I have never really been a fan of that time of the month when I have my period. I mean, what woman is? It’s not we wake up in the morning and start singing and dancing in circles because we have ruined another pair of underwear and stained our sheets with menstrual blood. It’s not fun. It is just a part of life. My periods have always been painful. Not only do I suffer from the common symptoms of cramps, bloating, and irritability, but I suffer from menstrual migraines as well.
Menstrual migraines are not just that stabbing feeling that you feel in your brain and behind your eyes. There is an extreme sensitivity to light, the feeling that you could vomit and any minute, and even the lightest of sounds causes more of that brain stabbing feeling. The cramps in the abdomen seem so much worse and even though the feeling of dehydration lingers, drinking water is not an option because of the fear of vomiting it right back up.
Due to the horrible symptoms that come with my menstrual migraines, I have become an avid charter of my cycle. I have an app on my iPhone that allows me to input the date my period starts, the date it ends, and any changes in my body that I notice. This allows me to attempt to prepare for the hellish illness that lies ahead.
A few days before my period is scheduled to start, I start taking ibuprofen to ward off any migraine pain. I also try to keep my schedule a little lighter than normal during that week just in case a menstrual migraine decides to surprise me. This usually helps ward off most migraine symptoms, but there are times when a menstrual migraine just pops up on me. I have three kids and that does not allow any time for a sick day. I have discovered a few ways to relieve the pain and allow myself to be somewhat functional during the day.
Warm Bath or Shower
If I feel the migraine starting, I take a pain reliever and instantly jump in a hot shower or warm bath. I am not sure of any scientific reason, but the water seems to help keep the migraine from attacking. I also use a nice lavender scented soap or shower gel. The aromatherapy benefits of lavender are fantastic. It promotes a nice calm feeling which can help release any stress or pressure that the menstrual migraine might be trying to feed on.
Hot and Cold Therapy
I have made myself hot and cold packs filled with rice that can be placed in the freezer or in the microwave. I place a cold pack around the base of my skull and a cold eye pack over my sinuses. I then place rice packs that have been warmed for about 30 seconds in the microwave around my feet and hands. Moving the blood to my hands feet and away from head help calm down the migraines and it also feels really nice.
Before my period is scheduled to start I try really hard to stay away from caffeine and excessive sugar. I also keep my diet in general low in sodium as well as MSG. All of these things can contribute to headaches and migraines and it is easier to just stay away from them.
When I feel a menstrual migraine coming on, I try to get up and get moving right away. Even just a quick walk with the stroller around the neighborhood can fend off any threat of a migraine. It gets the blood moving and sort of washes the headache away for me.
For people that do not suffer from migraines, this all may seem a bit silly. They do not understand that something like a headache can keep a girl in bed all day or hanging over the toilet throwing up. These people are very lucky to not have to bear the burden of menstrual migraines. For those of us that do suffer from the symptoms, we have to plan a good deal of our life around them. I have to schedule for my period and make sure I have all the supplies that I need, and in reach, for that dreaded day. Fortunately, I have been able to keep most menstrual migraines at bay using the techniques I have listed. After years of suffering I have finally found a plan that works for me. I just hope my body doesn’t get used to it all and changes on me.