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Menstrual migraine is a paroxysmal, pulsating headache that occurs before or during menstruation, often felt on one side only, accompanied by symptoms such as photophobia, sometimes also nausea and vomiting. How to mitigate its effects?

Menstrual migraineis classified as a migraine without an aura. This means that the headache is not accompanied by visual disturbances (e.g. flashes, spots in front of the eyes, amblyopia) or other symptoms (e.g. tingling of the body, unilateral paresis, ringing in the ears, disturbance in concentration) that accompany classic migraine with aura. In order to find out if we are really dealing with menstrual migraine, its symptoms should repeat at least two or three menstrual cycles in a row. It is worth remembering that a headache may occur as early as a day or two before the period, but it also often appears only during the bleeding and may last up to three days after its end.

Menstrual migraine: hormone levels change

So far, doctors have not been able to establish a clear cause of menstrual migraine. It is most likely related to the female hormones estrogens. They are produced by the ovaries and in addition to regulating the menstrual cycle, preparing the body for possible pregnancy, they also fulfill many other functions, including increase blood clotting, prevent the development of osteoporosis, affect the correct level of the so-called good cholesterol, and lower the so-called bad cholesterol. One of the first symptoms of abnormal levels of female hormones in the body is menstrual disorders. It must be remembered that throughout the menstrual cycle, the concentration of estrogens increases and decreases, and both their deficiency and excess can lead to many ailments, including hot flushes, decreased libido, increased risk of thrombotic disease, malaise. It is believed that it is the excessively sharp decrease in the concentration of estrogens (the activity of neurons changes, the cerebral blood flow decreases) that results in a menstrual migraine.

Menstrual migraine: treatment

The symptoms of a migraine during menstruation are sometimes so strong that they can effectively exclude a woman from her daily activities. Painheadaches, as with classic migraines, can last from four to 72 hours, sometimes even longer. Its intensity, including its pulsating nature, sensitivity to light, sometimes also to sound, nausea and vomiting, make patients often seek help in pharmacological agents, hoping that they will alleviate the troublesome symptoms that often prevent normal functioning. Doctors most often recommend over-the-counter or stronger prescription painkillers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and triptan anti-migraine medications, which are best given before the headache gets worse.

The choice of pharmaceuticals should be decided by a doctor who will select them depending on the woman's age, the intensity of the migraine and the dominant symptoms.

Since the menstrual migraine repeats itself cyclically, it is also necessary to take into account the appropriate doses of drugs to eliminate their possible side effects. It is also worth discussing with the gynecologist the use of oral hormonal contraception, which may lead to the reduction of symptoms related to menstrual migraine. In this case, however, the possible side effects of such therapy should be taken into account.

Worth knowing

Home remedies for menstrual migraine

In the case of menstrual migraine, unlike other types of migraine, it is easier to predict when it will occur. Therefore, you can try home coping with this ailment.

Positive results as soon as the first symptoms of migraine appear, can be obtained by rubbing peppermint oil on the forehead and temples, soaking the feet in hot water for a quarter of an hour (put them in cold water for a while) or warming the feet with a hot water bottle.

Relief will be brought by a gentle massage of the neck and shoulder area, and in case of nausea or vomiting, it is good to drink tea with ginger in small sips.

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