Here’s everything you need to know about menstrual migraines

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  • From why you’re getting them to how to get rid of them…

    Few women look forward to their periods for the simple fact that they are mentally and physically enduring.

    Mood swings, food cravings, bloating, abdominal cramps, breast sensitivity, nausea, back pain and of course bleeding are common symptoms that accompany a monthly visit from ‘Aunt Flo’.

    But there are also some lesser known symptoms that we too often dismiss as coincidental.

    The main culprit? Menstrual migraines.

    ‘I’m dehydrated,’ we tell ourselves, or ‘I’ve been staring at my laptop screen all day’.

    But while those are two valid headache-inducers, could your migraine actually have something to do with your period?

    Well, unfortunately for women everywhere, yes, with menstrual migraines actually affecting over 50% of us.

    Here’s everything you need to know…

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    What are menstrual migraines?

    Menstrual migraines are a condition where women get intense and persistent headaches during or before their periods. While women frequently assume that menstruation is simply a trigger for a migraine, in the case of menstrual migraines, they are the sole cause.

    What causes menstrual migraines?

    They are mainly caused by the natural drop in the levels of oestrogen and the release of prostaglandin (a type of hormone) that occurs right before a period. This means that most menstrual migraines will occur in the two day run-up and the first three days of menstruation.

    When do menstrual migraines generally occur?

    Menstrual migraines usually occur before or during menstruation, with very few women suffering from menstrual migraines in a period’s aftermath. Migraines and headache pains can also occur during ovulation when this time the oestrogen and other hormones are at a high.

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    How can I get rid of menstrual migraines?

    Menstrual migraines are treated the same as regular migraines, with recommended remedies including applying ice or a cold cloth to the painful area, relaxation exercises, pain killers and in some cases, acupuncture.

    How can I prevent menstrual migraines?

    Preventing or at least reducing the effect of headaches on your period is totally possible, with the preventative measures being the same for normal migraines, but anything that balances hormones is highly recommended.

    Common treatments include a change in diet, eliminating simple carbohydrates, refined sugars and processed foods from your eating pattern. Sleep, exercise and hydration are also considered essential for balancing hormones and promoting a healthy metabolism.

    Magnesium supplements have also been dubbed a preventative measure, but if the symptoms persist and aren’t reduced by trying the following, it might be best to contact your GP for help dealing with more acute pain.

    Should I be worried about menstrual migraines?

    There shouldn’t be any cause for concern, but should you be worried that it could be a symptom of something more severe, it might be worth contacting your GP.

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