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Cryotherapy:  Ice Relief for Migraine Headaches
An Optical Migraine FAQ
Migraines and Pregnancy
The Art of Massaging Migraine Headaches
Migraine Headaches and the Weather
Menstrual Migraines
Migraines and the Smoking Connection
Well-Known Migraine Triggers
The Migraine-Aspartame Connection
Stress & the Migraine Sufferer
Sexually-Triggered Migraines
Eye Problems & Migraines
Fragrance Migraine Triggers
Treating Menstrual Migraines
Migraine Treatment:  A Natural Approach

Menstrual Migraines

As a woman ages, she is inevitably faced with the woes that come from menstrual troubles.  Her monthly periods are frequently accompanied by some discomfort which hinders the woman's daily activities.  And it's not just the menstrual cramps we're talking about. For many women, this time of life also brings menstrual migraines which can be a nuisance on one end of the spectrum or a complete temporary disability on the other end.

Migraine headaches of any sort are more common in women than in men. A migraine is simply a severe headache which is often accompanied by visual phenomena called "auras."  In some cases, the aura can also take the form of unusual smells and sounds. Auras occur just before the migraine pain itself and are usually the inevitable sign that a full-blown attack is imminent.

Most women who report migraines typically connect the experience with going through their menstrual period. They usually feel the headaches prior to, during or following menstruation. If the pain is felt at the same time of each month, two days prior to menstruation up to the final day of bleeding, it can be confirmed to be a menstrual migraine. But what causes it?  Doctors have noted that the attack appears to be triggered by a falling estrogen level at the end of the woman's menstrual cycle. This would indicate that treatment may include a low dose of estrogen prior to the anticipated date of the menses arrival.

There is some feeling that taking birth control pills could be the likely cause. If this is true, the woman could take a low dose of estrogen as a treatment, during a week of rest following 21 days of taking the pill. Some research has discovered that menstrual migraines occur more often in women right after the onset of puberty, and reaching a peak at menarche or at the beginning of menstruation.

Compounding the problem of menstrual migraines is the fact that symptoms which frequently accompany PMS (premenstrual syndrome) often come with these headaches. These possible symptoms include fatigue, depression, irritability, ability, bloating, appetite changes, and tenderness of the breast. One of the most important symptoms, though, is dysmenorrhea a cramping pain of the abdomen. Some times this pain gets so bad, it keeps the woman from engaging in her normal daily activities.

A Menstrual Migraine attacks normally comes in three phases. In the first phase, the woman feels euphoric, fatigued, depressed, hungry, and has a sensitivity to light and sound. This usually takes place 12 to 24 hours before the onset of the headache. Phase two is  experienced five to 20 minutes before the headache and is called the aural phase.  This is when she experiences visual disturbances such as scintillating light.  Sometimes tingling, numbness of limbs or weak muscles accompany these symptoms.

The final phase is the worst the attack itself. This is experienced as a throbbing pain, sometimes accompanied by nausea or vomiting along with continued sensitivity to light and sound. The symptoms get worse as the woman moves, making bed rest the best treatment at this point.

One way of preventing many attacks is to stabilize the woman's estrogen level. She does this by taking a low dose of estrogen or by using NSAIDS. It also helps if she remains physically active, as this improves her circulation, lessening the impact of the headaches.

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