Menstrual migraines are defined as head pain that seem to have no cause or no "migraine aura". They typically begin either 2 days before or within the first 3 days of your period. People diagnosed with menstrual migraines typically get them repeatedly for over 2 months.
What causes migraines during your period?
Many people will associate headaches and migraines near their period as part of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), which is in a way correct. But, the root of the cause is hormones. This is because hormone levels go up and down, or fluctuate, throughout one's menstrual cycle. Consequently, how women's bodies cope with these changes, leads to these types of headaches in about 10% of women.
If you get migraine symptoms like dizziness, head pain, sensitivity to light or nausea immediately before your period, your headaches are likely caused by a drop in the hormone called progesterone. However, if your migraine symptoms begin a few days after the start of your period, your headaches are likely caused by rising estrogen, also called oesterogen, levels.
While hormones can be partially blamed for these uncomfortable types of headaches, sometimes blood loss or certain foods are the culprits. When women have severe anemia, which is the medical term for a loss of blood, they are often dehydrated. Dehydration causes migraines because gravity pulls on the brain causing it to touch the meninges, which is the brain's protective membrane, and elicits a pain response. Foods that can trigger migraines during menstruation include red wine, aspartame in diet sodas, or any food allergies that cause an allergic reaction or inflammatory histamine response.
How to get rid of a migraine
There are many ways to treat these migraines and headaches occurring around your menstrual cycle. Some include medications, but there are also plenty of home remedies and holistic methods you can try.
Medication for Migraine Relief
Medications like Sumatriptan are frequently used because they narrow the blood vessels that go to your brain, preventing the pain signals from reaching the brain. Other medications people frequently use include Excedrin Migraine and Advil.
Holistic Remedies for Migraine Relief
Aromatherapy and Acupressure
Instead of medication and chemicals, we can get relief naturally by using peppermint oil! Peppermint aromatherapy is an all-natural and effective home remedy for headaches. By inhaling the scent of peppermint oil, we increase our deep breathing, allowing more oxygen to enter our body, which relieves our headaches and migraines. Although simple, deep breathing is one of the most common treatments for migraines used in the ER.
Another great holistic remedy for migraine relief is by placing slight pressure on your wrist. Acupressure on the P6 point, located just above your wrist, triggers the release of serotonergic, or happy hormones. This surge of happy hormones means you won't be focused on your head pain anymore! Luckily, BOTH of these natural treatments, pressure and peppermint aromatherapy, can be found in one product: the NoMo Migraine Wristband! You can find it online at www.NoMoMigraine.com or on Amazon, or just click on "Shop Now" at the bottom of the page! Not only does the NoMo Migraine bands combine peppermint oil aromatherapy and acupressure, but it also has a second essential oil that helps to distract the brain using a change in temperature when the wristband is applied.
Yoga and Food
Other great holistic headache remedies are yoga and certain food. The sustained poses and exercise in yoga, increases the blood flow to the head, allowing "happy" hormones like Serotonin and Oxytocin to surge in, relieving the discomfort. Certain foods can also prevent migraines, especially those rich in magnesium and calcium. To hear more about how particular foods and even how caffeine can help listen to Pukeology Podcast Episode 8!