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Migraines: A Monthly Misery?

Women who experience migraines around the start of their period may be able to prevent them.

Migraine headaches associated with menstrual periods are generally one of three types:

  • Migraines that happen only during menstruation and at no other time

  • Migraines that happen at other times, but are worse during menstruation

  • Migraines that happen before menstruation begins, in the premenstrual phase

Menstrual migraines are caused by changes in the female sex hormones that regulate menstrual changes throughout the monthly cycle. When the levels of estrogen and progesterone change, women are more vulnerable to headaches.

As with any migraine, prevention is the goal. If you suffer from menstrual migraines, keep a headache diary detailing when your headaches happen, how long they last, and when your period starts. This information can help you and your healthcare provider determine if your menstrual cycle is triggering your headaches. Understanding your menstrual headaches is the first step toward preventing them.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Jasmin, Luc, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 11/16/2015
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