There is always an underlying element that plays a significant role in causing menstrual headaches. Apart from environmental factors, there can be various body mechanisms that result in an increase or decrease of such chemicals that might trigger this kind of pain.
According to a study(1), women are more susceptible to these kinds of symptoms than men. The reason behind this is because women go through various phases that men do not experience.
Women undergo menopause, ovulation periods, menstruation and various other processes that cause the female sex hormones to significantly increase or decrease blood levels thus causing these painful and severe symptoms.
Up to 14% of the females suffer from menstrual headaches or migraines during, before, or after their menstruation cycle. Generally speaking, there isn’t a definite cause that links the onset of head pain during the menses period to the hormonal changes in the body.
However, because the menstruation cycle causes the female sex hormone to behave abnormally, it becomes a pretty definite cause of this kind of pain in women.
What Causes Them?
As the name suggests, this condition is caused by the onset of a woman’s menstruation cycle. It can be caused by environmental factors, but the major reason behind the occurrence of this kind of pain is the high levels of estrogen in the blood. The high amount of estrogen is the result of the decrease in progesterone levels in the blood vessels.
Additionally, the abnormal levels of estrogen and progesterone aren’t the only thing that causes these, as the malfunctioning platelets are to be blamed as well. Furthermore, lower levels of magnesium in the blood and the reduction of endorphins in the brain also contribute to head pain in a lot of women.
The unusual reaction of the body’s nervous system to these adverse changes, along with the production of arachidonic acid and prostaglandins adds more to the already long list of uncomfortable feelings. This can include additional head pain, back pain or abdominal pain.
How Can They Be Treated?
There are many books and other instructional pamphlets that can provide the women with guidance on how to deal with this kind of pain on a regular basis.
Furthermore, there are certain over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that can be used to treat menstrual headaches effectively. However, if they persist or are worsening gradually, then it is advised to consult with a doctor who is specialized in this field.
If you find that your headache does not act as an obstacle during your daily activities, give the below mentioned ways and remedies a try to lessen the symptoms.
Treatment through OTCs
OTC medicines that are effective in treating this kind of pain, and usually include analgesic drugs or painkillers. The most commonly prescribed medicine for treating this kind of condition include Naprosyn, Nalfon, Advil, Orudis, Motrin, and Relafen. They can also be used in combination with Migranal, Verapamil, and Depakote.
If your head pain is accompanied by fever, bloating and severe back or abdominal pain then consider taking Pamprin and Midol as well.
This type of head pain can also be treated with the help of a few essential oils and herbs. Butterbur, flax seed oil, ginger, feverfew, evening primrose oil, and willow bark all provide healing and curing properties that, when properly consumed, can prove as an effective natural remedy.
However, before starting treatments with the above mentioned remedies, it is advised to consult your doctor so that they may inform you about the right way of consuming them. It’s not a good idea to take medication on a whim, without understanding your family history, current medication interactions and your state of health.
Changes in Diet
If your headache does not seem to lessen even after taking OTC medicines and trying out natural remedies, it is advised to consider making some changes to your diet, and reducing or eliminating the consumption of the following:
- Simple carbohydrates
- Trigger foods
- Processed/junk food
- Refined sugar
Along with the OTC medicines and natural remedies, incorporate yoga and exercise into your life. Eat diets that are high in fiber and starch such as fruits and vegetables and try some relaxation therapies along with taking some time out to rest.
In addition to the above, to treat this kind of pain you can also consider taking magnesium supplements so that your body does not fall short of magnesium, which can cause discomfort. Also, you can consult with your doctor and start taking birth-control medications that are less in estrogen levels to treat your symptoms.
One other thing that you may want to try is to remove other trigger headache foods such as caffeine. We know that this ingredient can cause a severe caffeine headache which we don’t want, so make sure to limit the amount of this product from your diet. This might help to reduce the severity of your menstrual headaches.