Menstrual migraines are common. In fact, 2 out of 3 premenopausal female migraine sufferers report that migraine attacks consistently occur during peri-menstrual time periods. Attacks of menstrual migraine have been found to be more severe, disabling and less responsive to acute medications than those that are non menstrually related.
What causes Menstrual Migraines?
The most likely trigger for menstrual migraine is the decline of oestradiol levels that occur shortly before and during the peri-menstrual time period.
How to diagnose Menstrual Migraines?
A headache/migraine diary or app is a particularly useful tool for the patient and doctor because you can record the occurrence of migraine and the onset of the menstrual periods, as well as information about other potential triggers. This makes it easier to understand patterns and treat menstrual migraine.
To learn more about keeping a headache or migraine diary and to download a template, head over to this blog post.
How do you treat Menstrual Migraines?
Acute and Preventative therapies may be utilised for the treatment of menstrual migraine. Acute therapies are used to abort the migraine attack once it has begun, while preventative therapies are used to try and prevent menstrual migraines from occurring.
Patients with regular menstrual periods may be suitable for short term prophylactic (‘miniprophylaxis’) therapies.
The options may include magnesium, NSAIDs, topical oestrogen therapy or triptan medications (for eg Naramig)
Patients with irregular menstrual periods may be more suitable for long term, continuous prophylactic therapies.
The treatment typically involves the use of non-hormonal preventative therapies, or in certain cases, if deemed appropriate following a screening history to exclude prior clotting disorder, DVT/stroke risk factors or migraine with aura symptoms, combination hormonal therapies.
Note: information on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice
Menstrual Migraine: New Approaches to Diagnosis and Treatment. American Headache Society
Use of Oral Contraceptives in Women with Migraine. American Headache Society
Diagnosis and Treatment of the Menstrual Migraine Patient. Headache 2008; 48:S115-S123