Guest Author - Karen Somma
Many women who suffer from migraines have noticed an increase in number and or severity around the time of menstruation. If you are anything like me this happens more often than not. The main culprit of these worsening headaches and migraines is the drop in the hormone estrogen right before the start of menstruation. It is the fluctuation in estrogen that seems to cause the severe headaches during this time for women.
There are several things you can do if you suffer from these headaches. Over the counter remedies such as ibuprophin and naproxen sodium can be helpful. It is recommended that a preventative regimen be started two to three days before the start of your period and you should continue throughout the duration of your period. In addition to this a cold compress applied to the area and massaging any tense muscles can be helpful. Diuretics and reduced salt intake can be used to prevent symptoms of menstrual migraines as well. As with any health issue a healthy diet and regular exercise is important for a proper foundation to stabilize hormone fluctuations as much as possible naturally.
If over the counter methods are not helping then your doctor may give you a prescription. One treatment method is a small dose of estrogen. This can be done by using a medicated adhesive patch, or if you are already on birth control pills an estrogen dose over the seven days that usually contain placebo pills. If you are taking birth control pills and having migraines you may want to speak to you doctor about taking a pill with a lower dose of estrogen. There are birth control pills that are progesterone only and may be helpful in decreasing menstrual migraine. If none of these options work you may want to consider a non hormonal form of birth control.
There are other prescription options that do not contain hormones and simply treat the migraine itself. Your doctor may consider prescription drugs including certain beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and perhaps anticonvulsants. Drugs such as Inderal, Toprol, Verapamil, and Depakote just to name a few.
Menstrual migraines may be focused around a certain time frame and have a hormonal component to them but they are still migraines and you should still keep track of any external triggers that may affect the migraine. Things like diet sleep patterns and stress can all worsen an already painful migraine. With proper preventative treatment and symptom tracking you should be able to get a handle on the monthly menacing migraines and start feeling more like yourself.