Do you know that the migraine symptoms of women may differ slightly from men? More women than men tend to suffer from migraines because of their menstrual cycles. This type of headaches is commonly known as the menstrual migraines.Take Note
Many people often confuse menstrual migraines with migraines related to menstrual cycles. The latter are caused by changes in hormones due to menstruation, but can ALSO be caused by other triggers that are NOT associated with the menstrual cycle.For example, a patient is suffering from menstrually related headaches if she is experiencing migraines during her period and also when she is deprived of sleep.
Menstrual Migraines Symptoms
You know that you are suffering from menstrual migraines if you experience the below symptoms.
- Headaches typically last from 4 to 72 hours
- Experience migraine headaches at least every 2 out of 3 menstrual cycles
- Experience the headaches about 2 days before the start of menstruation or 3 days after; attacks do not occur at any other time of the cycle
- Headache is not triggered by other physical or neurological problems
- Do not experience aura; a small percentage of women may experience it though
Check if you also experience at least 1 one of the following migraine symptoms during an attack:
- Photophobia (sensitive to light)
- Phonophobia (sensitive to sound)
Lastly, see if your migraine has at least 2 of the following:
- Throbbing or pulsating pain
- Intensity of pain is from moderate to severe
- Pain is usually one-sided
- Pain becomes worse with physical activities such as walking, running, climbing stairs, etc
Do not panic or despair if you have been diagnosed with menstrual migraines; you will find help for the migraine treatment at the later part of this document.
So What Cause Menstrual Migraines?
Before you start looking for migraine help, it is important to know why they will occur in the first place. The main cause of this type of migraines for women is mainly due to their changes in hormonal levels.
Estrogen levels will drop before and during a menstruation cycle and some women may also experience a symptom known as dysmenorrhea. You are suffering from dysmenorrhea if you experience painful cramps during your period; this is due to the increased levels of a hormone that cause uterine contractions. This fact alone can sometimes trigger a migraine in a woman.Do note that preventive medications work differently on different people and they certainly do not work for everyone. For example, some women have very irregularly menstrual cycles and are unable to predict the start of their period accurately. If you fall under this category, then seeking professional help for a long-term preventive treatment may be useful.
If you have been diagnosed with menstrual migraines, chances are, you will also have regular menstrual cycles. As such, it is generally very effective to take preventive medications around the menstrual cycle.These medications usually require you to start on your medications a few days before menstruation begins and continue eating for as long as 1 week.
Check out the following treatments that are popular and effective against menstrual migraines:
Triptans – If you have no allergies with this drug, then take those 2 days before your period and continue taking throughout your cycle; they are very effective in reducing your migraine frequency.
Estrogen patches – The patch generally helps to maintain consistent levels of estrogen in the body during the menstruation cycle. This prevents the estrogen level from dropping drastically which lead to migraines.
NSAIDs – Acronym for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They are analgesics that can be effectively used as preventive drugs; take naproxen sodium twice daily 7 days before the period starts as well as 6 days before it ends. This regimen is commonly used by doctors for migraine treatment.Take Note
It is not recommended to take birth control pills if you never experience migraines as this may increase your risk of getting one by 10 times. It is important to have a proper diagnosis to determine if you are suffering from menstrual migraines or migraines related to menstruation as each of them will have different treatment approach. So, the next time if you experience migraines, check if you have the migraine symptoms that are outlined in the earlier part of this document.