How Migraines Might Be Related to the Menstrual Cycle in Women

How Migraine is related to a woman's menstrual cycle?

Migraines are severe, throbbing, painful headaches that are sometimes accompanied by a warning that they are about to occur called an aura. The pain from migraines can last for a few hours or for a few days. Approximately 39 million of those living in the USA have migraines.  People in the age range of 15 to 55 years most often experience migraines.

Facts About Migraines

  • Out of every 4 households in the USA, 1 household has someone with a migraine.
  • About 90 percent of people with migraines have a family member with one.
  • Migraines are the 3rd most prevalent illness globally.
  • Most sufferers experience one or two migraines a month, while 4 million others have chronic daily migraines with no less than 15 migraines monthly.
  • As many as 90 percent of people are unable to perform their daily tasks when they have migraines.
  • More than 20 percent of chronic migraine sufferers are disabled.
  • Migraines affect women 3 times more often than men.
  • Migraines impact the lives of 28 million women in America.
  • 10 percent of school-age children have migraines.
  • If a child has one parent with migraines, the child has a 50 percent chance of inheriting them. If both parents have migraines, the chances go up to 75%.
  • Half of all migraine sufferers had their first attack before age 12.
  • As of 2017, there were around 500 certified headache specialists to care for the 39 million migraine sufferers.

Triggers for Migraines

It is possible that due to genetics, you may be more sensitive to what triggers migraines than others. Some of these triggers include:

  • Diet: Certain foods are more likely to set off migraines than others, such as alcohol and caffeine, chocolate, aged cheeses, citrus fruits, and additives (tyramine, MSG, aspartame). Not eating regularly, resulting in low blood sugar, can also be a factor. Dehydration is also to blame.
  • Physical causes: Not getting enough rest, shoulder and neck tension, improper posture, and physically exerting yourself too much can bring on migraines.
  • Emotional triggers: Depression, anxiety, stress, overexcitement, and shock can cause migraines.
  • Environmental triggers: Flashing lights, flickering screens, offensive or strong odors, second-hand smoke, loud noise, hot and stuffy rooms, changes in temperature, and bright lights can bring on migraines.
  • Medications: Hormone replacement therapy medicine, sleeping pills, and contraceptives play a role in the development of migraines.
  • Hormonal changes: Women may begin having more migraines during menstruation because of the change in hormone levels. Keep reading for more about this.

Can Changes in Hormone Levels Bring About Migraines?

When diary data from 155 women with migraines were compared to those without migraines, it was seen that migraines occurred 1.7 times more often during a menstruation cycle and were 2.1 times more likely to be severe in the first three days of menstruation.

Being a woman can be tough when it comes to fighting migraines. A change in hormone levels, as noted above, is a contributing factor to the onset of migraines. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are vital players when it comes to regulating the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. These hormones may very likely affect headache-related chemicals in the brain. Therefore, keeping estrogen levels steady can help improve headaches. And, knowing that migraines may get worse when estrogen levels drop can help women be prepared.

The drop in estrogen that women experience just before their periods can certainly bring on migraines. Here are some things you can do to help with this:

  • Relaxation techniques: This can help to lower your stress.
  • Use ice therapy: Put a cold cloth or an ice pack on the painful area of the head or neck. Be sure to use a towel as a barrier so as not to get frostbite, and do not leave it on for longer than 10 minutes.
  • Acupuncture: This can help relieve your migraines and help you relax.
  • Biofeedback: Monitoring how your body responds to stress can help you reduce migraines.
  • Lifestyle changes: Reducing stress, exercising on a regular basis, and eating healthy can all help keep migraines at bay.

Helping Those with Migraines No Matter the Cause

Although this article is mainly dealing with migraines due to hormonal changes, the method we practice as upper cervical chiropractors can help anyone who has migraines. Before we tell you what the method is, let’s see what proof exists that it actually works.

A study observed 101 headache patients, including those with migraines. Out of these 101, as many as 87 were able to recall a specific trauma that happened before the onset of their migraines. Most of the trauma had to do with whiplash, falls, or concussions. It was discovered each of these 101 patients had a misalignment in the top bone of their neck, the C1 or atlas bone. Each of them was given an upper cervical adjustment tailored to their specific needs. After just 1 to 8 months of care, 85 reported their headaches were completely gone. The rest saw a great improvement in the severity and frequency of their headaches and migraines.

The method we use does not involve cracking or forcing the spine or neck in any way. Rather, the method is based on scientific measurements and it encourages the bones to move back into place by a very specific, gentle method. This leads to a longer-lasting, more reliable adjustment. It helps to restore the communication between the brain and body -- something that is often hindered when the misalignment puts pressure on the brainstem, causing it to malfunction. Once this is corrected, many patients see similar results to those reported on in the above study.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.