New Delhi: A woman goes through a lot of hormonal changes when her menstrual cycle is about to commence. It doesn't just happen before the period but it sometimes continues during and post menstrual cycle. So, if you're experiencing a headache during all these phases, you're not alone.
Before the period, menstrual migraine is one of the prominent symptoms of PMS. So, these headaches occur when your body undergoes changes in the levels of progesterone and estrogen. When there is a fluctuation in the levels of these two hormones, the neurotransmitters in the brain get impacted and lead to headache.
Around your period, you basically get two kinds of headache -- menstrual migraine and hormonal headache. Though both the headaches occur because of the hormonal upheavals in the body, their symptoms may vary.
Menstrual Migraine Vs Hormonal Headache
The intensity of a hormonal headache is from mild to moderate but it is a nagging ache. This is why it causes an uncomforting feeling. But it doesn't cause any hindrance in your daily activities. Whereas, menstrual migraine could be unbearable and incidentally around 60 per cent of women across the globe undergo menstrual migraine. People, who get frequent migraine attacks, are more susceptible to this form of migraine during their periods.
During a menstrual migraine, the person experiences flashing lights, zigzag lines, or other sensory experiences before the throbbing pain begins. It hampers your daily activities as you won't be able to open your eyes, think or even work. A menstrual migraine is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to bright light and sound besides the throbbing pain.
Depending upon the severity of the menstrual migraine and hormonal headache, your first line of defence is over-the-counter pain relievers. They are often quite effective to ease out the pain and inflammation. Some of the prominent medications include ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, aspirin and acetaminophen.
Drinking caffeinated drinks are best to treat hormonal headaches. Caffeine also constitutes one of the pivotal ingredients in some of the medications to control premenstrual syndrome in women. Even eating chocolate takes away the discomfort of the hormonal headache. However, one should be careful about caffeine intake as it's addictive and too much caffeine gives you other issues like insomnia. Stopping caffeine abruptly after your periods can give you a withdrawal headache.
If your menstrual migraine persists even after taking the above-mentioned medications, you might need to undergo hormone therapy. Administering this therapy before your menstrual cycle helps to maintain a balance in hormones. Sometimes doctors may also ask you to take estrogen supplements to rectify the hormonal imbalance. Besides migraine pain if you're also experiencing severe vomiting or nausea with a menstrual migraine, ask your doctor about prescription anti-nausea medication.
One can also practice yoga, meditation and deep breathing during this phase of the month. All these practices relax your muscles, take away stress and reduce the headache symptoms.
Getting enough rest
It is also one of the best ways to deal with headaches. Sometimes sleeping disorders lead to headaches. Try to get an uninterrupted sleep of seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
By Manisha Ranjan, Obstetrician and Gynecologist from Motherhood Hospital, Noida
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