Menstrual Migraine: 60% of the headaches related to the rule are solved with a simple treatment or the change of some habits. The dance of hormones indeed causes certain discomforts, but you should not resign yourself to suffer them.
One in three women suffers from headaches due to menstruation and yet does not go to the doctor. The specialists themselves recognize that it is an under-treated ailment since it is assumed as something “normal” and, therefore, it is not always diagnosed.
Half of the women who decide to go to the consultation do not follow any treatment.
1. Headache Causes Menstrual Migraine
This type of menstrual migraine headache is related to an exaggerated response to the hormonal changes in the body by the hormonal changes. The Department of Neurology at the Hospital of the Henares (Madrid) gives us some clues as to why this happens:
Menstrual migraine appears when estrogen levels decrease before ovulation and menstruation. Then specific proteins are activated that cause vasodilation and inflammation in the blood vessels, leading to increased nerves’ sensitivity and causing pain.
1 in 3 women suffer from headaches when they have their periods
Not all women suffer from menstrual migraines. Although it is unknown exactly why these differences exist, it seems to depend on each woman’s brain’s genetic sensitivity to these types of chemical changes.
It is the same relationship that exists, for example, to atmospheric changes or fasting.
2. Control Your Cycle to Prevent Menstrual Migraine
Perhaps you suffer from headaches regularly, but you have never stopped to analyze during what periods, in particular, the pain usually occurs.
Looking at this detail will help you identify if these discomforts are related to menstruation. Knowing this information will give you a golden advantage when it comes to preventing them. Keep in mind that in 60% of cases, a few simple changes in habits are enough to alleviate the headaches associated with menstrual changes.
Write down on a calendar the days you suffer from these discomforts. And if you usually have migraines, also check if they become more severe during the period because studies show that hormonal changes can aggravate them.
If these discomforts appear (or are more intense) during the two days before menstruation and the 3 after, it means that you are sensitive to hormonal changes. Notice if the pain is more intense a couple of days before the period.
In this case, we recommend that you start the following prevention plan to help you “prepare” your body during the days before menstruation to reduce the effects that the dance of hormones causes in your body. In this way, you will be up to relieve the headache.
3. Counteracts the Effects of Hormones
The decrease in estrogen levels in your body is just one factor that influences these headaches’ appearance. Try to detect other factors that may aggravate the seizures and that you can control during the days before the rule.
a. Watch the Feeding
The foods containing vasodilators exacerbate episodes of migraines and headaches in some women during menstruation.
We recommend During the week before menstruation, try to reduce your intake of foods rich in tyramine (such as aged cheese, chicken liver, walnuts, or herring ). Also, avoid wine, beer, cold cuts, chocolate, and preserves as they contain amino acids that can exacerbate pain.
b. Try to Reduce Stress
If you are relaxed during the days before your menstruation, you will prevent the head muscles from being in tension, which exacerbates the headache.
Foods with vasodilator substances and stress aggravate migraines.
Dr Samuel Diaz Insa, a neurologist and coordinator of the Headache Study Group of the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN), recommend practising relaxation techniques to combat this migraine type. The massages in the head and neck can also help.
We recommend Do not drink any excitement (such as coffee or tea ) during these days and try to postpone the situations that you foresee as very stressful for another week. Also, bear in mind that, according to specialists, surrounding yourself with a pleasant and calm environment helps to relieve annoying headaches.
c. If Everything Else Doesn’t Work
It is usually recommended to take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (such as ibuprofen) two or three days before the rule. If the attacks are very intense, they can prescribe triptans, which can cause specific side effects such as dizziness or gastric discomfort.
We recommend If you regularly suffer from migraines (not only during your period), they likely become worse during menstruation. In that case, continue with your usual treatment without increasing the dose and, only if the pain is very acute, resort to an anti-inflammatory.
d. Natural Headache Relief
We propose two ways to relieve headache discomfort with techniques that you can perform at home or work.
Massage: You will likely find relief from your pain by pressing your thumb and forefinger on your nose’s bridge at an angle to your eyes. Also, massage your eyebrows, following their drawing with your fingers.
You can relax your temples by placing both of them on them and pressing them a little. Use a prolonged movement, circling outwards.
Massage can have a very relaxing effect.
Relaxation exercises: Relaxing the contraction of the muscles of the face will relieve your Menstrual Migraine. Opening and closing your eyes, pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth, and smiling until you feel the tension in your cheeks are some relaxation exercises that will help you.
Use rotating head movements (just half a circle, from one shoulder to the other) to remove cervical tension.