Being on your period causes enough headaches on its own. You likely need to reach for pain medications for cramps, soothing tea and heating pads for bloating, a favorite movie for mood swings, PantyProp leak-proof underwear for bleeding – the list goes on, really. But, on top of all that, there may be some actual headaches that go hand in hand with your menstrual cycle as well. That’s right, we’re talking the dreaded migraines.
While not every woman suffers them, many do. In fact, since most women who experience migraines tend to get their first ones in their teenage years, menstruation and migraines start to go unfortunately hand in hand. Around 50% of women who reportedly get migraines say that their menstrual cycles have a direct effect on their migraines – the entire menstrual cycle, that is, not just the period itself.
Since menstruation, in all its fluctuations, effects the body and hormones, it is only natural that it would have a hand in determining the occurrence and the severity of migraines. Some women are naturally more sensitive to the fluctuations of hormones within the menstrual cycle. Some studies have suggested, too, that migraine can be triggered by a drop in estrogen levels - drops such as those which naturally occur in the time just before your period. Factors such as the release of prostaglandin (a fatty acid within the body that acts in a similar way to a hormone) may also be a factor at this time in the cycle.
A menstrual migraine specifically is directly associated with those dropping estrogen levels and is most likely to occur in the two days right before your period as well as the first three days of the actual period itself. Since no specific, medical test exists currently to confirm a pattern of menstrual migraines, it is a good idea to track the occurrence of migraines, much like you would your period itself, and be aware of patterns. If you find that after about three months of tracking you get a migraine within that five-day period associated window, it is likely you are suffering from menstrual migraines.
There are several ways you can attack menstrual migraines. Taking an anti-inflammatory painkiller is a possible treatment that can not only soothe painful migraines but also assist with other pain associated with heavy periods.
You can also discuss with your doctor the possibility of taking estrogen supplements. A simple adjustment to a falling estrogen hormone imbalance just before and just after your period could possibly prevent migraines from ever occurring.
Whatever treatment you pursue, be sure to continue your tracking of migraines and symptoms so you can gauge effectiveness.