What causes menstrual migraines? What are the symptoms and treatment options? Read on to find the answers…
A couple of days prior to the onset of her periods, a woman might start experiencing one sided headaches. These headaches, which are related to a woman’s menstrual cycle, are known as menstrual migraines. The hormonal changes that take place inside a woman’s body due to her periods, trigger this condition. Around the time of periods, the estrogen levels in the body fall, resulting in menstrual migraines. Suffering from such headaches, which can range anywhere from mild to severe, month after month, can be discomforting for any woman. However, the saving grace is that since these headaches are experienced at a particular time of the month, they can be prevented and treated with some self-care measures and medication.
Menstrual Migraine Treatment
Menstrual migraines are not just limited to causing pain in the head, there are a number of other associated symptoms as well, such as sensitivity to lights, fatigue, a general feeling of illness, constipation, food cravings and increased appetite. To treat these symptoms, here are some of the options that you have.
Before consulting a doctor for your menstrual headaches, it would be better if you keep a record of the frequency of headaches, when do they occur, what is their nature, if there are any other factors responsible for causing them such as excess caffeine or intake of certain foods, etc. For three-four months, keep a record of all the things that you feel are related to your menstrual headaches. This would help your doctor to make a thorough examination of your condition and suggest appropriate preventive measures as well as medication, if required.
If the hormonal migraines that you experience are mild in nature, taking over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as and when you have the headaches, is more than enough to cure yourself of them. However, if the headaches are severe, taking a preventive course of the same, a couple of days prior to your periods as well as during the periods, will help you to avoid them altogether. As NSAIDs can produce certain side effects, so it is advised that you consult a doctor before starting with this preventive treatment.
Ibuprofen and aspirin are the most commonly prescribed drugs. Some other medications that may be prescribed to prevent menstrual migraines are – Ergot drugs, triptans, certain cardiovascular drugs and anticonvulsant drugs. By taking such a course, it is very likely that the frequency of your headaches will reduce and you will experience relief from pain.
Besides medication, birth control pills may be prescribed by doctors to treat menstrual migraines. Researches have shown that birth control pills which contain progesterone, reduce the severity and frequency of menstrual headaches in women. These contraceptives disrupt the monthly cycle and thus, prevent the hormonal changes in the body, resulting from it. On the other hand, pills with estrogen, may actually trigger migraine headaches and hence should be avoided.
As stress and anxiety are known to play havoc with the hormones in the body, keeping them in check, is very important. So, a woman should undertake stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga and breathing exercises, especially a week before her periods are due, to keep herself relaxed. Taking adequate rest and sleeping for seven to eight hours every night is very important too.
A woman who suffers from menstrual migraines, should avoid eating fatty, sugary and fried foods. Balanced, healthy and nutritious diet should be taken, comprising lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Alcohol, tea, coffee and soft drinks should be avoided completely. Keeping weight in check, by exercising regularly is recommended.
To bring relief from the symptoms, alternative therapies such as acupuncture and massages, can prove to be of immense help. The tiredness and pain in joints, resulting from menstrual migraines, can be relieved through both these techniques.
In case the headaches and other symptoms become so severe that they disrupt the normal living of a woman, doctors may recommend hormonal therapy. In most cases, menstrual migraines is a treatable condition. With a bit of precaution and some medication, you can easily get relief from them.