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Prophylactic Medications to Reduce or Avoid Migraines
Types of Migraines
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

Treating Menstrual Migraines

For the thousands of women who suffer from migraine headaches, there's good news. Several treatment methods are available.  There are steps you can take before the migraine, and even if you don't catch the symptoms in time, steps you can take after its onset.Fortunately, in most cases, medications that work in halting non-menstrual migraines also work at halting menstrual migraines.

To halt a menstrual migraine, take your medication right after the menstrual migraine's onset. To prevent it from striking in the first place, take the medication right before menstruation and then keep taking it during the period of the anticipated headache. Studies have found that taking hormones like estrogen or estrogen-based medicines an also help to prevent the attacks. In order to reduce the duration and frequency of a menstrual migraine, you can take prophylactic drugs such as calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, anticonvulsants, or tricyclic antidepressants.

Some other drugs to consider, which have proven effective in aborting menstrual migraines, include naproxen sodium (found in Aleve), and ibuprofen (found in Advil and Motrin). These are known as NSAIDs.Some patients have also found good results using a combination analgesic combining aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine. Women whose menstrual migraines occur in a predictable pattern may use any of these 24 hours before the anticipated beginning of a menstrual migraine, and may keep using it throughout the duration of the headache. Because NSAIDs normally inhibit prostaglandis, they can also relieve a woman's menstrual cramps.

Triptans such as rizatriptan, naratriptan, zolmitriptan and sumatriptan have also been found effective in halting a woman's menstrual migraines. They can also control the vomiting and nausea often associated with them. Sumatriptan especially, when given two or three days before the headache, and continued during its duration, was found to help reduce the severity and frequency of menstrual migraines. 

Dihydroergotamine (or DHE) is  medicine which can be used either as a nasal spray or it can be given intravenously. It works to halt a migraine already in progress. Ergotamine is a medication that can be taken orally, intra-nasally or rectally and is used a few days before the headache and around the woman's time of menstruation; it is used to prevent a migraine. 

When the above medications are found to be ineffective, doctors sometimes prescribe daily preventative medications like anticonvulsants, beta-blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, and calcium channel blockers, in order to reduce the severity and frequency of menstrual migraines. The doctor's choice of which to use is solely based on his personal experience and preference along with potential side effects and the woman's other medical conditions.

If you're a female and you already take preventative medications but you still get migraines, ask your doctor about increasing the amount about the time of menstruation. Or you can talk to him about hormone treatment.Finally, keep in mind that some women who have hard-to-treat menstrual migraines are often helped by the use of low-dose oral contraceptives.These reduce estrogen fluctuations thus providing relief.

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