I Get Migraines Right Before My Period Could They Be Related To My Menstrual Cycle
More than half of migraines in women occur right before, during, or after a woman has her period. This often is called menstrual migraine. But, just a small fraction of women who have migraine around their period only have migraine at this time. Most have migraine headaches at other times of the month as well.
How the menstrual cycle and migraine are linked is still unclear. We know that just before the cycle begins, levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, go down sharply. This drop in hormones may trigger a migraine, because estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that affect a womans pain sensation.
Talk with your doctor if you think you have menstrual migraine. You may find that medicines, making lifestyle changes, and home treatment methods can prevent or reduce the pain.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
If you think your headaches may be migraines, youll want to see a doctor to treat them and learn ways to try to avoid getting the headaches in the first place. Sometimes relaxation exercises or changes in diet or sleeping habits are all thats needed. But if needed, a doctor also can prescribe medicine to help control the headaches.
Youll also want to see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms as well as a headache:
- changes in vision, such as blurriness or seeing spots
- tingling sensations
- weakness, dizziness, or difficulty walking or standing
- neck pain or stiffness
If you do see a doctor for headaches, he or she will probably want to do an exam and get your to help figure out what might be causing them.
The doctor may ask you:
- how severe and frequent your headaches are
- when they happen
- about any medicine you take
- about any allergies you have
- if youre feeling stressed
- about your diet, habits, sleeping patterns, and what seems to help or worsen the headaches
The doctor may also do blood tests or imaging tests, such as a CAT scan or MRI of the brain, to rule out medical problems.
Sometimes doctors will refer people with headaches they think might be migraines or a symptom of a more serious problem to a specialist like a , a doctor who specializes in the brain and nervous system.
Its very rare that headaches are a sign of something serious. But see a doctor if you get headaches a lot or have a headache that:
What Is An Aura
An aura is a group of sensory, motor and speech symptoms that usually act like warning signals that a migraine headache is about to begin. Commonly misinterpreted as a seizure or stroke, it typically happens before the headache pain, but can sometimes appear during or even after. An aura can last from 10 to 60 minutes. About 15% to 20% of people who experience migraines have auras.
Aura symptoms are reversible, meaning that they can be stopped/healed. An aura produces symptoms that may include:
- Seeing bright flashing dots, sparkles, or lights.
- Blind spots in your vision.
- Numb or tingling skin.
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They Dont Know Your History And Youre In No Shape To Give Clear Direction
In the midst of an attack, few of us can complete a coherent sentence. The Migraine Babble and nurse triage questions dont play well together.
They thought I was a druggie because my speech was confused, it was quite a busy night and they were attending more critical cases first, road accidents victims and all! All I was given was a vomit bag and sleeping tablets! Woke up 5 hours later and decided to go home! Olè M.
The LAST time I went to the ER for a migraine I was in SO much pain I couldnt see, I was in excruciating pain, I went in the wheelchair backwards because I just wanted to be in a ball and literally couldnt straighten myself out. The check in person who takes vitals before they bring you back made me turn around in the wheelchair so she could get my vitals. I told them I couldnt and I was just screaming no no no. She told me she couldnt help me if I couldnt sit straight. So I turned around and two seconds later I passed out cracked my head open on the floor and was unconscious for I dont know how long. Skipper D.
How Are They Treated
Both migraine and chronic migraine can be treated with the same drugs. These include medications that treat the pain and symptoms as well as drugs that treat the underlying cause of migraine. In some cases, there are medical devices you can use to interrupt the headache. Still, no treatment is perfect.
Because of that, chronic migraines can take a toll on your personal life. If you get painful headaches for half of each month, you lose days of work or school and precious time with friends and family. Itâs common for people with chronic migraines to also have depression.
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Prescription Painkillers For Frequent Tension Headaches
Indocin , an NSAID that is available only by prescription, is “usually used for arthritis, but can also be very useful as a headache treatment,” Dr. Rozental says. “Indomethacin‘s downside is that it is among the drugs most likely to cause gastric irritation as a side effect,” including stomach ulcers and bleeding. It can also harm kidney function if taken at high doses or chronically.
Take Medication As Soon As You Feel It Coming On
When it comes to medication, you have several options, and the one that’s right for you depends on your own history with migraine, as well as other health concerns. The goal for treatment is to clear the headache completely in one or two hours, meaning the pain does not come back, says Dr. Feoktistov. “We consider successful treatment one where the medication provides pain freedom and allows the patient to get back on their feet and function well,” he says.
NSAID: Some people find that taking anywhere from 200 to 600 mg of ibuprofen or naproxen works. Unfortunately, it’s actually not common for patients to be able to successfully use an over-the-counter NSAID for migraine relief. “For about 80% of patients, NSAIDs will take the edge off the pain but not stop the attack,” he says.
A medication like Excedrin, which combines two pain relieversacetaminophen and aspirin plus caffeine is a slightly better option but patients usually still need something more, he says.
Rescue medications are available in different formulations, such as oral pills, nasal sprays or injectables, but Dr. Feoktistov says that nasal sprays or injectables tend to be faster acting, which can be helpful for migraine pain that rapidly develops, if you wake up in the morning with a migraine or if you also experience significant nausea or vomiting, which may delay absorption of an oral pill.
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Whats The Outlook For People With Chronic Migraine
The hope for people with chronic migraine is to control the headache. With a good treatment plan, it is reasonable to believe that the number and severity of migraine headaches can be reduced. Many patients with chronic migraine may revert to episodes of migraine over time.
For patients with chronic migraines that have not responded to previous treatments, there are other options. Some patients need more aggressive hands-on techniques such as nerve blocks and trigger point injections. Other patients particularly those with medication overuse headaches need to rid their body of previous medications in a monitored setting, such as an infusion suite. In the infusion suite, patients receive intravenous medications that stop migraines and treat the nausea and vomiting.
For patients with the most difficult migraines to treat those not responding to any treatments, in whom detoxification efforts have not been totally effective, and patients are still using medications not helpful to improving their headache a team approach is required. The team, consisting of healthcare professionals from neurology, psychiatry, psychology, nursing, physical therapy and social work, meet together with the patient and the patients family over a series of weeks to develop a plan of care and monitor progress. Patients with difficult to treat migraines should ask their doctors to refer them to facilities that offer such multi-team, patient-centered programs.
Its Ok To Put Your Immediate Needs First
Even when my migraine pain is to the point that I can barely function, I usually try to push myself to take care of everyone else. Ill still try to do my usual routines, like making my girlfriends coffee or hopping on my companys weekly virtual team meeting. Unfortunately, trying to continue my daily routines and putting others first not only makes my migraines even worse, it makes the recovery time afterward take even longer.
So instead of trying to take care of everyone and everything even when the pain you feel is unbearable, remember that you can put your needs first every once in a while. Most people will understand if you skip a meeting or dont answer your phone when youre battling a migraine. You dont need to apologize or make excuses either just take care of your needs as best you can while you ride the waves with your migraine.
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How Prevalent Are Migraines
Migraines are about three times more common in women than men, and may affect more than 12 percent of the U.S. adult population. Migraines often run in families, and can start as early as elementary school but most often in early adulthood. They often fade away later in life, but can strike at any time. The most common cause of recurring, disabling headache pain, migraines are also the most common underlying cause of disabling;chronic, daily headache pain. While migraines are the No. 1 reason that patients see a neurologist, most cases are handled by primary care physicians.
Things that can make the headaches more likely to occur include:
Add A Little Pressure
Although it may feel as though your head is under an incredible amount of pressure and pain, getting in touch with certain pressure points on the body can alleviate your discomfort.
When you begin to feel the first tinges of a migraine, place a bit of pressure on your craniosacral system. By pressing with your fingers on certain migraine-specific spots, you can force your brain to relax and rest, restarting it from a pain-free place. Though it increases pressure in the cranium, it works to send the tension that’s building in your brain elsewhere.
Image via Shutterstock
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A Few More Potential Trigger Foods
Even though weâd hate to take the fun out of even more of your favorite foods, we should let you know about these other potential trigger foods. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these foods are commonly reported as migraine triggers, but thereâs no scientific evidence that they really cause them, so donât clean out your fridge just yet. Instead, turn to a migraine tracker to see if any of these might be causing you pain.
- Chicken livers and other organ meats
- Dairy products like buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt
- Dried fruits like dates, figs, and raisins
- Most beans including lima, fava, navy, pinto, garbanzo, lentils, and snow peas
- Pickled foods like olives, sauerkraut, and, of course, pickles
- Potato chips
- Some fresh fruits like ripe bananas, papaya, red plums, raspberries, kiwi, and pineapple
- Smoked or dried fish
- Tomato-based products
What Are The Symptoms Of A Migraine
Individual migraines are moderate to severe in intensity, often characterized by a throbbing or pounding feeling. Although they are frequently one-sided, they may occur anywhere on the head, neck and face or all over. At their worst, they are typically associated with sensitivity to light, noise and/or smells. Nausea is one of the most common symptoms and it worsens with activity, which often results in patient disability. In many respects, migraines are much like alcohol-related hangovers.
Migraine pain can be felt in the face, where it may be mistaken for sinus headache or in the neck, where it may be mistaken for arthritis or muscle spasm. Complicating the diagnosis of migraine is that the headaches may be accompanied by other “sinus like” symptoms, including watering eyes, nasal congestion and a sense of facial pressure. Most patients who think they have sinus headache in fact have migraines.
In up to 25 percent of patients, the migraine headache pain may be preceded by an aura, a temporary neurological syndrome that slowly progresses and then typically resolves just as the pain begins. While the most common type of migraine aura involves visual disturbances , many people experience numbness, confusion, trouble speaking, vertigo and other strokelike neurological symptoms. Some patients may experience auras without headaches.
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What Tests Are Used To Find Out If I Have Migraine
If you think you get migraine headaches, talk with your doctor. Before your appointment, write down:
Your doctor may also do an exam and ask more questions about your health history. This could include past head injury and sinus or dental problems. Your doctor may be able to diagnose migraine just from the information you provide.
You may get a blood test or other tests, such as CT scan or MRI, if your doctor thinks that something else is causing your headaches. Work with your doctor to decide on the best tests for you.
Drink A Small Amount Of Caffeine
Although caffeine can cause headaches of its own in large amounts, a small dose of a beverage like coffee or soda can soothe the pain of an intense migraine.
When you drink caffeine, it can offer pain relieving benefitsâas long as you drink just a small amount, as the Mayo Clinic notes. If you drink it right when you feel a migraine beginning to appear, it can also improve the effects of Tylenol, aspirin, and other over-the-counter pain relievers .
Image via Shutterstock
Whatever you choose to calm your intense migraine pain, keep track of what you eat, drink, and do when you get them. Finding the trigger to your headaches can help you avoid them in the future. Avoiding certain foods, ingredients, and activities, you can keep migraines at bay and not have to endure their awful reign.
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Natural Home Remedies For Headaches During Pregnancy
- Non-medication strategies help pregnant women get relief while avoiding both over-the-counter medications and herbs that may not be safe.
- Hydration is critical. Dehydration is common in pregnancy. A large glass of mineral water or electrolyte-replacement beverage can resolve dehydration.
- Blood pressure is often high in pregnancy;and can be a cause of headache. High blood pressure requires treatment.
- Relaxation, magnesium, and avoiding salt all help with headaches related to high blood pressure.
- Hydrotherapy, the therapeutic use of hot and cold, is helpful and safe in pregnancy. Apply a hot pack to the head and the back of the neck. This can be paired with a short application of an ice pack to maximize the relief.
You’re Not Exactly Fine When You Leave
In absence of a cure for Migraine, you’re going to get medication. And lots of it. Enough to knock out a horse. Better not make plans for tomorrow that’s time for your Migraine hangover, aka postdrome.
“They give you “abortive meds.” Knock you out, send you home. Then you’re in a medicated induced coma for the rest of the day. Then you wake up the next day still having the same migraine.” Jaselle H.
“Shot me up with meds so strong I couldn’t even move.” Victoria S.
“Last time I was in the ER for a migraine they gave me the wrong meds which were too strong for me and I had a heart attack!! I went thinking they would make me better but instead it only made it worse!!” Jessica A.
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What Is Status Migrainosis
This problem can happen to anyone with migraine. When our typical medicines stop working and migraine keeps going beyond the usual 4-72 hours, we may be experiencing a complication of migraine called status migrainosus.
In A Neurologists Guide to Status Migrainosus Therapy in the Emergency Room, Drs. Gelfand and Goadsby state, It must be stated at the outset that an ED visit for migraine represents a failure of appropriate outpatient management, and modifications in the patients rescue plan need to be made to avoid such visits in the future.1