Hormonally Related Headaches Last Longer, Are More Severe

Migraine occurs approximately three times more often in women than in men, and research has determined that menstrual hormone changes are one of many potential triggers.

Menstruation is one of the main factors that places women at risk for migraine. Although migraine headaches are equally common in young girls and boys, the number of girls affected increases sharply after the onset of menstruation. About 60% of female migraine sufferers experience menstrual migraine that occurs before, during, or immediately after the period or during ovulation.

Estrogen, the female sex hormone that specifically regulates the menstrual cycle, generally causes menstrual migraine. Changes in the hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle can trigger migraine in sufferers. Women on birth control pills may experience menstrual migraines more frequently because of the influence that oral contraceptives have on estrogen levels. Continue Reading

Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Headache can be a primary symptom of PMS.  PMS is one of the more difficult conditions to treat and its headaches equally as difficult to manage.

If one is experiencing headache prior to, during, or immediately after menses, the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (compounds used to treat arthritis) ergotamine tartrate, or one of the triptans may be helpful in controlling these symptoms.  In some patients, antidepressants such as fluoxetine are used to ameliorate PMS symptoms.

Migraine predominantly associated with menses is referred to as menstrual migraine.