Periods are already inconvenient and annoying enough, but we’re also “blessed” with PMS symptoms. Whoopee. You’re probably very familiar with some of the more common ones including cramps, bloating, changes in appetite, and wild mood swings. Perhaps you might also have experienced some things around your period that aren’t discussed as much as other PMS symptoms and you’re wondering whether they’re normal.
If you’ve noticed that you seem to be getting headaches around your period and are wondering whether there’s any link between them and Auntie Flo coming to town — and whether it’s a normal thing — listen up:
So, I’m pretty sure that there’s some link between the headaches I’m getting and my period. Could it be legit?
If you’re someone who is prone to headaches, you might have tried tracking them on a calendar to see if there are any patterns. Perhaps that’s how you’ve deduced that your headaches seem to be happening around your period. From the sounds of things, this isn’t a coincidence. There are actually such things as menstrual migraines or in less extreme cases, period headaches. Web MD reports that about 60 percent of women get them.
Of course. What’s the deal with them versus “regular” headaches?
Mayo Clinic points out that different things can impact headaches including age and family history, but the changing hormones can play a role, hence menstrual migraines. Just before you get your period, your body experiences a drop in estrogen and this is thought to be linked to headaches. If you notice that you get headaches right before the start of your period or right when you straight your period, then this is likely the culprit.
Fun fact: The changes in hormones during pregnancy can also impact things. The difference is that estrogen actually increases in pregnancy so menstrual migraines might actually go away.
Is there a way to prevent period headaches?
If you’ve ruled out other triggers such as the weather, food, eye strain, stress and are convinced that it’s your hormones that are causing your headaches, you might want to speak to your doctor about your options, especially if your headaches are severe enough to impact your life. They might suggest taking birth control pills. Sometimes headaches are a side effect of taking The Pill but there are ones that have been reported to help migraines, like progestin-only pills. The important thing is that if you keep getting headaches, or they get worse, to speak to your doctor.
Are there other ways to deal with the headaches?
If you normally take medication, like Ibuprofen, for headaches, try taking it earlier as soon as you are feeling your symptoms. Don’t wait until your head feels like it’s going to crack open. If you find that over-the-counter pills don’t have much effect, you could talk to your doctor about headache-specific medication and/or birth control pills.
You can also try some of the other ways to help relieve headaches, such as applying ice, lying down, and avoiding eye strain. Some people find that breathing exercises, managing your stress levels, and even acupuncture can help.
Any other advice?
Everyone is unique so what works for one person might not work with another. If you find that something doesn’t work for you and it does for someone else, don’t get stressed. Try to approach things in an organized, almost scientific manner. Write down when you get your headaches, your symptoms, and anything you’ve done recently that could be related to them. Alternatively, write down the treatments that work and didn’t work. It can hopefully lead you on a path to figuring out how to best manage your headaches. And don’t forget to show the information to your doctor because they can also provide their expertise on it.
What other “weird” PMS symptoms do you get? Let us know in the comments!
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