Menstrual migraine affects over 50% of women. Of these women, most will experience migraine during menses but also at other times of the month. Migraine during menses tends to be a more severe, harder to treat and often re-occur even despite medications.
There a number of options to treat and prevent menstrual migraine attack. To understand how and why these treatments can help, it is worth understanding what causes menstrual migraine.
Women who have a tendency to get menstrual migraine are those who are 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 female function as normal.
Estrogens are a group of compounds which 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 characteristics of the body.
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.
This occurs as part of being a healthy fertile woman. Women with menstrual migraine attacks may be sensitive to the changes in their estrogen level relative to progesterone.
If this balance is slightly off for what your body requires, then you may have uncomfortable physical symptoms such as PMS, breast tenderness, headaches and, in susceptible women, migraine attacks.
Have your physician take a closer look at your estrogen/progesterone balance, as well as your thyroid levels. Based on the results of these tests, the two of you can decide what treatment options may be best for you. If you suffer from severe menstrual migraines, applying progesterone cream to the skin may be helpful, but should be considered under the guidance of your doctor.
Try alifestyle “reset” by eliminating gluten, reducing sugar intake and cutting out red wine from your diet. Avoid tyramine, too, which is a migraine-triggering compound found in aged and fermented foods like old cheeses, smoked fish or cured meats. Enact these changes for at least 30 days and you will probably notice an improvement in hormonal-related headache symptoms. Drink about 3 liters of water every day to keep yourself hydrated.
Once you have a better understanding of your hormonal profile, you can also use supplements to support nutritional deficiencies that might be contributing to headaches. Magnesium, CoQ10 and 5-HTP are all recommended for these purposes. Try any Daily Essentials Multivitamin and talk to your doctor about proper dosage.
Remember that stress can directly influence your hormonal balance. Find ways to cope with PMS-related mood fluctuations and eliminate stress during those difficult times in your cycle. Yoga, meditation, exercise, and a good belly laugh are all great techniques to keep you calm and centered, which may reduce hormonal headaches.