Many women who suffer from migraines report that they intensify around the same time as menstruation occurs. Menstrual migraines are defined as those that occur start as early as two days prior to the beginning of your period. They may also begin as late as the third day following the beginning of blood flow. These migraines may occur even in those who experience migraines periodically throughout the month. Migraines that occur at these times are notably more severe.
Menstrual Migraines And How To Treat Them
Research shows that these menstrual migraines are brought on by the sudden drop in estrogen levels that coincides with the start of menstruation. The common misconception is that headaches are a normal and natural part of the menstrual cycle. However, there is no reason that you should be experiencing this condition as part of your natural cycle. Treating menstrual migraines can be challenging, as they do not respond to traditional migraine medications. Evidence suggests that the ineffectiveness of these medications may be due to the interaction of estrogen with these medications.
Acute Treatments Used To Treat Menstrual Migraines
- Oral Tablets – There is a range of oral medications that can be effective, provided they’re used in the earliest stages of a migraine attack. They are most effective in combination with NSAIDs, also known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This family of drugs includes ibuprofen, Motrin, and naproxen sodium.
- Injectables – When the attack has already intensified, it may be too late for oral tablets to be effective. However, injectable treatments can provide rapid relief for some patients. Their effectiveness is tied, in part, to their bypassing of the digestive tract. Sumatriptan is the only form of triptan medication that can be injected. When effective, it will provide relief within 10 minutes.
- Nasal – Nasal treatments share the same benefit as injectables in that they bypass the digestive tract. Its onset is not quite as rapid as those of injectables, but they are unaffected by nausea and vomiting. They are available in self-administering forms and are perfect for needle sensitivity patients.
Preventative Treatments Used To Treat Menstrual Migraines
- NSAIDs – These are effectively provided they’re used twice a day within 5-7 days of the onset of menstruation. Even when ineffective, they have been shown to boost the effectiveness of triptan medication issued to provide relief.
- Hormones – Estrogen supplementation is effective in some menstrual migraine patients. This supplementation can come from a patch, a vaginal gel, or a pill. This approach is most effective in those who have regular menstrual cycles.
- Magnesium – Some menstrual migraine patients have reported that taking magnesium helps. Starting magnesium on the 15th day of your menstrual cycle can help ease the appearance of migraines.
Speak To Your Women’s Health Professional For Ongoing Care
Treating migraines is often an ongoing process that requires coordination with your women’s health care provider. The first approach to addressing their appearance may not work. However, with ongoing care, most patients can find some degree of relief.