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How To Prevent Migraines During Your Period

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Many women suffer from migraines every month before or during mensuration.


These migraines can range from just annoying to seriously debilitating.


Unfortunately, few are aware that there is a lot you can do to prevent these migraines and that finding out what is causing them will lead to better overall health.

a 28 day cycle graphic with text overlay that says how to prevent migraines during your period drbrianlum.com functional medicine doctor

Causes Of Migraines During Menstruation


While there are hundreds of potential causes of period-related headaches and migraines, the most common are chronic inflammation and hormone dysregulation.


At the core of many of these period-induced migraines is systemic inflammation and hypothalamic inflammation (inflammation at the base of the brain) which are triggered or increased by hormone fluctuations. [1]


The hormone fluctuation triggering this process is usually either a drop in estrogen or a drop in progesterone.


If you tend to have migraines right before or during your cycle then it may be due to low progesterone production in relation to your estrogen levels.


Most often I see low progesterone levels in my patients contributing to their chronic migraines.


Symptoms Of Low Progesterone

  • menstrual irregularities

  • severe PMS symptoms

  • fibrocystic breast disease

  • hypothyroidism

  • tendency towards anxiety depression

  • mood swings

  • difficulty sleeping

  • difficulty losing weight

  • blood sugar problems including hypoglycemia

  • hot flashes

  • bloating


Low progesterone levels can also adversely affect your hair, skin, and nail health.


This hormone imbalance can cause an inflammatory scenario internally, some indication that this is happening is increased water retention (feeling bloated) and blood vessel dilation (feeling hot).


The Role Of The Hypothalamus


Inflammation is a major cause of migraine headaches as well as other pain based chronic conditions like arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and fibromyalgia.


Inflammation originating from your hypothalamus can cause the following symptoms as well as many not listed below.


Symptoms Of Hypothalamic Inflammation [2]

  • pain

  • anxiety or depression

  • lack of motivation

  • brain fog is a key sign that the base of your brain may be inflamed

  • headaches & migraines

  • hormone imbalances

  • fatigue

  • adrenal fatigue

  • hypothyroidism

  • testosterone abnormalities

  • bone and soft tissue problems (pain, weakness, etc.)

  • breast symptoms

In many cases, the patient already had too little progesterone and the further drop that happens with their period makes these symptoms worse.

Many women find NSAIDS (like aspirin and ibuprofen) effective for not only menstrual headaches but also PMS symptoms.


This further supports that inflammation plays a large factor in many period-related symptoms, including migraines [3] This is why treating underlying inflammation can not only reduce your headaches and migraines that occur during or before your period but it can also make you feel better overall.


All of the above symptoms will be improved by treating this brain inflammation.

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