Natural Treatment of Menstrual Migraines

menstrual migraines

According to a Lancet review paper, menstrual migraines are more severe than migraines at other times of the cycle.

Possible drivers of menstrual migraines include estrogen withdrawal at the end of the cycle, plus an estrogen-dependent release of prostaglandins and histamine. Body-identical progesterone may help to shelter the brain from estrogen withdrawal and reduce the frequency and intensity of menstrual migraines.

How hormones affect migraines 

Menstrual migraines are more common with high, fluctuating estrogen and relatively low progesterone, such as during perimenopause. That’s why menstrual migraines are more common between the ages of 40 and 55.

High, fluctuating estrogen promotes migraines by 1) stimulating immune cells to produce more prostaglandins and histamine and 2) leading to steep estrogen withdrawal, which disrupts the neurotransmitters serotonin and glutamate.

👉 Tip: New research suggests that migraines may be caused by “plumes” of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate moving in waves through the brain.

By reducing glutamate and calming the brain, progesterone may help to prevent menstrual migraines.

natural migraine treatments

Research has also linked high levels of the hormone prolactin to migraines. See my blog post about lowering prolactin.

Natural treatment of menstrual migraines

Hormonal birth control can worsen migraines

All types of hormonal birth control can worsen migraines, and for women who are prone to migraines, estrogen pills carry a significantly higher stroke risk.

👉 Tip: If you develop a severe throbbing headache on the hormonal IUD, check with your doctor because it could be a rare condition called intracranial hypertension.

Dr Lara Briden
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