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What Causes Migraines During Periods

Causes Of Headache During Period

Menstrual migraine | Why do I get migraines during my monthly cycle | period?

The main trigger might be the drop in the hormone estrogen that happens before you menstruate.

Birth control pills can worsen the symptoms of a migraine. Your estrogen levels plummet and your headaches get worse when you take placebo pills or no pills at all, during the week of your period. If youre prone to headaches, taking birth control pills that have low amounts of estrogen or only progestin may help.

Genetics are also thought to play a role. Women who have a headache during period tend to have a combination of factors that trigger their headaches.

Menopause and perimenopause are also one of the main causes of a bad headache during period. This is due to the fluctuating hormone levels.

Further causes might include:

  • getting too much or too little sleep
  • intense lights, sounds, or smells
  • severe weather changes
  • alcoholic beverages, especially red wine
  • too much caffeine or caffeine withdrawal

What Are Period Migraines

First things first: You may get torturous headaches during your period, but that doesnt mean they are migraines. Dr. Holly L. Phillips, an internist who practices in New York City, says that more than 90 percent of headaches fall into the category of tension-type headaches. Far fewer people actually experience true migraines. Statistics published in Cephalalgia state that 11 percent of people worldwide get migraines, while tension-type headaches are far more common. Theres also a socio-economic link to your risk for any type of migraine, with people from lower-income households experiencing migraines at higher rates, likely due to more stressors that can trigger them.

There seems to be some confusion about what migraines really are and it often involves the level of pain. We tend to think of migraine as causing more severe pain than other types of headaches, but thats not always the case, says Phillips.

You can spot the difference between a menstrual migraine and a premenstrual syndrome headache by taking careful note of your symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, migraine headaches typically last anywhere from four hours to three days. Migraines are characterized by throbbing pain, usually on one side of your head, in addition to other symptoms. You may also have severe nausea that can cause vomiting.

  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and smells
  • Disturbances in your field of vision, known as migraine aura
  • Dizziness and exhaustion, even after the pain subsides

Daily Magnesium Has A Preventive Effect

I really like magnesium as a natural supplement to take every day to help prevent menstrual migraine, says Hindiyeh. There is evidence to support using magnesium, though the mechanism of action, or the why behind how it improves migraine, is not totally understood, she says. It could be stabilizing cells or decreasing hyperexcitability or neuronal firing, but thats all theoretical at this point, she adds.


You can learn more about the various types of magnesium supplements on the website Migraine Again, and remember that its always a good idea to talk with your doctor about any supplements you are taking or are interested in taking.

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Signs Of Hormone Headaches

It’s worth keeping a diary for at least 3 menstrual cycles to help you check whether your migraines are linked to your periods.

If they’re linked, a diary can help to pinpoint at what stage in your cycle you get a migraine.

The Migraine Trust has an online headache diary, which may be a useful tool.

How Can I Raise My Estrogen Levels Quickly

Got Menstrual Migraines? Here Are 7 Ways To Prevent &  Ease ...

Food Soybeans and the products produced from them, such as tofu and miso, are a great source of phytoestrogens . Phytoestrogens mimic estrogen in the body by binding to estrogen receptors. Flax seeds also contain high amounts of phytoestrogens. Sesame seeds are another dietary source of phytoestrogens.

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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?

Ways To Manage Bad Headache During Period

  • There are several ways to relieve a bad headache during period:Your doctor might recommend over-the-counter pills to help with your severe symptoms.
  • Prescription drugs are another possible remedy for a bad headache during period.
  • Certain vitamins and supplements have been shown to relieve headaches. They might include riboflavin, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10
  • Regular exercise.
  • Staying hydrated is essential, as well as eating nutritious meals.
  • You can also try reducing stress. Try relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and breathing exercises
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    How Do You Get Rid Of Menstrual Headaches Naturally

    Here are 18 effective home remedies to naturally get rid of headaches. Drink Water. Inadequate hydration may lead you to develop a headache. Take Some Magnesium. Limit Alcohol. Get Adequate Sleep. Avoid Foods High in Histamine. Use Essential Oils. Try a B-Complex Vitamin. Soothe Pain with a Cold Compress.

    It Does Not End With A Period

    Headache Relief & Diagnosis : Symptoms of Menstrual Migraine Headaches

    Hormonal headaches arent just linked to periods. These headaches have come up during pregnancy, taking birth control, or could even be genetic. The symptoms can also cause other issues. These include tiredness, joint pain, loss of appetite, and a host of uncomfortable issues. The best bet is to treat menstrual migraines before and during the menstruation period.

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    What Causes Headaches During The Menstrual Cycle

    While we face a lot of things that fall underPMS symptoms, period headaches are probably the worst. These headaches thatAunt Flo bring during her visits as a tag-along guest are also known ashormonal headaches. We all know how our hormones fluctuate like a crazy ballall month long during our cycles. This fluctuation is the main reason behindmenstrual headaches and menstrual migraine.

    Yes, everyone faces different kinds ofheadaches during their periods, and not all of them are at migraine level, butthey all are an annoying reminder of how much we suffer due to thesefluctuations. Youve got the Tension Headache, generally caused due to stressand feels like a tight band around your forehead. The Headache you developafter your period due to blood loss and a drop in your iron levels.

    And then theres the Hormonal Headache, thestronger version of which is known as the Menstrual migraine. This happens dueto the change in your estrogen and progesterone hormone levels. We all knowthat estrogen is a female sex hormone and that its levels rise midway throughthe menstrual cycle. Which prompts the release of an egg. And the rising levelsof Progesterone help the egg implant itself in the uterus.

    After ovulation, when the egg is released fromthe ovary, our hormone levels decline. Estrogen and progesterone levels are attheir lowest right before our period. And it is this decrease that makes usexperience the menstrual/hormonal headaches.

    Contraceptives As A Treatment For Menstrual Migraine

    Hormonal contraceptives are a useful option if menstrual migraine is a problem and you also need contraception. Options may include:

    Progestogen-based contraceptives to prevent ovulation .

    • These include desogestrel – Cerazette®), the contraceptive implant , or the contraceptive injection.
    • Most women with migraine at any age can use progestogen-based contraceptives – even if they have migraine attacks with aura.
    • The only time you would not be advised to use progestogen-based contraception is if you started to develop migraine attacks with aura only after starting to take one of these types of contraceptive.

    Combined hormonal contraceptives also prevent ovulation however, during the pill-free week some women with menstrual migraine will still experience their headaches. Moreover, not all women with menstrual migraine can take these treatments.

    In some women with migraine who use combined hormonal contraceptives, migraine attacks are also triggered by the drop in the blood level of oestrogen during the pill-free or patch-free interval.

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    Why Use The Period Vitamin Or Vitamins And Minerals

    You may be shocked that vitamins and minerals could possibly relieve PMS migraines or even prevent them. The reason why this works so well for headaches is not just one reason but several:

    • Minerals in the vitamin and mineral or period vitamin are closely tied to blood sugar regulation. When your blood sugar levels are regulated and in the normal range, theres no reason for a low blood sugar headache or migraine.
    • Vitamins, minerals and herbs can impact blood flow to the head positively, bringing blood flow in so theres no need to suffer a headache due to constricted blood vessels.
    • Vitamin and mineral supplements would generally contain magnesium, which has been found to be an antidote to PMS migraines and even for the prevention of them.
    • Vitamin and mineral supplements such as a period vitamin will also have calcium in them, which calms down muscles that are tight such as the muscles in the neck that could cause a headache by constriction of the blood vessels.

    You can get rid of your menstrual migraine but you have to start somewhere. What have you done in the past? Do you see possible solutions after reading this article? If so, get started. Do something. Your cure wont be handed to you on a silver platter. Youll have to work for it.

    Talk To Your Doctor About Beta Blockers

    My Hormonology

    While triptans battle a migraine once it starts, beta blockers work to prevent the migraine from happening to begin with. Beta blockers were originally created to reduce blood pressure, but they are also excellent at preventing migraines and are regularly prescribed for people suffering from migraines, including those caused by your period. The American Headache Society and American Academy of Neurology considers propranolol, metoprolol and timolol the most effective beta blockers for preventing migraines.

    Again, this is something you need to talk to your doctor about. So if migraines are plaguing you, book an in-person visit or telemedicine appointment.

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    Regular Exercise Can Help Prevent Menstrual Migraine

    When we consider all the strategies to prevent migraine attacks, I love it when people choose to make lifestyle modifications that can make a real difference, says Hindiyeh.

    There’s lots of evidence to suggest regular aerobic exercise can work as a preventive medication all on its own, and there are some studies to suggest that yoga and HIIT can be helpful as well, says Hindiyeh.


    Not only can regular exercise help prevent migraine attacks for some people, but also, if the headache is mild, a short bout of exercise can actually help relieve that headache that’s happening, according to Hindiyeh.

    On the other hand, overexerting yourself can be a trigger for migraine, especially if you are already having a migraine attack, she says.

    One of the cardinal definitions and features of migraine is that normal activity can make you feel worse. If you’re already in the middle of a severe migraine attack, moving around excessively is going to make things worse for you its probably not the best time to go for a jog or do some aerobic activity, says Hindiyeh.

    Headache After Period: What Can It Tell You About

    Women can suffer from three types of headaches: a headache before period, a headache during period, and a headache after period.

    If you experience a headache after period, it may be due to high levels of stress, dehydration, and genetic or dietary triggers. However, a headache after period may also be due to hormonal imbalances and low iron levels.

    A headache after period can be accompanied by:

    • nausea

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    Consider Skipping The Sugar Pills

    If youre already taking birth control, the steady schedule of hormones make migraines even easier to predict and prevent. Women who take birth control pills might ask their doctor if they can skip over the sugar pill week and start straight into a new pack, which means theyll skip their period completely and keep their estrogen levels elevated. In the same way, extended-cycle pills like Seasonale, which causes you to only have your period once every three months, could help as well, says Halker.

    Other birth control-related therapies could involve taking pills with lower levels of estrogen, so that the hormone drop during the menstrual period isnt as steep, or a progestin-only pill, notes the MayoClinic.

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    Hows A Menstrual Migraine Diagnosed What Tests Are Done

    Menstrual Migraine Relief (Headaches During My Period)

    Your healthcare provider will want to establish a history of your migraine-related symptoms, likely asking you to:

    • Describe the severity and location of your pain. Is the pain pounding? Pulsing? Throbbing?
    • Tell how often you get migraine headaches.
    • Remember if anything makes your headache better or worse.
    • Discuss what medications you take to relieve the pain and how often you take them.
    • Talk about the activities, foods, stressors, or the situations that may have brought on the migraine.
    • Remember if anyone in your family gets migraine headaches.
    • Tell how you felt before, during and after the headache.

    Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests and imaging tests to make sure there are no other causes for your headache. An electroencephalogram may be ordered to rule out seizures.

    Its helpful to both you and your healthcare provider if you keep a migraine journal. Take note of what symptoms you get, how long your symptoms last, and what makes your menstrual migraine better or worse. You and your healthcare provider may be able to use that information to help you heal, and possibly prevent or anticipate your migraine.

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    International Classification Of Headache Disorders Iii

    A1.1.1 Pure menstrual migraine without aura

    A. Attacks, in a menstruating woman, fulfilling criteria for 1.1 Migraine without aura and criterion B below B. Occurring exclusively on day 1 ± 2 of menstruation in at least two out of three menstrual cycles and at no other times of the cycle

    A1.1.2 Menstrually related migraine without aura

    A. Attacks, in a menstruating woman, fulfilling criteria for 1.1 Migraine without aura and criterion B below B. Occurring on day 1 ± 2 of menstruation in at least two out of three menstrual cycles, and additionally at other times of the cycle

    A1.2.0.1 Pure menstrual migraine with aura

    A. Attacks, in a menstruating woman, fulfilling criteria for 1.2 Migraine with aura and criterion B below B. Occurring exclusively on day 1 ± 2 of menstruation in at least two out of three menstrual cycles and at no other times of the cycle

    A1.2.0.2 Menstrually related migraine with aura

    A. Attacks, in a menstruating woman, fulfilling criteria for 1.2 Migraine with aura and criterion B below B. Occurring on day 1 ± 2 of menstruation in at least two out of three menstrual cycles, and additionally at other times of the cycle

    Sensitivity To Light Sounds And Smells

    Sufferers may experience strong, painful reactions to light, loud noises, and certain odors.

    While it is not necessary to have all symptoms, they can be moderate to severe. Migraine attacks can last between four hours to three days if left untreated. The need for bed-rest during these attacks may interfere with work, family and social obligations.

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    Causes Of A Menstrual Migraine

    Hormones including estrogen and progesterone fluctuate throughout the course of a womans cycle to regulate her ovulation and menstruation. Low estrogen levels, which typically occur at the onset of a womans period, may contribute to menstrual migraines. In fact, women are more likely to have had their first migraine during the year of their first period than at any other point in their lives. Whats more, stress like that experienced by many women during their menstrual cycle may exacerbate migraine pain.

    What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Hot Ginger Water

    Menstrual Migraine

    Health benefits Pain. Ginger water may help decrease some types of pain. Nausea. People have long used ginger as a herbal treatment for nausea. Cholesterol levels. One study in rats suggests that ginger might reduce cholesterol levels. Weight loss. In another study , researchers divided 10 men into two groups.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Low Estrogen

    Common symptoms of low estrogen include: painful sex due to a lack of vaginal lubrication. an increase in urinary tract infection due to a thinning of the urethra. irregular or absent periods. shifts in mood. hot flashes. breast tenderness. headaches or accentuation of pre-existing migraines. depression.


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