Healthy Living

Menstrual Migraines: Effective Ways To Relieve Pain

Since 40 percent of all women are said to have experienced at least one migraine before the age of 50, it comes as no surprise that they reportedly experience migraines before the period cycle begins and in the mid-cycle, too. 

Menstrual migraines occur due to hormonal imbalance, particularly of estrogen. Low estrogen reduces serotonin production in the brain, exacerbating any type of pain during menstruation. However, if the migraines become worse mid-cycle or before the period of ovulation, it could indicate an unhealthy and high level of estrogen in the body. 

One study conducted by Stockholm University observed 20 women with chronic low pain over three consecutive menstrual cycles. It was found that these women estimated their pain levels to be higher during the menstrual and premenstrual phases in comparison to mid-menstrual and ovulatory phases. They were reported to have negative thoughts and had difficulty coping.

Fortunately, there are a few simple effective ways to deal with menstrual migraines according to Dr. Jolene Brighten, an expert on contraceptives. They are all found below.

Keep a journal: Document hormonal and lifestyle changes 24 hours prior to the migraine. Also tracking the period cycle may be useful to identifying any hormonal imbalance. Recording when and where the migraine occurred, along with rating its intensity, could be valuable information to the clinician in order to recommend a workable remedy. 

Improve nutrition: In Brighten’s book "Beyond the Pill," she recommends popping 600 mg of magnesium as the symptoms appear and before the migraine pain levels could even escalate. Eating magnesium-rich foods (nuts, seeds, leafy vegetables) is also advised. She also recommends taking 400 mg of vitamin B2 or riboflavin on a daily basis for more than a month.  

Lower inflammation: Inflammation levels can be reduced by eating fish and green leafy vegetables. Add a dash of turmeric to teas or even consider taking a supplement since the ingredient blocks the NFkB pathway that causes the kind of inflammation leading to migraines. 

Relaxation: Try doing some yoga during your period because there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that it relieves migraines during periods. It improves the nervous system and circulation and even reduces stress. Try adding drops of lavender and essential oils to coconut or avocado oil and dilute them, then massage your temples for relief. Interestingly, research also suggests that regular orgasms relieve migraines in 47 percent of cases. 

Female Migraine Some people are susceptible to getting migraines during their menstruation cycle. Elena Saharova/Unsplash