Most female migraine sufferers notice an increase in headaches and migraine attacks at the time of menstruation.
- More than 60% of women who experience migraine headaches suffer from menstrual migraines.
- These migraines occur at the point in the menstrual cycle when levels of both estrogen and progesterone decline.
- Falling estrogen levels may act as a trigger for the onset of the migraine.
To find relief from symptoms, women experiencing menstrual migraines may explore these options:
- Self-treating with nonprescription medications, such as combination aspirin-acetaminophen-caffeine preparations
- Treating with medications prescribed by a physician, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ergotamines, triptans, and others
Women who experience severe attacks may be candidates for preventive therapy, which aims to decrease the frequency and severity of menstrual migraine attacks.
- Preventive, or prophylactic, drugs include NSAIDs, ergotamines, triptans, methysergide, and methylergonovine maleate. Magnesium supplements also have preventive value.
- Naproxen sodium has been shown to be particularly effective for treatment-resistant menstrual migraines.
- If these treatment approaches prove to be ineffective, a physician may prescribe hormone therapy.
As a further indication of the hormone-migraine link, during the last two trimesters of pregnancy, 55% to 90% of migraine sufferers find their headaches occur less frequently.