Menstrual Migraines: The Hormonal Nightmare

Yahoo News

Angela Hazel Mon Nov 8, 11:58 am ET

Migraines affect millions of women a year. On an average, three times more women than men suffer from migraines. Many of these women are actually suffering from a particular type of headache, called menstrual migraines. They make their presents known from one day to one week prior to the start of the menstrual cycle. They can last from one day to a week after the end of a woman’s cycle. Menstruation and hormonal changes are the most common causes of migraines in women.

Symptoms vary from one person to another, but usually include throbbing pain in the head radiating primarily on one side. However, this pain can become generalized. Nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound also are known to accompany migraines. Some sufferers report impaired vision before or during these attacks. Without treatment these debilitating headaches can last from 4 hours to 3 days.

The cause of these migraines is a severe drop in hormones just prior to and during the menstrual cycle. Normally, hormones drop slightly during this period, but the hormone levels of women with menstrual migraines drop excessively. Under normal conditions the hormone levels rise up to normal levels after the completion of the cycle. This does not happen in women suffering from menstrual migraines. The levels drop so low for these women, that they are unable to rise to normal levels after menses; therefore, causing the vicious cycle of these severe headaches.

For 1 to 3 days after suffering from a menstrual migraine, patients report feeling “hung-over” which is usually accompanied with a dull headache. Impaired thinking, dizziness, exhaustion and mood changes can also be experienced preceding a migraine.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.