What is Hormonal Headache?
Menstrual Migraine, also referred to as Hormonal Migraine, is one of the most common and debilitating headaches affecting women on the Gold Coast. It has been reported that 60% of women indicate that they are more likely to experience their migraine with their menstrual period. 14% of female migraineurs will exclusively experience their migraines with their period .
As with other types of migraine, symptoms generally include a moderate-severe, pulsating or throbbing pain on one side of the head. They can also include associated symptoms, such as; sensitivity to light, sound and smell, nausea or vomiting and visual disturbances. With a Menstrual Migraine, the symptoms occur during the monthly menstrual cycle, and can last up to three days.
What causes a Hormonal Migraine?
Originally, Menstrual Migraines were thought to be caused by a fluctuation in oestrogen during the monthly period cycle. However, studies have since shown that there is no difference in the change of oestrogen in Menstrual Migraine sufferers, when compared to those who experience no migraines. Furthermore, when attempting to treat the fluctuation of oestrogen with medication and Hormone Replacement Therapy, there has been no evidence of any improvement. Suggesting another reason must be the cause of these headaches.
Recent evidence suggests that a sensitised Trigeminal Cervical Nucleus in the brainstem, may be affected by these normal fluctuations as part of a normal menstrual cycle . The brainstem can be sensitized by abnormalities in the joints of the cervical spine, which can then cause pain and symptoms to be referred through the brainstem into the head or face. This sensitised brainstem then becomes hyper-sensitive to normal changes in oestrogen, reacting abnormally to a perceived threat and again referring pain and symptoms to the head or face [1, 2].
I’ve done it all, is there anything else that can help me?
It is common for people who suffer from Menstrual Migraines to have tried a wide range of different treatments. Our patients have often tried; Hormone Replacement Therapy, changes to the contraceptive pill and nutritional changes to prevent these migraines from occurring. However, as this new research suggests, these treatments are not targeting the cause of these migraines. Getting assessed to identify whether a sensitised brainstem is the main cause of your migraines should be you next step.
At The Headache and Migraine Clinic, we are trained in assessing your Menstrual Migraines according to the latest research. We have techniques to assess whether this sensitised brainstem and your cervical spine may be the true cause. If this is the case, then treatment can start immediately. We expect a significant change to your Menstrual Migraines within 5 sessions for 85-90% of our patients, and the best part is that it is safe, medication-free and non-invasive.