About a year after I had my first period, I started experience really intense headaches. I was super sensitive to light and sound and generally was miserable. Even getting up to go to the bathroom hurt. Forget going anywhere else! My pediatrician prescribed medications for a migraine called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which helped a little bit, but I was still fairly miserable. I missed three days of school every month. At first, me and my mom didn’t see a pattern to the migraines, but after a few months of tracking them, we realized that it had to do with my menstrual cycle.
Since I was 14, my mom was really against me taking oral contraceptives for my migraines. Instead, we tried to modify my diet. I stopped eating chocolate and soda, which made me miserable during the rest of the month. I tried eating soy dairy instead of real dairy, but I really missed ice cream. For two years, I switched between doctors. I had MRIs and other scans to try to figure out if the migraines were caused by something else. My doctor told me that migraine medications should stop acute menstrual migraine symptoms, but apparently I was a special case.
In my late teens, I started getting what my doctor called rebound headaches from the menstrual migraines. After wearing her down for a year, my dad convinced my mom to let me go on birth control to stop the menstrual migraines. It didn’t eliminate them right away. I had to try two pills before finding the right one that didn’t cause other side effects, such as weight gain. I ended up on a combined oral contraceptive pill that really did the trick in conjunction with a migraine pill.
I’ve been on that pill for six years now, and I no longer experience menstrual migraines. However, my soon-to-be husband and I have been talking about what will happen when we decide to have children. I won’t be able to be on a pill or any hormonal birth control when we’re trying to conceive, so the migraines likely will come back. Theoretically, they won’t stick around while I’m pregnant, but they will be back again after I give birth and while I’m breastfeeding. We’ve talked a lot about ways to communicate when I have those pains and feelings. I’m also working with a doctor right now to see if there are other solutions that might work for me. I know a child will be worth it, but I don’t want to spend his or her first months in a painful rage.
Staff, Migraines, Headaches and Hormones. WebMD.