There are many difficulties around that time of the month, and menstrual migraine can be one of them. Many factors are linked to these migraine headaches like age, gender, family history, etc. There are many triggers for this headache, one of which might be linked to hormonal changes.
These migraine headaches are also called hormonal headaches, as they are related to a drop in oestrogen and progesterone hormone before the period begins. These hormones get involved during menstruation and pregnancy cycles.
These hormonal headaches are related to female hormones which may develop during or after puberty.
There are many proven home remedies to cure migraine pains, which seem effective for headaches during period cycle.
There are many types of migraine headaches, and menstrual migraine is one of them. They are different to usual headaches as the pain is much more severe and on one side of the head. Other migraine types include migraine with aura, migraines without aura, and chronic migraine.
Menstrual Migraine Symptoms
The symptoms of menstrual migraine can be with aura or without aura, and are similar to other migraines, they are:
- Numb or severe headaches
- Pain only in one side of the head
- Sudden chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Sensitivity towards light and noise
- Loss of appetite
- Tenderness of scalp
- Pale-coloured skin
- Dizziness or lightness with blurred vision
- Sometimes diarrhoea
Menstrual Migration Treatment
Similar to other migraine headaches, menstrual migraine treatments are also the same. There are a few medicinal treatments which might help relieve the headaches:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most commonly used treatments and preventive measures for menstrual migraine. These should be taken two or three days before the periods begin. Due to its short-term effects, there are no gastrointestinal side effects.
- Triptans or ditans can also get included with NSAIDs for quick results. Triptans should also be taken two or three days before the period starts as they can help prevent migraine pain.
- Small doses of ergotamine or dihydroergotamine drugs are also beneficial.
Preventive medication for migraine includes:
- Beta-blocker drugs like propranolol
- Calcium channel blockers like verapamil and nimodipine
- Oestrogen patches, gels, and pills
There are a few side-effects to these medications like fatigue, nausea, sleepiness, numbness, shivers, hotness, etc.
Home Remedies for a Migraine Attack
There are many ways to treat moderate migraines at home, but it is better to have a professional opinion. Some supplements can have adverse effects on other medications.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that provides a pain-relieving experience by inserting needles along the pressure points. This is a great preventive measure for migraine pain.
Even though there is no research proving to support the claim that massages help with migraines, many have recommended that it eases headaches and relaxes the body.
3. Relaxing Techniques
Breathing exercises, muscle relaxation techniques, and guided imagery are some of the relaxing methods which help with headaches during period.
4. Magnesium Supplements
Lower levels of magnesium can affect headaches. It is highly recommended to increase the intake of magnesium supplements for this condition but it can have side effects like diarrhoea.
5. Reducing Salt Intake
Salt can also have adverse effects on headaches and trigger migraine symptoms. It is better to control the salt intake during periods to prevent this condition.
Feverfew herb contains positive components that might help with migraine headaches. The supplements of feverfew, however, can have negative reactions like heartburns, body pain, tiredness, and diarrhoea or constipation.
7. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme is an antioxidant which can be trusted to help you prevent headaches during menstruation.
Rhizome i.e., the creeping horizontal rootstalk of the butterbur plant may provide a treatment to control the severity of migraine. It can reduce pain and headaches. Some side effects like mild stomach pains or belching may occur on consumption.
9. Biofeedback Therapy
Biofeedback is learning and monitoring your body’s responses and controlling them, which can help reduce headaches. During this process, you learn the bodily response to stress, which affects the autonomic nervous system activity. It can provide a beneficial inside of the body which helps the individual to fight back against the stressors which trigger migraines.
10. Ice Pack
Put a cold cloth or an ice pack on the painful area around the head or the neck. This might have a numbing effect which can be helpful for mild headaches.
11. Essential Oil
These oils can provide soothing effects which relax the mind and body.
Other than these methods, there are a few more measures you can take to reduce headaches like consistent quality sleep, regular exercise, eating healthy, keeping hydrated, stress management, and avoiding triggering food items.
Diagnosis and Tests for Migraines
No examinations diagnose migraines or the causes of migraines – they are mostly speculated according to the symptoms and other related factors. Often these migraines occur due to multiple conditions.
Before planning a professional treatment plan, the specialist might establish your symptoms related to migraines. According to the area, severity, durations, frequencies, and triggers, the treatment procedures might get decided to take place.
It is important to explain the effects in detail by giving a brief about earlier medications. Talking about the activities, foods, stressors, or situations preceding the pain can be helpful. Other factors like family history around migraine headaches need to be explained as well.
Some imagery tests like CT scans and MRIs are performed during this process; it is important to rule out any other causes for these symptoms. An electroencephalogram is also performed to rule out seizures.
Other Triggers for a Migraine Attack
Other than hormonal changes, multiple triggers can produce headaches and migraines.
Migraine headaches can simply be a symptom of the menopausal phase as there are fluctuations in hormones. Oestrogen levels keep changing during this period which results in stress, headaches, etc. It might get better after some time.
In the early stages of pregnancy, the hormone levels increase along with increase in blood flow which can result in headache.
3. Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy for menopause or feminine-affirming hormone therapy can also lead to headaches as reported in many studies.
The process of removing ovaries is called oophorectomy, which can affect hormone levels. It can give rise to headaches.
5. Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills can also cause headaches due to reduced oestrogen levels.
6. After Childbirth
After childbirth, the oestrogen levels fall considerably low. There are many stress-inducing factors as well as sleep deprivation which can lead to headaches.
Dietary Plans During Menstrual Migraine
There are many food items which can help during menstrual migraines. They can control the hormonal effects and regulate the stress on the neurological system. Proteins, fats, and magnesium-induced food items like:
- Fatty fish
- Dark Chocolates
- Green leafy vegetables
- Herbal tea
Foods to Avoid during Menstrual Migraine
Those foods which can have adverse effects on blood sugar regulation should be avoided during the menstruation period. Foods with glutamates can also create hormonal issues, as they can build up in neurons and cause damage. Below is the list of foods you must avoid while you’re dealing with menstrual migraine:
- Preservatives food
- MSG induced food
- Aged cheese
- Red wine
- Citrus fruits
The relation between hormones and headaches gets mostly shown during the menstruation period. There is a drop in oestrogen levels before the menstrual cycle starts. As our body struggles to regulate the neuro-hormonal system properly, it gives rise to symptoms like cravings, mood changes, cramps, and heavy bleeding flows. All this is linked back to menstrual migraine.
As the oestrogen hormones get balanced by progesterone hormones, it is also important to control and manage these hormones. There are many vitamin C-based food items which can work in regulating progesterone.
So identifying the symptoms and mapping the body’s response can help in controlling migraine headaches and other symptoms. It is important to fully understand the causes and symptoms behind these migraine pains to take further action.
Frequently Asked Questions About Menstrual Migraine
Q. How to stop menstrual migraines at home?
Magnesium supplements, over-the-counter medications, essential oil, and hot and cold compresses can work well for menstrual migraine at home.
Q. What factor can trigger menstrual migraine?
If there are any hormonal changes like oestrogen and progesterone levels drop, it can give rise to menstrual migraine.
Q. What are the main symptoms of menstrual migraine?
Dizziness, migraines with aura, and fatigue are the main symptoms of menstrual migraines.