As its name implies, menstrual headache usually refers to the migraine occurred before, during or immediately after the period. This is one of the most common gynecological problems. Because the pain can be so unbearable and, worse still, cyclical, it negatively affects a woman’s life. When it comes to a fast headache relief, in addition to over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, some home remedies are worth a try as well.
Migraines and menstrual cycle
The decrease of serum estradiol levels before and after menstruation can lead to higher sensitivity of intracranial and uterine vessels to certain factors, such as serotonin and other substances, which thus causes changes in vascular tone and headaches in some sensitive patients. The good news is that this pain will be gone soon after menstruation when serum estradiol concentrations return to normal again.
Alternately, the estrogen (including estradiol) can directly or indirectly encourage the secretion of prostaglandins by stimulating the secretion of prolactin. Since prostaglandins act on the blood vessels and cause their contraction and dilation, these changes are also periodic due to the effects of estrogen. As a result, menstrual migraine symptoms begin.
In fact, most menstrual induced migraines can be one of symptoms of a menstrual disorder called irregular menstruation. And other symptoms also include abnormal menstrual fluid volume, abdominal pain and systemic symptoms before, during or after their menses. The causes can be either organic illness or dysfunction. That’s to say, menstrual disorders can be caused by blood disease, hypertension, liver disease, endocrine disease, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, hydatidiform mole, reproductive tract infections, tumors like ovarian tumor and uterine fibroids, and the like. Fortunately, these at-home remedies are very good treatment options to relieve the these symptoms.
1. In the three days before menstruation, the patients with hormonal headaches should choose a gentle, soothing, relaxing, and stretching workout to prevent the episodes. The recommended ones are meditation, yoga, massage, primary gymnastics, and some simple stretching movements at home. Next, walking, jogging and other aerobic exercises can follow on the fifth day of the periods. However, please avoid some ball games and weight-bearing exercises.
2. If the pain is so severe that the patients are unable to stand up, a strong dose of conventional remedy, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, is a better choice since they are the most common ingredients found in many OTC painkillers. Usually this medication can provide quick relief while causing no side effects to health.
3. It is a good idea for the sufferers to eat more foods that help alleviate the hormonal effects before, during or after their menses. The recommended ones include milk, fruits, vegetables, oats, oysters, and so on.
4. Sugary drinks can quickly ease a hormone headache too. This is because sugar can quickly increase the body’s blood sugar levels while drinking plenty of water can increase the body’s blood volume and improve brain ischemia. So, giving a cup of milk with added sugar or fruit juice when pain occur can contribute to ease migraine due to constriction and dilation in cerebral blood vessels and pressure on the nerve.
5. A walking outdoors can help regulate emotion and reduce stress.
6. Massage is another good try. Specifically, continually combing the scalp with a pointed comb can improve brain blood supply.
7. Hot compress is another good natural remedy. The steps are to put hands in a pot of warm water, apply a hot compress on the patient’s forehead, and keep it there for at least 30 minutes.
If the above-mentioned home remedies fail to offer period migraine relief, seeing a doctor is highly recommended. And typically the doctor will prescribe a low dose of estrogen to be taken before the periods.