Migraine headaches are a tough thing to deal with. Menstrual migraines are typically worse than regular migraines because they often appear along with other symptoms of a monthly period, such as bloating and mood swings.
A headache before menses is typically caused by the drop in estrogen that occurs before a monthly period. Seventy percent of migraine sufferers are women and sixty to seventy percent of that number have menstrual migraines.
Prior to my partial hysterectomy, I had this type of migraine each month. The only two months I did not have this type of ache were the ones when I was pregnant. Most of my headaches stopped during pregnancy but came back later.
A study by S. Ferrero and colleagues has found a connection between these headaches and endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue grows outside of the uterus, usually on the ovaries. Endometriosis causes painful periods by itself. Combine Endometriosis and this type of headache together and you are one miserable feeling person.
In my experience, I had this type of headache and endometriosis. A menstrual headache can also appear with PMDD. PMDD is characterized as a period of extreme mood changes near the time your period is expected. These changes usually go away when your period arrives. PMDD is so severe it can effect your everyday life, I had PMDD and the ache stopped within two hours of my period arriving.
To fight a menstrual migraine, I usually slept but not everyone has that option. Physicians tell those who suffer from this type of ache to take NSAIDs such as Motrin. Treatment should begin two to three days before the period is expected. Birth control pills can also help these headaches in some cases. Sometimes a stronger pain medication may be needed, especially if you also have endometriosis so ask your physician. Be careful with medications stronger than the ones over the counter. I developed a problem with Fioricet in college. My headaches were so common I did not take the, medication correctly. If taken correctly this medication completely stopped my headache. There are new school migraine medications, such as Imitrex, on the market as well. The job of these medications is to prevent the pain from beginning before a pain medication is required.
Remedies for regular migraines can help some menstrual migraines as well. If you are fighting a menstrual migraine attack, it is wise to be in a darkened room. People with migraines are more sensitive to light and noise. Ice packs placed on the head helped me as well. In my experience, chiropractors helped with my headaches.
Take comfort in knowing this type of ache is usually short lived. The menstrual migraine monster isn’t here to stay.