Menstrual migraine affects about 14% of women and is a migraine headache that occurs between 1-2 days before the cycle and the end of menstruation. The main time for attacks is between 2 days before and 3 days after the start of menstrual flow, allowing women to predict and therefore prepare for the headache.
Another time where migraines are increased is as estrogen level start to drop at the point of ovulation. This occurs at about the middle of the cycle. As the estrogen levels drop the body becomes more sensitive to pain and more likely to become susceptible to experiencing headache, muscle or joint aches and cramps.
What can I do to ease the migraine attacks?
1. Drink lots of water. Dehydration is a migraine trigger. You will find that you will need to pass water more regularly at the beginning, but your body quickly gets used to the increased water intake and starts to absorb it.
2. Do not eat sweets or any high carbohydrate meals to avoid a blood sugar drop 2-3 hours later.
3. Try and keep your blood sugar levels steady by eating regularly scheduled, well-balanced meals. Avoid missing meals as this results in a drop in blood sugar levels and can trigger headaches.
4. Sorry but no wine, beer, cheese, chocolate or any other of the well-known migraine triggers.
5. Evening primrose oil, Vitamin B6 and Magnesium may help you.
6. Try not to change your sleep patterns. Get a good night's sleep and get into the habit of going to bed early and not lying in.
Are headaches normal in pregnancy?
There are some women who find their migraines actually disappear when they are pregnant! The chances are though, that headaches are likely to occur when you fall pregnant. They maybe regular or occasional but it is a virtual certainty that they will occur.
If you suffer from headaches in the first half of pregnancy then these are, unfortunately, a side-effect. If you have headaches in the second half of pregnancy you should get yourself checked for hypertension (high blood pressure). Preeclamsia is a condition that results in hypertension and other symptoms and needs to be checked by your doctor immediately.
Many pregnant women rightly want to stay away from medication. There are a number of simple things that can help ease the incidence of headaches:
1. Try and keep your blood sugar levels steady by eating regularly scheduled, well-balanced meals. Avoid missing meals as this results in a drop in blood sugar levels and can trigger headaches.
2. Stay away from stuffy, overheated, poorly ventilated rooms which can cause headaches and sinus congestion. If you can try to get as much fresh air as possible.
3. One of the things about being pregnant is that your blood supply feeds your uterus meaning that temporarily you can have a very slightly reduced flow of blood to your brain. The result of this is feeling faint, dizzy or a headache. So move slowly and change positions carefully, particularly getting out of bed or getting up out of a chair.
4. Do not rush to your herbal medicine cabinet. There are a lot of herbs that are harmful to both the pregnant woman and the fetus. Talk to a herbal medicine practitioner who will point you in the right direction for safe herbal remedies.