Is Your Migraine a Menstrual Migraine?

Millions of women suffer from headache, backache, bloating and other symptoms during their periods. Although it can be somewhat uncomfortable, an over-the-counter medication usually helps relieve most of the discomfort. But for some women, the menstrual cycle signals agony beyond belief, in the form of a migraine.

Have you noticed that your migraines appear or worsen during the time of your period? Do these migraines last longer than 24 hours? Do you take medication only to have the migraines return? If so, you may be suffering from menstrual migraines.

Many women suffer from headaches during their cycle but if the headache is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and a sensitivity to light and sound, it’s even more likely that you’re having menstrual migraines.

What’s the difference between a migraine and a menstrual migraine? A menstrual migraine is reportedly much more painful, last much longer, and tends to reoccur when the medicine wears off. Scientists suggest there could be a link in declining estrogen levels which occurs just before the period.

New medications may reduce the frequency or pain level of menstrual migraines. The medications are in a class of drugs called selective serotonin receptor agonists. During your period, take the new drug at first sign of an approaching migraine. The drug will help prevent dilation of the blood vessels in the brain, the actual cause of the migraine.

Most people who have tried the new drugs say that they feel relief within a couple of hours. If not, you can take a second dose, at least 2 hours after the first. It’s dangerous to take more than 3 tablets within a 24 hour period.

Most of these new medications should not be taken by those with uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease, previous stroke, have poor circulation or are currently taking another, similar drug. Before starting one of these new medications, tell your doctor if you are taking Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, or any other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Also make sure your physician knows if you are breast feeding, a smoker, or have diabetes.

Keep a journal to list dates and durations of your migraines. After several months, see if you notice a pattern of migraines just around the time of your period. If so, talk to the doctor about prescribing a new medication for you. You don’t have to be crippled by migraines anymore -just ask your doctor.

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