Question

Migraine Headache Causes

Are my migraines related to my menstrual cycle?

A Answers (2)

  • More than half of migraines in women occur right before, during, or after a woman has her period. This often is called "menstrual migraine." But, just a small fraction of women who have migraine around their period only have migraine at this time. Most have migraine headaches at other times of the month as well.

    How the menstrual cycle and migraine are linked is still unclear. We know that just before the cycle begins, levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, go down sharply. This drop in hormones may trigger a migraine, because estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that affect a woman's pain sensation.

    Talk with your doctor if you think you have menstrual migraine. You may find that medicines, making lifestyle changes, and home treatment methods can prevent or reduce the pain.

    This answer is based on the source infromation from the National Women's Health Information Center.

  • AKevin Windom, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, answered

    It is very common for people to blame their migraines on "hormonal problems".  The only true hormonal cause of migraines is when a woman starts have headaches the day before or when her menstrual cycle starts.  This is called menstrual migraine.  Menstrual migraines are caused by the decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels that happen right before and during the first day of your period.  If a patient's headaches are predictable, then in fact she might have menstrual migraines.  The treatment for menstrual migraines is either adding an estrogen pill or estrogen patch the week of her menstrual cycle to help decrease the severe drop in her hormone levels or some women will start on birth control pills and take their birth control pills continuously so as not to have a menstrual cycle. 

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