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.
About The Author
When Natural Is Not Enough
There are medications you can take to help alleviate headache pain, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, triptans, beta blockers and others. I recommend using medication only if you arent able to relieve symptoms through the methods listed above. Remember, ibuprofen can poke holes in your gut and cause many gastrointestinal issues, and nearly all prescriptions have their side effects. I find regular fish oil works better than ibuprofen.
And while the occasional headache is normal, hormonal-related headaches certainly dont have to be part of your everyday life or monthly cycle. Prevention is the best strategy, and in the long run it will cost you less than the painkillers currently taking up space in your medicine cabinet.
How do you deal with headaches? Do you have any no-fail tips? Share them with me in the comments below.
Menstrual Migrainemigraine Before A Period
Menstrual migraine attacks occur in the two days before a womans period and the first three days of flow. These are times when estrogen levels drop. These attacks are generally more intense and longer than attacks at other times of the month. Attacks can also happen during and after a period.
Keep a headache and cycle diary if you think your migraine attacks are related to your menstrual cycle. Note the timing and specific symptoms, as this may help your doctor determine whether you have menstrual migraine and which treatment is best for you.
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Breaking Down Three Main Treatment Strategies For Menstrual Migraine And How To Pick The Best Option For You
For nearly two out of three women with migraine, attacks occur around the same time as their period. By definition, if you have migraine attacks that start between the two days before your period and the third day of flow, you likely have menstrual migraine. These attacks are often more severe, longer, and cause greater light sensitivity than attacks occurring other times of the month.
Menstrual migraine is caused by the rapid drop in estrogen levels that occurs just prior to your period. I have patients that tell me, Arent headaches a part of having a menstrual cycle? says Dr. Paru David, an internist who works in the division of womens health internal medicine at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. I educate them that not all women have headaches during their menstrual cycles.
Migraine attacks occurring just before and during a womans period can be the most challenging kind to treat. They do not always respond to the same medicines that work on migraine attacks happening at other times. The reason medications dont work the same is not entirely clear. But its likely related to estrogens effects on other chemicals.
The 16 Best Crystals For Headaches And Migraines
If youre wondering just what crystals help headaches and migraines, weve got 16 powerful suggestions for you.
They will address all the chakras to cleanse and remove negative energy. Youll benefit from their instantly calming energy. Using them often leads to removing energy blockages. That will restore the high vibrations in your energy field so you’ll overcome health issues and lead a more fulfilling life.
Find out which crystals for migraines and headaches are the best fit for you.
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Hrt For Gender Transitioning
Many transgender men and women use hormone therapy during the transitioning process. For transgender people with migraine, changes in hormone levels can contribute to migraine attacks, though its likely not the only factor.
While each person can react differently to HRT, its possible that the use of HRT while transitioning can affect the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks. There isnt much data on transgender people who go through HRT and how it affects migraine. But research shows consistent hormone therapy can reduce migraine frequency. This is especially helpful for people who typically experience menstrual migraine.
Transgender people dont have to choose between hormone therapy and migraine management. Because of the relationship between hormones and migraine, its important to talk to your doctor about whether specific migraine medications may interact with HRT and how HRT may affect the frequency of migraine attacks.
Treatment Options For Menstrual Migraine
There are several treatment options depending on the regularity of your menstrual cycle, whether or not you have painful or heavy periods, menopausal symptoms or if you also need contraception.
If you have regular periods your doctor may suggest taking medication for a few days around the time of menstruation .
There are different options available and your doctor should suggest the option that suits you. It could include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen or mefenamic acid, oestrogen supplements or triptans.
- Frovatriptan tablet
- Zolmitriptan tablet
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Discussing Medical Interventions With Your Doctor
How To Relieve Hormonal Headaches
This article was co-authored by Sari Eitches, MBE, MD. Dr. Sari Eitches is an Integrative Internist who runs Tower Integrative Health and Wellness, based in Los Angeles, California. She specializes in plant-based nutrition, weight management, womens health, preventative medicine, and depression. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine. She received a BS from the University of California, Berkeley, an MD from SUNY Upstate Medical University, and an MBE from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her residency at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, NY and served as an attending internist at the University of Pennsylvania.There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 4,853 times.
If you suffer from hormonal headaches and migraines, you know how they can drag you down. While theres not one solution that works for everyone, you can try a variety of remedies to reduce the likelihood of developing them and to help with the pain once you get one. Try a few home cures and talk to your doctor about prescription medications that may help. You can also make a few lifestyle changes to reduce your chances of getting a migraine in the first place.
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Oral Contraceptives May Reduce Menstrual Migraine Frequency
There is some evidence to suggest that certain types of oral contraceptive pills can actually reduce the frequency of menstrual migraine and menstrually related migraine, Hindiyeh says.
This doesnt apply to all kinds of oral contraception, so you should talk with your gynecologist, primary care doctor, or neurologist about which ones youd want to consider, says Hindiyeh. There are specific ones that will keep your estrogen level from fluctuating so much, she adds.
If youre considering taking oral contraceptives as a means of birth control or to try to improve your migraine symptoms, tell your healthcare provider about your migraine history, says Hindiyeh.
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 .
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Supplement For Hormone Health
If you already have your foundational basics covered like eating, drinking, moving, thinking, breathing, sunlight, sleeping, and play, then it may be time for supplements. The first place to go is providing the building blocks to our hormones and their balancing systems like B vitamins and especially methylated ones for migraines sufferers, zinc, selenium, vitamin E, magnesium, and vitamin C. You may want to work with a holistic healthcare professional to identify which supplements you most need.
Talk To An Ob/gyn Provider
The team at Triangle Physicians for Women is here for you in all stages of your life and are committed to providing you with comprehensive care. Whether youre a new patient or a regular with us we strive to offer the highest quality of care. To make an appointment, call the office at 678-6900 or contact us online.
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Medicines That Prevent Menstrual Migraine
If your periods don’t come on schedule or you also get migraine headaches at other times in your menstrual cycle, you can take preventive medicine every day. Drugs that prevent migraine headaches include:
- Some types of antidepressants
- Some types of antiseizure medicines
- Blood pressure medicines such as beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers
- CGRP inhibitors, these are a new class of preventive medicine
Devices which may be used for treatment or prevention include:.
- Cefaly, a small headband device that sends electrical pulses through the forehead to stimulate a nerve linked with migraines
- Spring TMS or eNeura sTM, a device for people who have an aura before migraine headaches. You hold it at the back of your head at the first sign of a headache, and it gives off a magnetic pulse that stimulates part of the brain.
- Noninvasive vagus nerve stimulator gammaCore is a hand-held portable device placed over the vagus nerve in the neck. It releases a mild electrical stimulation to the nerve’s fibers to relieve pain.
Nutrients To Improve Your Mental Health
Although most physicians are unaware of this connection, vitamin, mineral and nutrient deficiencies can wreak havoc on your mental health. Today we are going to look at 3 heavy hitters that if corrected, may improve depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and focus issues.
1) Amino Acids
These are the breakdown products of proteins available once food has been digested into its smaller components. They are used to build and repair tissue, they are converted into enzymes and hormones needed to run our bodily functions, and provide energy to all of our organs.
They are also the building blocks for our brain chemicals or neurotransmitters that support a positive, calm mood. These brain chemicals include serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and endogenous opiates known as endorphins.
If you have low levels of these brain neurotransmitters, you really wont feel so great. And if you dont have enough amino acids, you cant build these neurotransmitters.
Low levels of amino acids lead to low levels of neurotransmitters. Not a hard concept.
Why would Amino Acids be low?
- You arent taking in enough protein
- You arent able to break down your protein meal because of problems with digestion. This could be related to low digestive enzymes, poor chewing, low stomach acid, the use of antacid medications, drinking water or liquids with your meals or other causes of inflammation in your gut, like food sensitivities, gut infections, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel.
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Migraine Headaches Associated With The Menstrual Cycle
Up to 25% of women experience migraine headaches during their reproductive years often migraine headaches may be triggered or exacerbated by hormonal changes. It has been estimated that 7-14% of women experience migraines only during the premenstrual or menstrual phase of their cycles. Another 52-70% experience headaches throughout the month but note increased headache activity before or during menses.
Interestingly, before puberty, the prevalence of migraine appears to be similar for boys and girls. Peak migraine incidence in girls occurs at menarche, and in adulthood females outnumber male migraine sufferers by about 3 to 1.
The reported effects of pregnancy, oral contraceptives and menopause on migraine headache patterns have been variable. It is believed that declining estrogen levels may be an important trigger, and it is thought that progesterone may also play a role. Migraine often, but not always, improves during pregnancy however, postpartum migraine flares are common. The effects of oral contraceptive use are quite variable: migraines may improve, worsen, or remain the same. Low estrogen dose oral contraceptives usually have no effect or may improve migraine. Estrogen replacement therapy for menopausal women often exacerbates migraines.
Kimberly H. Pearson, MD
Womens Mental Health. Kornstein SG, Clayton AH. The Guilford Press: New York. 2002.
Crystals For Headaches And Migraines: The 16 Best Healing Crystals
Just what crystals help with headaches? Were going to talk about 16 powerful crystal healing options so you can overcome headache pains and relieve migraines.
Crystals for headaches promote a positive flow of energy through your entire body in order to ease pain and alleviate headaches. They help you heal and overcome issues that affect your upper chakras and your whole energetic system.
Keep in mind you should ask for your doctor’s advice when youre experiencing headaches or migraines. These healing gems are complements to and not replacements for your medical treatment options.
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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.
Tips For Preventing Hormonal Migraines
The ultimate goal would be to prevent hormonal migraines altogether. Start by avoiding the most common triggers. If this doesn’t help, you can consult a doctor such as the professionals atGeorgia Vascular Institute.
As long as you have regular periods, your doctor can prescribe preventative medications. Preventative medication can usually be taken from a few days before your period starts and can continue for up to two weeks. In extreme cases, a doctor may recommend daily medication to help avoid migraines.
On your own, you can keep a migraine journal. Write down when your menstrual cycle is, along with notes on your diet, exercise, and sleep. This is an excellent way to narrow down your triggers. Avoiding triggers is one of the best ways to avoid a hormonal migraine.
For those taking oral contraception, a doctor can switch you to a pill that has fewer placebo days than the one you are currently taking. A doctor may also recommend taking pills that have less estrogen, which would replace the pills on your placebo days. Alternatively, you could wear an estrogen patch during placebo days or simply switch to progestin-only oral contraceptives.
For those not taking oral contraceptives, you can ask a doctor about starting a birth control regimen to find hormonal migraine relief.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Menstrual Migraine
The symptoms of a menstrual migraine are the same as the symptoms for other types of migraines:
- Headache pain that ranges from dull to a severe throb.
- Feeling very warm or cold .
- Sensitivity to light, noise and smells.
- Tender scalp.
- Nausea and vomiting, stomach upset, abdominal pain.
- Diarrhea or fever .