July 28, 2010, 4:03 pm
Several readers had questions for the Consults blog about hormones and migraines. Here, Dr. David Dodick of the Mayo Clinic responds to one reader who wondered if birth control pills can prevent migraines tied to the menstrual cycle.
Dr. Dodick — I have been getting non-aura migraines since childhood, around the time my menstrual cycle began. I cut out caffeine, chocolate and red wine in my mid-20s but continue to have migraines once a month in conjunction with my cycle. I am curious if taking a birth control pill that limits the number of periods will also lessen the frequency of migraines?
Dr. David Dodick of the Mayo Clinic responds:
Menstruation is a very common and powerful trigger in women who suffer from migraine. There is evidence — and it has certainly been my experience with patients — that in some women, these attacks are also more severe and last longer than those attacks that occur outside the menstrual period. By definition, attacks of migraine that are triggered by menstruation occur within two days prior and three days after the onset of menstrual flow.
Balancing the hormones is another effective way of taking care of migraine headaches without adding synthetic hormones (BCP’s) to your body.