Migraine headache is more common in women than in men. About 70 percent of all cases of this problem affect women. And did you know that most cases of migraines in women are related to their menstrual periods. It can occur before, during, or even maybe few days after the start of menses. Though there are some natural remedies to ease and improve it, sometime it requires medical intervention.
In general, people with migraine can experience a pulsing sensation / intense throbbing in a certain area of their head. The problem may also come with increased sensitivity to sound /light and feeling nauseated or vomit.
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Many times, it is followed by sensory warning discomfort such as blind spot or flashes of the light. Furthermore, tingling in leg or arm also can strike.
How long does it last? This varies from person to person, and typically depending on the cause of the problem.
While some have it for only few minutes or hours, others can have it for several days. And most people with it often find their comfort zone in a quiet room to lie down and get a time for rest.
A chemical of the brain called serotonin often drops lower than normal during migraine attacks. The imbalance of serotonin can affect the balance in brain chemicals.
Serotonin can play a key role in regulating the nervous system. However, it’s unclear whether the drop in serotonin is the main answer of migraine – some studies are continuously going .
Overall, it seems that environmental factors and genetics may play a key role in causing migraine. But again, the way of how we get this headache pain is not fully understood.
The hormonal changes triggered by menstrual cycles or other conditions such as pregnancy or menopause transition are not the single factor that can trigger migraine in women.
In fact, as well we know that this headache pain can affect both men and women – though women are at greater chance of having it than men, as noted before. Other trigger factors can include:
- The side effects of using certain medicines such as nitroglycerin (vasodilators) and some oral contraceptives (particularly for contraceptives that can cause hormonal imbalance).
- Intense physical exertion, such as intercourse may also trigger migraine.
- In some people, sensory stimulation, such as after smelling smoke of cigarette (second-hand smoke), certain odor of perfume, the odor of paint (paint thinner), or others can be a trigger factor.
- Drinking too much highly caffeinated beverages or alcohol.
- Too much consumption of certain foods, particularly foods rich in salt, processed foods, aged cheeses.
- Skipping a meal may also be a trigger factor.
- Foods additives such as the preservative monosodium glutamate.
- A dramatic change in weather.
- Changes in sleep, such as getting too much sleep or sleep deprivation.
- Prolonged high stress.
The trigger factors mentioned above can vary from person to person. For instance, while some women experience a migraine attack in the first few months after taking an oral contraceptive, others don’t.
The up and down your hormonal levels in each cycle of your menstruation can generate some discomfort symptoms. Visit this section for more detailed information about your hormonal fluctuations in menstrual cycle.
As mentioned before, the drop of serotonin may play a key role in affecting the way of how you get migraines.
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A theory suggests that a significant drop of oestrogen prior to the day of menstrual bleeding can affect the levels of serotonin . This may be the key answer of why some women experience headache pain before and during menstruation.
However, experts also theorize that other physiological changes triggered by menstrual period may also have affect. These include:
- The change in progesterone. Typically, it occurs in the second half of menstrual period.
- A drop of endorphins. They are the natural painkiller-agent of the brain.
- The release of chemical called prostaglandin. It has function to trigger the smooth muscles of uterus to contact and make the endometrium break down in the days of menstruation.
There are some natural remedies that can help ease and improve menstrual migraine. These include:
Getting plenty of sleep is the natural cure for lots of health problems. It is the best idea to allow your body to repair on its own.
But you need to avoid excessive sleep, because it can be counterproductive in treating the headache pain. It’s so recommended to go to sleep and wake up at regular times!
In addition, when the migraine strikes, take a rest in quiet & dark room! If possible, try using an ice pack (wrapped in a cloth) then apply it gently on the scalp where the pain comes – but it may doesn’t work for anyone.
Changes in blood pressure can affect the way of blood in distributing oxygen & nutrient to the cells of the brain. In other words, healthy blood pressure is also great for the overall health of your brain.
In addition, the drop of blood pressure (hypotension) also can trigger dizziness. Here is the section for in-depth information about this issue!
While stress can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure, it also can be bad for your overall health. And in fact, it also can worsen other symptoms of your premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Your stress may be an inevitable condition. But no matter what the causes of your stress, it can be controlled!
Some relaxation therapies can help improve the pain of migraine. These include yoga, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation – read more in this section!
There is also a therapy called chiropractic. Many times it often works to ease and improve back pain, but it is also often successful to help ease headache .
For more detailed information about chiropractic, see a chiropractor in your local area! What else?