Migraines can be caused by hormones too!Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sashawolff/3108464695/

Between the mood swings, cramps, and bloating, PMS is no fun.  Add a migraine headache on top of that and your "once a month visitor" is more like a monthly visit to the torture chamber.  Researchers say that women suffer migraines 3 times as often as men. 60% of those women suffer from migraines before, during or after their menstruation period.[2257]

What causes these Menstrual or PMS Migraines? 

Experts say that most PMS migraines are caused by the fluctuation of hormones, mainly estrogen, in a woman's body.  Though estrogen levels vary throughout the month, they are more apt to bounce between extremes around your "time of the month", making you more at risk for getting migraines during this time.

Since hormones are to blame, many think that a simple oral birth control can solve this issue.  Wrong!  Oral contraceptives artificially change your hormone levels so they can put you at a higher risk of getting migraines as your body tries to figure out what to do with itself. 

Symptoms of Menstrual or PMS Migraines:

PMS migraines feel and carry the same symptoms as a regular migraine does – a throbbing headache with accompanying nausea, ringing of ears, and sensitivity to noise and light.  These symptoms can hit anytime around your period (from three days before to three days after your period begins) and can last for hours, days, or even the full week. 

Home Remedies for Menstrual or PMS Migraines:

Many of the remedies you use for a regular migraine can be used to relieve your menstrual migraine, including:

  • lying down in a dark room
  • cool rag or ice pack on your head or shoulders
  • over-the-counter medication (aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen, or other NSAIDS)
  • caffeine
  • stress-relieving exercises like yoga, meditation, or pilates

Some people believe that diet has something to do with the onset of PMS and migraines.  Eating a balanced, low-sugar diet could help you manage your monthly pain. 

Also, there are many vitamins and mineral regimens out there that could help with your PMS symptoms.  Of course, it is important that you do your own research and speak with your doctor before you begin taking any new vitamins or medication.

Seeking Medical Help for Your Menstrual or PMS Migraines:

If your PMS migraines become too much to handle, it's important for you to talk to your doctor.  No one should have to suffer with insurmountable pain every month.

Before you head into the doctor's office, it's important to track your menstrual cycle and migraines.  This data will allow your doctor to see if your hormones are really the cause of your monthly torture.  You will also want to make sure to note how long your headache last and if there were any preliminary signs of one coming on, like blurred vision, earaches, or flashes of light.

When you go in for your appointment, make sure to be as honest and candid as possible.  It is important that he understands the severity of your symptoms.  Show him your logs and ask for suggestions.  They might be able to prescribe a medication that will help relieve your monthly torture.