Discussion Topic

Hormonal Migraines

Posted on 04/12/08, 07:34 pm
Hormonal migraines, particularly menstrual migraines, are reported to have three causes.

One is the sharp decline in estrogen before menstruation begins. For women who have this as the cause, wearing the estrogen patch (100mcg patch) several days before the decline would happen, or being on birth control** for three straight months without skipping the week intended to produce menstruation (so that they get four periods a year) has been been shown to help with migraine control.

The second cause is the increase in prostaglandins that occur in the body during the shedding of the endometrium. Prostaglandins are chemicals in the body that can cause inflammation and pain. To help offset this cause, a recommendation would be to take Naproxen (two doses of Aleve) for several days before your usual occurrence of migraine.

The third cause is a magnesium deficiency during your period. Magnesium levels are known to drop during your cycle. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals when it comes to controlling migraines, and in fact - just a lack of magnesium in your system can cause you to be sensitive to light all the time. Magnesium is used orally as a preventative, and intravenously as a migraine abortive. To prevent this cause, begin taking a daily magnesium supplement, and increase it during the latter half of your cycle.

It could be noted that the triptan you want to try if you have menstrual migraines is Frova. This is because it is the longest lasting of all the triptans, having a half-life of 24 hours. Why is this important? People who get menstrual migraines are often in a situation where they are repeatedly triggered. So, they could take Imitrex, but as soon as the Imitrex wears off (2-4 hours), their migraine comes back - because the body is still going through the same process that causes the migraines in the first place. Taking Frova (particularly pairing Frova with the full dose of Aleve) can give significantly more relief for some people - simply because of the length of time it will be acting on the system.

**birth control poses a stroke risk, as does migraine with aura. If you have migraines with aura, particularly migraines with prolonged aura, taking birth control can further increase your risk of stroke.
Showing 9 Replies
  • Reply #1 04/18/08  11:20am
    I get migraines right before a period, but I also get non-stop migraines (or what I jokingly call "migraines on steroids") if I take any form of hormonal birth control (estrogen only, progesteron only, or the combo of both -I had tubal done because of my reaction to birth control.) I wonder if the fact I have aura's, sometimes prolonged ones, have anything to do with that, or if it's just because I'm hormone triggered. Either way, great article, as are all of your articles!
  • Reply #2 04/29/08  11:42pm
    Interesting about the Magnesium connection. I read that if you crave dark chocolate it's because you are deficient in Magnesium. I crave dark chocolate during my periods and concurrently with the migraines. I have increased my Magnesium intake.
  • Reply #3 05/10/08  1:43am
    I saw a second nuero who says hashimoto's is causing my migraines, however, i am going to get a CAT SCAN to be sure nothing is wrong. Thanks for the advice here.
  • Reply #4 06/17/08  3:35pm
    Hashithing- what is hashimoto's? I was reading the responses and was curious.
  • Reply #5 06/17/08  3:39pm
    I tend to get my main migraine 1 to 2 weeks before my period. I take a daily preventative and have tried many of the triptans. Currently I take topamax each night (which I am not too happy about between the cost and the side effects). I am going to talk to my neuro about it when I go back to see him. I also take fiornel and codiene when I get a migraine. It helps but does not get rid of the headache just gets rid of the edge.
  • Reply #6 06/17/08  7:45pm
    bbirds8: Hashimoto's is Autoimmune Hypothyroidism or Autoimmune Thyroid Disease, difficult to diagnose sometimes, can take a while for diagnosis.
  • Reply #7 06/18/08  7:12am
    Thank yoy Hashithing. I have never heard of it before and am just very interested in all the information I can get when it comes to migraines.
  • Reply #8 05/17/11  3:11am
    Thank you for sharing the information about magnesium. I think that that lack of magnesium is what might be happening with me. It's great to know that there is a support group!
  • Reply #9 08/01/11  4:17pm
    What about menopausal migraines? I've had migraines since I was 17 and I would get severe migraines under stressful situations, death of a family friend etc., then I entered the change of life and they changed and became 10x worse; I now wake up with them, throwing up along with all the other lovely symptoms I have to be in my room with all the lights off, dark and cold. My neurologist has increased my meds and of course he wouldn't know a thing between migraines and menopause because I asked him......HIM


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