60% of Women Suffer From Menstrual Migraine, Obstetrician Explains Possible Reasons

Menstrual migraine or period headache is a common problem amongst women. Obstetrician explains the causes, symptoms and possible treatment.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Dec 26, 2020Updated at: Dec 26, 2020
60% of Women Suffer From Menstrual Migraine, Obstetrician Explains Possible Reasons

It is common for women to experience menstrual headaches right before the onset of periods. Around 60% of women suffer throbbing headaches during this time. One of the key reasons could be the drop in estrogen and progesterone hormones. Migraines are certainly different from a common headache as they typically cause throbbing pain on one side. We spoke to Dr. Madhushree Vijaykumar, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Hebbal, Bangalore who explained to us all about menstrual migraine. 

Menstrual Migraine Symptoms and Types

Migraines are of two types one with aura and the other without aura. 

In case you have a migraine with aura some of the common symptoms that occur thirty minutes before the menstrual headache is triggered are; unusual changes in hand, smell, taste, tingling or numbness in the face, hands and confusion in processing of things/ thinking as well confusion.

On the other hand, some of the common symptoms seen in migraine with aura are; vomiting, sensitivity to light, pain behind ears/ eyes, temporary loss of vision, etc. 

menstrual headache

Menstrual headache Causes and Stages

Menstrual headaches can either begin two days before the onset of periods or last at least 3 days during the period. In fact, it can even trigger among young girls when they reach puberty and get their periods and could last all along their productive years.

Perimenopause & Menopause 

At this stage, since there is a considerable drop in the levels of estrogen, progesterone and other hormones period headaches are triggered. Usually, perimenopause begins at least 4 years before a woman hits the menopause stage. Period headaches are also common in women opting for hormone replacement therapy. 

menstrual migraine

During Pregnancy

Hormone headaches are a common symptom during the pregnancy journey of a woman. There can be various related factors for the occurrence of such headaches during this phase like dehydration, a bad posture or even caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

Also Read: Natural Ways To Relieve Menstrual Cramps

Other factors causing period headaches are:

  • Bad sleeping practice
  • Stress/ fatigue
  • Exposure to extreme conditions of weather/light etc
  • Skipping meals/ fasting for long hours
  • Consumption of excess amount of caffeine/ sugary substances or alcohol

Treating menstrual headaches

There are plenty of options to treat these conditions including how to prepone periods naturally depending upon how often a woman experiences the symptoms. At times if you have menstrual headaches coupled with heavy periods it is advisable to take a few anti-inflammatory medications after consulting with your doctor. 

  • Consumption of vitamins and estrogen supplements can help in controlling the hormones and thus avoiding the migraine headache.
eating high protein diet
  • Exercise & eating a high protein diet – Regular exercise can be extremely beneficial in controlling the hormones. It is good to stay hydrated. A high protein diet is helpful before exercising and a good warm up is an important task before exercise, this helps in keeping the period headaches at bay.
  • Reducing Stress – Yoga, meditation and practicing deep breathing exercises are simple steps that can be incorporated into daily life. This will combat stress and reduce the chances of period headaches.

Overall identifying the triggering factors and combining medications/natural remedies can help in containing menstrual headaches up to a large extent. Be sure to visit your doctor if the problem persists.

It is normal to have menstrual headaches and there is no need to panic. Just take care of your diet and health during periods to alleviate the symptoms and get relief from pain. If you experience unbearable pain and discomfort, see a doctor to get timely medical aid.

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