What is Menstrual Migraine?
Menstrual Migraine as the word indicates is a type of migraine experienced by women every month during menstruation. According to an estimate, about 60% women fall victim to this migraine. This is usually seen either before or during or after their monthly period.
Fluctuations in the level of estrogen hormone is one of the main causes of this migraine. It has been observed that the hormone levels drop to their lowest levels in the blood triggering the onset of Menstrual Migraine. This is due to the link between estrogen and pain. Falling levels of this hormone make the body sensitive to pain.
Apart from the above mentioned cause, some other factors such as reduced serum magnesium levels, secretion of prostaglandins by the shedding endometrium (layer lining the uterus) also add up to increased migraine during menses.
Symptoms include vomiting, nausea and sensitivity to sound and lights. These come in combination with migraine aura and unbearable headache.
Two sub-types of this migraine have been identified. They are:
- Menstrual Associated Migraine – This term is used to describe the migraine that occurs sometime around the monthly periods and during normal days as well.
- Pure or True Menstrual Migraine – As the name indicates, this type is experienced by women exclusively during menstruation. This is the severe form of migraine among both. It can last for longer periods and gradually gains resistance to the treatments, worsening the situation.
Menstrual Migraine Treatment:
- Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), triptans, corticosteroids and analgesics can be effective pain relievers.
- Estrogen supplements can be taken just before your period begins to compensate for the dropping levels. Estrogen patches can also be used. These patches should be attached to the skin 3 days before the period begins and should be left undisturbed for another 4 days. The hormone enters the bloodstream through the skin.
Some doctors suggest a combination of 2 or more treatments for a quick relief from pain.