Two years of menstrual migraines, looking for insight from others

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Hi all, I'm a new member. I'm not sure if I am putting this on the correct forum or not. I'm 44, healthy, have had 2 children (in my 20's) and have been on birth control pill since the birth of the last one 20 years ago. I don't really have any real signs of menopause except for 2 years ago, I began getting awful headaches a few days before my period. I told my dr. about it and she immediately said it's your hormones plummeting at that time due to age. She prescribed me progesterone pills and estradiol to use at various times during my cycle. I've was on it for over a year and no change at all in the headaches. In fact, I noticed nothing from using the progesterone and estrogen at all. I was told since I was getting nothing from it, to go ahead and stop using it.

Wanted to also mention, I have no other symptoms. No hot flashes, no heavy period, no depression, nothing, JUST the horrible migraine like headaches that can last for several days. No medicines help at all. I also don't get headaches at any other time of the month so it's definitely related to my cycle somehow.

Pharmacist who is the hormone specialist (at a compounding pharmacy) suggested I try a supplement called DIM. That was the most awful experience ever. Within 36 hours, I had a crippling migraine and was vomiting all night. I stopped after 3 pills and was better. Threw it in the trash.

I don't know what else to do and neither does my dr. Has anyone here experienced anything similar who can offer any insight on what I can do. I feel there are no other options from my dr.

Thank you!

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, there. I'm 51 and have had hormonal headaches for over 20 years. They seemed to be getting worse in the last couple of years that I am now on a daily medication to keep them at bay. Some months it has helped, but not every month. I also was suggested DIM for migraines and a fibroid I have. Kind of nervous to try with your experience. My Mom had migraines, and it is hereditary. Once she went through menopause and her periods stopped, so did her migraines. I'm hoping the same for me, but I am still very regular. I also take Zomig, a triptan , to stop the pain once I get the migraine, and it usually takes the pain away. If not, I have to ride it out. Good luck to you and I hope you find a solution. I know the pain.

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    • Posted

      In regards to DIM, I did my homework on it before I tried it and my reaction isn't that unusual. It works for some and for others, the reaction is awful as it was in my case. Reading through the reviews of many different brands, it causes horrid migraines for some. I took a smaller dose too at 100mg.

      I may ask my dr. to prescribe a triptan as nothing else helps.

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  • Posted

    Holly,

    I started with menstrual migraines in my mid-30s. I started supplementing with 250 mg of magnesium twice a day for the past 10 years. It has cut down on the amount of migraines and the intensity if I do get one. It took a few months of supplementing with the magnesium before I saw a different.

    I usually get migraines on day 3 and 4 of my period.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. I have been supplementing with magnesium for years. I also had come across that it helped with menstrual migraines for some and upped my dose a couple months ago. Haven't seen any lessening. 😦

      I forgot to mention I also tried wild yam pills and it didn't make me feel very good. Made me tired with a slight headache.

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  • Posted

    Lack of serotonin? Dip in estrogen may cause it. Just in case try 5-HTP in a small dose. Otherwise, what that could be is high progesterone causing slow stomach emptyingg. you would be surprised of how stomach cn cause a headache.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply. I do take 100 mg of 5HTP in morning and night. It helps me sleep better and keep a calmer mood.

      The high progesterone idea is a first, would that still cause migraines only to come just prior to bleeding each month? I don't get headaches any other time?

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    • Posted

      This is interesting. I just started taking 5HTP for anxiety and winter blues, it was suggested by natural practitioner. I have been on it for a month and this is the first time I have been riddled with a headache for days before and during my period. I am not someone who gets a lot of headaches and if I do I can pin point why. If I get a PMS headache it is usually just a day or half a day....not days.....so I am wondering if there is a connection to this. I will have to read more about it. I really hope this is not the start of monthly headaches. I actually had to cancel work a couple days last week because of them. They are not constant but come in waves and then I get this sensation that feels like my scalp is being pulled or squeezed.

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    • Posted

      After reading your reply, I did some googling to see if there was a connection. I didn't find anything about 5htp causing migraines but I did come across studies that showed when taken at higher doses (600-900mg), it was shown to treat migraines. Hmmm, I will try this since I have it already. It says lower doses were not effective. I will try anything.

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  • Posted

    to make the endometrium shed, the body releases proststaglandins. BUT THESE WORK ON EVERY CELL IF THE BODY NOT JUST THE ENDOMETRIUM. so where YOu ALREADY have strain and inflammation, you will also get pain pre menstrually. if you have a constricted immobile upper thorax, old head injury, neck strain,jaw muscles injured by dental surgery, anything thats inflamed, it will flare up with your period IN YOUR CASE GIVING YOU head pain.

    brufen etc are good for this but mobilisation if those joints is essential. for your b ody , yoga. just a gentle stretches. stretch the muscles of your mouth using your index finger lying alongside your cheek pulling outwards. yes it hurts. try cutting out carbs and all sugar at least a week before you bleed.

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  • Posted

    I started getting incapacitating menstrual migraines around 37/38. I basically lay in bed all day with ice packs on my head and take two baby aspirins. It causes me to miss work. Last year, I had my first migraine aura at 43. I get my (heavy with clots) period every 21 days. This has been going on for 2+ years. So, I definitely understand what you are going through. It can be traumatic! xo

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  • Posted

    Had to come back and write this update:

    After dealing with almost debilitating migraines associated with my period for the past 2 years, for the first time since, NO HEADACHE!!!

    It was this thread that led me to the answer. Poster "takingtime" saying that she had her first menstrual migraine after starting the 5htp triggered me to do some research since I'd been taking 5htp for years for sleep. The first research told me that 5htp was actually used in higher doses to treat migraines and could eliminate menstrual migraines. So I increased my dose of 200mg per day to 400mg and instantly felt sick and headache started almost immediately. So I dug a little deeper. The seratonin produced by taking 5htp can cause sensitivities in the brain, which can be sensitive to the hormone drop just before period. I stopped the 5htp a week before my period was set to start. OMG! That was it. I can't believe it. I was suffering every single month. My doctor was out of ideas. I hope this helps someone else.

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  • Posted

    Hi Holly,

    I "cured" my menstrual migraines. Sparing you my very long, very sorted migraine story spanning 44 years, I was put on progesterone at the same time as Nortriptyline that never helped my migraines, but resulted in my blood pressure shooting up to 190. I was put on Lisinopril which reduces high blood pressure and is a diuretic. I always retain 5-10 lbs of water weight around my cycle, so I guess this pill got rid of it and stopped the "swelling" effect in my head. I still get an aura (vision loss), nausea, and some other symptoms with my menstrual migraine, but the pain can be tamed now with two extra strength Tylenol and sleep. Let me state I'm NO physician and I'm just telling you the major coincidence of how I came upon a "cure" for my unique situation. I'm not telling anyone to do what I did, but something about that medication seems to work for me. Good luck to you and anyone else suffering. Don't stop until you find a cure!

    Tharon

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  • Posted

    Hi Holly,

    I had menstrul migraines too. They would grow worse as I got closer to my period. My doctor, who also get migraines, said to get ahead of them by taking an OTC with aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen at the first twinge of pain. Also, check your BP. Even though I don't have hypertension, my BP would go up before my period and that can cause a headache. Apparently the crash in estrogen is the primary reason which makes sense.

    Try to sleep as much as possible at night the week of your period too even if you have to take something that makes you tired. No salt or caffeine if you can avoid it.

    I'm 54 and thankfully the migraines have ended as well as the horrible nausea.

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