Can My Period Cause Migraines?

November 6, 2015

If you suffer from migraines, you know how debilitating the headaches can be—especially when you can’t pinpoint what causes your symptoms. It turns out your menstrual cycle may be guilty of triggering migraine headaches. Fortunately, however, this is an issue that can be treated. If you’re struggling with migraines month after month, learn what you should do below.

The Link Between Migraines and Menstruation

A woman’s body maintains a delicate balance of hormones, the levels of which change throughout your menstrual cycle. The levels of two of these hormones, estrogen and progesterone, both drop just before your period begins. This can trigger a migraine in some women that is most likely to occur in the two days before your period. The symptoms often continues into the first three days of your period.

How Menstruation-Related Migraines Are Diagnosed

While there is no testing available to confirm that your migraines are related to your period, your OB-GYN can help. Your doctor will typically ask you to keep a journal for at least three months, making a special note of the days your migraine symptoms occur and the days you have your period.

By comparing this information, you and your doctor will be able to determine where in your menstrual cycle your headaches start. If your journal shows that your headaches and your period don’t seem to be related, you and your doctor can explore other triggers. If your headaches do coincide with menstruation, your doctor will discuss the treatment options with you.

Treatment Options for Menstruation-Related Migraines

Some women find relief from menstrual migraines by taking over-the-counter pain relievers. Others may need prescription strength pain relief such as mefenamic acid or medications in the triptan family, which block pain receptors in the brain. Many women take these medication just before their period, but women with irregular menstrual cycles may take medications daily to prevent headaches since they can’t accurately predict when their headache is due.

Estrogen patches and gels may also help by keeping your estrogen levels elevated when they would normally drop and trigger your migraine. Some women choose to take oral contraceptives to treat their headaches. Low estrogen birth control pills make the estrogen drop at the beginning of your period less severe, which may prevent the migraine. Birth control pills can also be used to skip menstruation so that you have fewer periods (and headaches) each year.

Get Migraine Relief Today at OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch

If you’re suffering from migraines related to your period, the OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch can help. Give us a call today at (941) 907-3008 to discuss your treatment options or schedule your appointment online.