What is Menstrual Migraine?
Menstrual migraines is ranked the top 5 most disabling condition for women. Menstrual migraine affects women in Brisbane at different points throughout their menstrual cycle. Their migraine can typically peak on the day of their cycle, a few days before, or a few days after their cycle and can last for a couple of hours to 5 days (most commonly 3 days). Migraine symptoms can be felt on one side of the head or on both sides. The pain intensity can range from moderate to severe with a pulsating and throbbing like pain. In some cases it can cause vomiting and nausea as well as, being sensitive to light, sound and smell during an attack. Menstrual migraines can often leave sufferers disabled and bedridden for the duration of an attack.
Types of Menstrual Migraine
There are two common types of menstrual migraine. Pure Menstrual Migraine and Menstrual Related Migraines.
1. Pure Menstrual Migraine
A pure menstrual migraine is a migraine that typically occur only 1-3 days before or after the menstruation. These migraine attack must occur only during the time of the menstrual cycle, and you cannot suffer from a migraine at any other time. To fulfill this diagnosis, the migraines must occur in more than 60% of your menstrual cycle. Pure Menstrual Migraine are less common than Menstrual related migraines and occur in approximately 10% of women who suffer from migraines during their menstrual cycle.
2. Menstrual Related Migraine
Menstrual related migraine are migraines that typically occur 1-3 days before or after the menstruation, as well as, additional migraines that fall outside of the cycle. Menstrual related migraines are more common than pure menstrual migraine, and they must occur in more than 60% of your cycles.
What is the cause of Menstrual Migraine?
The traditional and old theory of the cause of menstrual migraines was the changes in hormonal levels in the body during the menstrual cycle. During the cycle, there is a fall in oestrogen levels at the beginning of the period. This fall in hormonal oestrogen levels was thought to trigger a menstrual migraine. However, the changes in hormonal levels are in fact the same regardless of whether a female suffers from a menstrual migraine or not1. Recent research performed by leading experts in this field have found those suffering from menstrual migraines do not generally have any hormonal abnormalities. This indicates and proves that hormones are not responsible nor the cause of menstrual migraines2. Furthermore, many females experience Menstrual Migraines during the final stages of their period, a point in time where oestrogen levels are rising.
Discoveries within recent research have found the primary contributing factor of Menstrual Migraine to be the related to the neck, and predominantly a fault in the upper cervical spine, resulting in a SENSITISED BRAINSTEM. When the brainstem becomes hypersensitive, it becomes highly sensitive to even small amounts of sensory of chemical changes to the body. In the case of Menstrual Migraine, it is thought that the slight changes in oestrogen levels (although perfectly normal), are interpreted by the sensitised brainstem as something wrong with the body, which results in the symptoms of Migraine3. Clinicians around the world are now beginning to point to the neck as the primary cause of migraines and have begun treating the cervical spine rather than prescribing medications4 or hormone replacements therapy, including contraceptive pills. This does not mean that treatment for Menstrual Migraine will have any impact on the contraceptive pill!
I’ve already tried everything. What else can be done to help Menstrual Migraines?
You may have trialed numerous amount of treatments such as, staying on the contraceptive pill, having the contraceptive implants such as the Implanon, or taking various types of Hormonal Replacement Therapy medications. All of which alters and changes the females natural hormonal components and cycle. An important note to remember are females with menstrual migraines do not have any hormonal abnormalities. Hence, medicating to alter the females natural hormonal levels have been shown to not be the safest or best treatment option.
If you suffer from menstrual migraines, have you had your neck assessed to see whether that is the cause of your problems?
At the Brisbane Headache and Migraine™ Clinic, we use world-class techniques in assessing and treating menstrual migraines by assessing the neck. A thorough examination of the upper cervical spine is initiated to determine the severity of your SENSITISED BRAINSTEM. During your initial consultation, your headache clinician should be able to reproduce your menstrual migraine pain, by applying pressure in one of the first three vertebrae of your neck. If your symptoms can be reproduced and resolved, expect a significant improvement to occur rapidly in 90% of our Brisbane patients with Menstrual Migraine and within the first 5 treatment consultation. We have treated countless of patients with menstrual migraines with significant results. Our treatment is effective in alleviating or dramatically reducing migraines in 85-90% of sufferers.
Watch a video to understand more about Menstrual Migraines.
Imagine living a life free from migraines and saying goodbye to medications!
To gain your recovery from Mentsrual Migraine in Brisbane today contact us on 1800 HEADACHE (toll free)
1800 43 23 22
1. Current Treatment Options in Neurology, 2001, Vol 3, 2, pp 189-200
2. Current Treatment Options in Neurology, 2001, Vol 3, 2, pp 189-200
3. Ayhan Varlibas and A. Kemal Erdemoglu. Journal of Headache Pain, 2009, 10: 277-282
4. Andrew Charles – Professor of Neurology at UCLA interviewed on “Health Report” on ABC. Available on podcast