Sunday, February 17th, 2019

Menstrual Migraine

It is a fact that about 70% of migraine sufferers are in fact female. Of these, another 60-70% are reporting that their migraines are a result of their menstrual cycle.

Menstrual migraines have a huge impact on a woman’s life. Although migraines are not proven to be caused by our natural hormonal changes, these changes that our bodies go through actually will trigger a migraine, just as stress will. But what causes these migraines during our menstrual cycle is the fact that right before women have their period, estrogen and progesterone levels are dropping to their lowest levels. Just as with taking birth control pills, these drastic estrogen level changes can trigger a migraine headache.

Estrogen levels also cause a changes in serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that absolutely has been linked to a cause of migraine headaches. Serotonin influences our mood, blood vessel constriction, and also can impact the way we feel pain.

Mentrually related migraine attacks can occur during any time of the month, not just when a woman’s cycle has come on. During this time you may experience nausea and a sensitivity to light and sound along with these severe headaches. A pure menstrual migraine will have the same symptoms, only this class migraine only will occur while a woman is actually menstruating.

Medications of choice to stop a migraine are nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs.) The most often used for menstrual migraines are:

  • Relafin
  • Orudis
  • Advil and Motrin
  • Naprosyn
  • Nalfon

You NSAID treament should actually be taken 3 days before your period and continue until your cycle ends. For those with severe migraines it is recommended that you start taking your NSAID  on the 19th day of the cycle and continue until your second day of the menstrual cycle.

Other medications include:

  • Anticonvulsants such as valproate (Depakote)
  • Beta-blockers such as propranolol
  • Calcium channel blockers such as verapamil
  • Small doses of  ergotamine drugs (Bellergal-S,Cafergot,Migranal)

These medications should also be taken 3 days pre-cycle and continue throughout your cycle.