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Menstrual Migraines

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Help is at hand - in lots of ways

If you suffer from menstrual migraines, you’re amongst the 50% of women who say their period affects their migraines1. Menstrual migraines can come in the days or weeks before, during or after your period’s bleeding, but they tend to have the same cause. Or to put it another way, menstrual migraines are an unwelcome side effect of our ability to have babies.

What causes menstrual migraines?

The biggest cause of menstrual migraines is the female sex hormone oestrogen2. It’s as if your body’s normal ‘balance’ is disturbed. And like any balance, ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ oestrogen can be a bad thing. Some women may suffer menstrual migraine due to a decrease in their oestrogen level - so there are different ways to tackle the causes.

And, as oestogen levels fall, so do other natural chemicals in our bodies - similar to a ‘chain reaction’. One of the major alterations that may occur is in serotonin, a hormone that affects the way we think and feel. Oestrogen can make serotonin levels vary from their ‘usual’ levels, it can bring on changes from tiredness and tearfulness, to migraines or depression3.

PMS Headaches

Premenstrual Syndrome Headaches, or PMS headaches, are caused by the same changes in hormone levels as menstrual migraines, but are less severe. They come before the actual period, often with other PMS symptoms.

Unlike ‘regular’ headaches, they can arrive with fatigue, spots or ‘acne’, joint pain, decreased urination, constipation, and even a lack of coordination. It’s not unusual for PMS headache sufferers to binge eat or crave unusual food and drink - especially chocolate, salty snacks and alcohol.

Treating the pain

Most of us treat migraines with pain relievers, or other medicines, when the symptoms arrive.

Feminax Express can be used to relieve period related symptoms such as headaches and migraines. To find out more about Feminax Express click here.

Other ways to help4

If you have severe menstrual migraines, it’s always a good idea to talk to your GP. They can suggest other treatments that can reduce the number and strength of migraines. Each of us is unique, so treatment choices can vary.

Learning the patterns

One of the most effective ways of dealing with a menstrual migraine is learning to spot the warning signs. Menstrual migraines can last for about five days in the month - if you experience symptoms lasting longer, see a doctor right away.

They tend to be fairly regular, so if you know they come at a certain time in your cycle, you can use our period predictor to find your period days. Then, if your migraines normally come at a specific time before, during or after the period, mark the possible ‘migraine days’ on a calendar. So, you’ll know to avoid possible ‘triggers’. Or, take time off when migraines are likely to strike.

  1. 1 http://www.migrainetrust.org/factsheet-menstruation-and-migraine-10883
  2. 2 http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/295/15/1824.short
  3. 3 http://www.migraines.org/treatment/treather.htm
  4. 4 MacGregor EA, Steiner TJ, Davies PTG, 2010. Guidelines for All Healthcare Professionals in the Diagnosis and
       Management of Migraine, 3rd edition (1st revision), British Association for the Study of Headache.

Tips

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Making more room for you, less for the pain. Rule ♯ 1 - Love Periods. Hate Pain. It can be hard to keep-up when you’re in pain, but you don’t have to suffer. Feminax understands the pain you’re in...

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