with the frequency of migraines, due to the common fluctuations in estrogen with the menstrual cycle. The variance of hormone levels that come around the time of your period can greatly affect your migraines and worsen existing headaches. The drop in estrogen before menstruation can lead to headaches before and during the time of cycle each month. The migraines can last a few days and up to the entire week of pre-menstruation and during menstruation, depending on your body. During pregnancy, many women may experience a relief from their migraines as estrogen rises and stays high for the duration of the pregnancy.
What Medications Are Used To Relieve Migraine Pain
Over-the-counter medications are effective for some people with mild to moderate migraines. The main ingredients in pain relieving medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen and caffeine.
Three over-the-counter products approved by the Food and Drug Administration for migraine headaches are:
- Excedrin® Migraine.
- Advil® Migraine.
- Motrin® Migraine Pain.
Be cautious when taking over-the-counter pain relieving medications. Sometimes overusing them can cause analgesic-rebound headaches or a dependency problem. If you’re taking any over-the-counter pain medications more than two to three times a week, report that to your healthcare provider. They may suggest prescription medications that may be more effective.
Prescription drugs for migraine headaches include:
Triptan class of drugs :
- Co-enzyme Q10.
Drugs to relieve migraine pain come in a variety of formulations including pills, tablets, injections, suppositories and nasal sprays. You and your healthcare provider will discuss the specific medication, combination of medications and formulations to best meet your unique headache pain.
Drugs to relieve nausea are also prescribed, if needed.
All medications should be used under the direction of a headache specialist or healthcare provider familiar with migraine therapy. As with any medication, it’s important to carefully follow the label instructions and your healthcare providers advice.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- Will my child grow out of their migraines?
- What medications do you recommend for me?
- What should I change about my lifestyle to prevent my migraine headaches?
- Should I get tested?
- What type of migraine do I have?
- What can my friends and family do to help?
- Are my migraines considered chronic?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Migraine headaches can be devastating and make it impossible to go to work, school or experience other daily activities. Fortunately, there are some ways to possibly prevent a migraine and other ways to help you manage and endure the symptoms. Work with your healthcare provider to keep migraines from ruling your life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2021.
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What Causes Period Migraines
Changes in estrogen levels can trigger migraines. For some, increases in estrogen around ovulation can tip off head pain, but usually, its the decrease in estrogen during menses that prompts a migraine, Dr. ONeal says.
Migraines also may become more frequent during other times of hormonal change. These include your first trimester of pregnancy, when estrogen quickly rises during the postpartum period, when hormones are shifting back to prepregnancy status and during menopause, when estrogen is decreasing.
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How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or A Sinus Headache
Many people confuse a sinus headache with a migraine because pain and pressure in the sinuses, nasal congestion, and watery eyes often occur with migraine. To find out if your headache is sinus or migraine, ask yourself these questions:
In addition to my sinus symptoms, do I have:
If you answer yes to two or three of these questions, then most likely you have migraine with sinus symptoms. A true sinus headache is rare and usually occurs due to sinus infection. In a sinus infection, you would also likely have a fever and thick nasal secretions that are yellow, green, or blood-tinged. A sinus headache should go away with treatment of the sinus infection.
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Protect Your Sleep Stress And Hydration
There is always a stress factor at play when we see migraines and menses interacting. Lower the total perceived and experienced stress your body is experiencing by going through different areas of stress in your life and cutting your load. Get adequate rest so your body has time to repair. Hydration to ensure all the necessary minerals are absorbed into your tissues. With stress reduction, sleep, and hydration your body will begin to regulate itself and heal.
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Dont Get Caught Without Your Sunglasses
Summer can be tough on the eyes. Invest in some good sunglasses. Polarized lenses are great because, in addition to darkening, they cut glare. If you can go for optical grade lenses, do. They arent as likely to produce distortion as inexpensive sunglasses. Still troubled by light from around your glasses? Try a baseball cap or another type of hat to block out the sun that comes in from above the sunglasses.
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Can Herbal Products Or Dietary Supplements Prevent Migraines
A number of herbal products and dietary supplements are available for the prevention of migraines. These include, in particular, coenzyme Q10, magnesium, feverfew, butterbur and riboflavin .
There is a lack of conclusive in this area, so it’s not possible to say whether these products can prevent migraines. Some studies suggest that magnesium and a certain feverfew extract can reduce the number of migraine attacks. But the quality of these studies isn’t good enough to prove that these products have a preventive effect.
Although dietary supplements and herbal medicinal products are often considered to be well tolerated and safe, they may still have side effects. For instance, feverfew extracts can cause gastrointestinal problems. These products can also lead to drug-drug interactions with other medications.
How To Prevent Headaches During Menopause
Headaches are a common symptom of menopause. Menopausal headaches can range from mild, dull pain to unbearable migraines that interfere with life. Menopausal headaches are caused by fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone, which cause blood vessels todilate and constrict. Women are five times more likely to get headaches than men, especially menopausal women. There are however, several ways of preventing and managing menopausal headaches.
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What Are The Types Of Headaches What Type Of Headache Is A Migraine
There are over 150 types of headaches, divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. A migraine is a primary headache, meaning that it isnt caused by a different medical condition. Primary headache disorders are clinical diagnoses, meaning theres no blood test or imaging study to diagnose it. A secondary headache is a symptom of another health issue.
Regulate Your Body Temperature
Migraines have been associated with temperature changes, including exposure to cold and heat. You can try to control your environmental temperature or dress in a way that prevents you from getting too hot or too cold.
If you feel a migraine coming on, or if you know that you have been exposed to one of your migraine triggers, using an ice pack on your neck, shoulders or forehead can reduce your chances of developing a full-blown migraine. Alternatively, using a warm pad might do the trick.
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How To Prevent Migraines Before And During Exercise
What can you do before you exercise to stave off a migraine attack? Consistent sleep, eating and exercise schedules contribute to our overall health. Sticking to a regular schedule, especially with an exercise program, is advantageous to those who get migraines.
Thats because migraine sufferers may vomit, lose sleep and constantly have their daily cycles interrupted. They may feel fatigued or unmotivated to go for a run or hit the gym. But dont give up.
Developing a regular exercise schedule and adhering to it over time will afford you better results. Below are some other things you can do to mitigate the possibility of getting a migraine before and while you exercise.
How Can I Prevent Menstrual Migraines
Migraines are excruciating headaches that can make the simplest tasks impossible. Getting out of bed in the morning with a migraine can seem like a futile exercise, let alone actually going to work. The pain can be a pounding sensation, like a hammer in the head or sharp and shooting, like being stabbed with a needle or a knife.
Menstrual migraines are a type of headache that can occur around a womans menstrual period. In fact, 50 percent of women experience this phenomenon. Menstrual migraines tend to be more severe than typical migraines. They are triggered by the hormonal changes that occur before the start of a womans period.
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Nasty Weather Doesn’t Have To Mean A Nasty Migraine For Many Of Us An Approaching Storm Signals The Start Of A Series Of Weather Related Migraines
Dark clouds don’t just mean “take cover” to a person with Migraine. For many of us, an approaching storm signals the unavoidable beginning of another raging attack.My friend Nan used to say she was a human barometer – she could predict a storm before the weatherman. Can you sense migraine weather on the horizon?
How To Prevent An Ocular Migraine
Ocular migraines, while not very common, can be painful for those who suffer from them. Ocular migraines, which are sometimes called visual or retinol migraines, may cause vision loss or blindness in one eye for a short period of time. This can seem severe or dangerous, so you will want to visit a doctor if you suffer from frequent ocular migraines. Be sure to immediately stop what you are doing and rest until you regain full vision. You will want to schedule a prompt visit to an eye doctor in Orlando so they can check your eyesight and recommend prevention and treatments if you continue to suffer from anymore migraines. We recommend a few techniques to prevent ocular migraines from occurring.
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Are Migraine Headaches More Common In Women Than Men
Yes. About three out of four people who have migraines are women. Migraines are most common in women between the ages of 20 and 45. At this time of life women often have more job, family, and social duties. Women tend to report more painful and longer lasting headaches and more symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. All these factors make it hard for a woman to fulfill her roles at work and at home when migraine strikes.
Pay Attention To The Weather
Changes in the weather can impact your migraine patterns. High humidity and hot temperatures can stimulate headaches, as well as rainy days. If the weather becomes uncomfortable for you, you may need to step inside and take a break from the outdoors. Of course, you cant always avoid going outside, but you can minimize your time spent in certain headache-inducing weather.
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Treating Hormonal Migraines Naturally
Just as every migraine is different, so is every person. There are many different solutions out there, so give a couple a try and move onto the next if you arent finding relief however, give regimens time to work. Often, it can take several weeks to start seeing results using natural measures.
Six of the most effective ways to treat hormonal migraines include:
Supplements One of the most common causes of hormonal migraines is a nutrient deficiency. Taking supplements like Vitamin D, B6, B12, B1 and magnesium can help regulate nerve and muscle function, as well as blood sugar levels.
Lifestyle Food and sleep are both common migraine triggers. Making sure you get enough sleep and are maintaining a balanced diet may help regulate common hormonal changes.
Diet Many women have found that they can treat their migraines by making significant changes to their diet, such as cutting out gluten and dairy as well as reducing sugar intake. Keto and Intermittent fasting are good options to help you
Stress reduction Stress is often the culprit of migraines, which is why adopting a stress-reduced lifestyle can be of benefit. Also included here is eye strain. Use the blue-light filter on your phone and home/work computers to alleviate the stress on your eyes.
Acupuncture/Chiropractic Acupuncture, chiropractic and other alternative therapies have also proven to be effective in treating active migraines and preventing future attacks.
More Menstrual Migraine Prevention Tips
A few other things you can try at home to prevent menstrual migraines:
- Exercise every day. Moderate exercise, like a walk, bike ride, or swim, could help you have fewer migraine headaches and make them less intense. Be careful not to work out too hard, though. Sometimes strenuous exercise can trigger migraines.
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. A lack of rest can set off migraine attacks.
- Relax. Stress leads to migraine for many people. Try techniques like deep breathing, yoga, and meditation to take the pressure off.
- Watch what you eat. Avoid foods that trigger your headaches. Some foods that are common migraine triggers include: chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, processed meat, and cheeses.
- Graze throughout the day. Hunger can give you headaches. Eat several small meals and snacks instead of three big ones.
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What Should I Do When A Migraine Begins
Work with your doctor to come up with a plan for managing your migraines. Keeping a list of home treatment methods that have worked for you in the past also can help. When symptoms begin:
- If you take migraine medicine, take it right away.
- Drink fluids, if you don’t have nausea during your migraine.
- Lie down and rest in a dark, quiet room, if that is practical.
Some people find the following useful:
- A cold cloth on your head
- Rubbing or applying pressure to the spot where you feel pain
- Massage or other relaxation exercises
Be Respectful And Careful Of The Sun
Summer sun can be one of our worst enemies, and Im not talking about sunburn, even though that can be a problem. Too much time in the summer sun is another serious headache and migraine trigger. That doesnt mean we have to stay indoors. Try hats with broad brims that keep sun off your neck and upper chest and back as well as your face. Beach umbrellas can be great at ball games and the like. You can also cool yourself down with a spray bottle of water or a cold, wet bandana around your neck.
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Can Migraines Be Prevented
Not all migraines can be prevented. But learning what triggers migraines and trying to avoid them can help. Have your child take a break from activities that might start a migraine, such as using the computer for a long time. If some foods are triggers, help your child skip them. Some people find that cutting back on caffeine or drinking a lot of water can help prevent migraines.
Make a plan for all the things your child has to do especially during stressful times so he or she doesn’t feel overwhelmed when things pile up. Regular exercise also can reduce stress and make your child feel better.
The more you and your child understand about migraine headaches, the better prepared you can be to fight them.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or Just A Bad Tension
Compared with migraine, tension-type headache is generally less severe and rarely disabling. Compare your symptoms with those in this chart to see what type of headache you might be having.
|Aura before onset of headache||x|
Note: Rebound headache may have features of tension and/or migraine headache. Adapted from a table produced by the American Council for Headache Education.
Although fatigue and stress can bring on both tension and migraine headaches, migraines can be triggered by certain foods, changes in the body’s hormone levels, and even changes in the weather.
There also are differences in how types of headaches respond to treatment with medicines. Although some over-the-counter drugs used to treat tension-type headaches sometimes help migraine headaches, the drugs used to treat migraine attacks do not work for tension-type headaches for most people.
You can’t tell the difference between a migraine and a tension-type headache by how often they occur. Both can occur at irregular intervals. Also, in rare cases, both can occur daily or almost daily.
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Keep A Headache Diary
Keeping a headache diary is a good way to figure out the association between migraine triggers, your lifestyle, and headache, says Robert Cowan, MD, professor of neurology and chief of the division of headache medicine at Stanford University in California. With a headache diary, youll start to see a pattern, such as you get migraines on weekends or in the afternoon. If you take migraine medication, you record this in your diary.
Dr. Cowan recommends using a free headache diary app to keep track of migraines and triggers. He and two colleagues created the free app BonTriage, which is available in the App Store.