5 Tips to Help Ease the Pain with Hormonal Migraine
Hey ladies! Have you noticed that you always get a bad migraine flare a few days before or after Aunt Flo comes to visit? This is called Hormonal Migraine and it is very common in women!
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What is Hormonal Migraine?
Hormonal Migraine is also known as hormonal headache or menstrual migraine. Migraine, in general, is more than a bad headache. Migraine is a complex neurological disease. The pain with migraine is generally described as intense, debilitating throbbing pain. The pain is usually located on one side of the forehead, but it can be both sides of the forehead, behind the head, and some do not even experience head pain at all. Along with the debilitating pain, there are associating symptoms which include: nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, pain worse with movement, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, nasal congestion, and irritability. A migraine attack can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours and has 4 phases: prodrome, aura, attack, and postdrome.
But let’s chat about the specific type of migraine which is menstrual migraine. Many women experience hormonal migraine usually around the time of their period or during ovulation. Hormonal migraine attacks are caused by changes in estrogen levels. Research has shown that changes in estrogen levels trigger a reaction to the nerves in the brain and this leads to biochemical changes, essentially triggering a migraine reaction. Levels of estrogen drop immediately before the start of your cycle and levels of estrogen are at the highest during ovulation. Hormonal migraine attacks tend to be more severe and less responsive to treatment.
5 tips to Help Ease The Pain with Hormonal Migraine
***Always check with your doctor before starting any new supplements.
It may be surprising to know but supplementing with magnesium can be very helpful to hormonal migraine. Magnesium has been shown to decrease migraine attacks by 50% per month. Specifically with hormonal migraine, it can help to regulate hormones, help to ease cramps, and to help increase your migraine threshold, so a migraine is not triggered due to changes in hormones. The recommended dose of magnesium to prevent migraine is between 400-600mg per day.
Here are some recommended migraine friendly magnesium:
2. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a game changer for hormonal migraine prevention. In a study, it was found that taking 400 IU of vitamin E 2 days before your period starts and continuing this until 3 days after your period starts, that women with hormonal migraine had significantly lower pain and experienced less nausea and light and sound sensitivity.
Migraine Friendly Vitamin E Recommendations:
3. Raise Your Threshold
Another great tool to help decrease hormonal migraine attacks is to raise your threshold. The migraine threshold theory suggests that everyone has a migraine threshold. For those with frequent migraine attacks, their threshold seems to be lower than those people who do not get migraine attacks. Essentially, in those with frequent migraine attacks, it may take one or two migraine triggers to trigger an attack. The goal of raising your migraine threshold is to increase your threshold so that you can be exposed to more triggers and not be hit with a migraine attack.
Ways to increase your migraine threshold can be things like adding in migraine prevention supplements, taking migraine prevention medication, performing stress relief techniques like yoga, or even going on a migraine friendly diet to identify food triggers.
By increasing your migraine threshold, you can be exposed to a migraine trigger like changes in hormones and are less likely to be hit with a migraine attack.
4. Limit Migraine Triggers
A migraine trigger is essentially anything that causes a migraine attack. Common migraine triggers are stress, bright lights, Chinese food, alcohol, changes in weather, and dehydration.
Limiting migraine triggers a few days before your period may be enough to help decrease the severity or even ward off a hormonal migraine. By doing this, you are leaving room for the biggest trigger, which is the change in hormones before your period starts.
5. Record Your Period
Knowing when your period is going to occur can help you make all of these lifestyle changes easier. There are amazing apps out there like Glow, Flo, and so many more that you can easily track your period each month. By being able to predict your period, you are setting yourself up for even greater success! You can time incorporating Vitamin E supplementation and be able to keep an eye out for migraine triggers, so that way you can keep your migraine threshold increased during this more difficult time of the month.