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How can I reduce headaches related to taking birth control pills?

Dawn Marcus
Neurology
If your headaches have worsened with the use of birth control pills, you might discuss these strategies with your doctor:
  • Reduce the estrogen dose of the active pills. If the everyday
           estrogen dose is lower, your body experiences less of a
           change from the highest level of estrogen that occurs during
           the weeks when you're taking active pills to the lowest
           estrogen level during the placebo week.
  • Supplement with additional low-dose estrogen during the placebo
           week. Studies show benefit from adding 0.9 mg estrogen on
           each day of the placebo week.
  • Reduce the duration of the placebo week, including eliminating the
           placebo week from most cycles. You might discard the
           placebo week pills from your oral contraceptives for 2 or 3
           consecutive months and start your next pack with active pills
           when you would normally have been using the placebo pills
           from the previous pack. This will result in missing one or two
           periods before cycling back to the placebo week and having a
           regular cycle.
Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before trying any of these options. If you have developed a marked worsening of headaches, an increase in aura symptoms, or a new aura after starting birth control pills, you will need to use a different type of contraception.
The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.