A woman’s menstrual cycle can affect more than just monthly periods. During each phase of the month, the hormonal changes that a woman faces may trigger other things such as cramps or even headaches. Women’s hormones actually can affect headache fluctuations each month.
The hormones estrogen and progesterone affect headache chemicals in the brain causing head pain, including migraines.
According to MigraineTrust.org, 50% of women have indicated that their monthly cycle causes headaches. This is generally believed to be caused by a drop in estrogen levels just before the onset of the period. Menstrual migraines are most likely to begin 2 days prior to the period and 3 days after menstruation begins.
If a woman’s menstrual cycle is irregular, these headaches may be the only indicator that their period is about to begin. Your doctor can provide medications, such as birth control, to regulate your cycle, which can reduce the effects of the migraine headaches. However, some women experience more migraine symptoms while they are taking birth control. Talk to your doctor about changing your medication to reduce or eliminate migraines during your cycle.
There are a few simple things you can do to alleviate headache pain caused by hormones during your period, including:
- Using ice on your head and neck to reduce pain
- Using relaxation techniques
- Using biofeedback techniques
- Receiving acupuncture treatments
- Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever
- Taking prescription medications as directed by your doctor
Medical professionals also suggest keeping a diary to keep track of your pain and how it is affected by your cycles throughout the month. This can give your doctor a more complete picture of your migraines and it will be helpful for determining a treatment plan.
If you feel that you may be experiencing migraines as a result of your monthly hormone fluctuations or that your migraine pain may be more intense during these times, talk to your doctor about the options available to you.
Do you experience severe headache pain during your menstrual cycle?
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