menstrual migraine

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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 98
   Posted 7/1/2013 2:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all,

I've struggled with menstrual migraines since my late 30s (I'm now 46). They are such a nuisance I find myself at times praying for menopause!

Imitrex actually works very well for me. I have begun to experiment with using it as a preventive rather than just an abortive (taking it at the start of the day during the time when I get the migraines) and this generally works well.

The problem is that in my 40s, I have found my cycles are really short!-- generally 23-25 days. I have the migraine trouble starting on Day 20 of my cycle and continuing through Day 6 of my period. This means a lot of Imitrex. I recently saw a neurologist who thought my way of dealing with it was basically fine, but it does mean constant headaches (of a different kind) getting my insurance plan to allow me to be sent more in the mail, my dr. to prescribe more, etc. Both are always trying to get me to take an approved "migraine prevention" drug-- usually one of these antidepressants like Pamelor or Amitryptyline. To be honest, though, I do not want to take any kind of psychoactive drug if I don't absolutely have to. I have thought about beta blockers, but am not sure I want to take those either. On the other hand, I do worry sometimes about taking so much Imitrex-- and would also of course love it if I could avoid the migraines some other way.

I would take magnesium, which I have heard is good for menstrual migraines, but I also have ulcerative colitis and worry about the diarrhea factor. I also experimented with Frova, but insurance only allows for 6 of those a month, which is nowhere near enough. Butterbur? Evening primrose? COQ10? Exercise? I would love to know if anyone else out there with menstrual migraines has any thoughts-- aside from getting a hysterectomy! Thanks.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 909
   Posted 7/3/2013 10:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi ilovefood,

I'm assuming that because of your age, you are not able to take any type of birth control pill? I know that at least some of them are not advised for women over 35 (but maybe not all?). I suffer from menstrual migraines as well, so I take the pill continuously for months at a time and just don't have a period. Every three months or so, I take 2-3 days "off" then start taking the pill again. Because of my continuous pill usage, I don't actually have periods anymore (which is nice but was a little scary at first), but it has decreased my menstrual migraines down to those couple days when I am off the hormones.

Unfortunately, I have not found anything else that helps with my migraines. Exercise is a trigger for me, so I have to take meds before and after each workout, and I still often get headaches or migraines. I also take a daily preventive medication (Topamax).

Have you tried talking to your OBGYN about options?

Good luck!
30-something female. Crohn's ileocolitis dx 2/06. Inflammatory arthritis dx 9/09. GERD dx 1/13. Asthma dx 4/13. Chronic headaches+migraines. Chronic pain. Currently taking Remicade (first infusion 4/13), 150mg Lyrica, 50mg Trazadone, 1mg Klonopin, 100mg topamax, Zyrtec, Miralax daily for constipation, Maxalt/Sumavel for migraine, 4g Pentasa, 9mg Entocort, 600mg Gralise, 600mg Zantac

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2013
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 7/5/2013 5:38 PM (GMT -6)   
I also take small amounts of Triptans when I'm feeling "migrainey"
I can feel my blood vessels clamping down and my head starts to throb, and I'll take 1/4 or 1/3 of a rizatriptan. The trouble with this can be rebound headaches. I was getting these and had to just deal with the migrainey stuff for days with no meds so I could go backon after at full strength and avoid further rebounding. It was awful.
I get all kinds of migraines and different triggers, but menstrual are the worst. I have tried everything, bio identical hormones, birth control meds, Botox, I too pray for menopause. If I could I'd get a hysterectomy.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/3/2013 6:43 PM (GMT -6)   
I suffer from pre and post cycle migraines as well. These are most likely due to the fall in estrogen levels just before menses. I have an estrogen patch my Ob/Gyn prescribed that I put on 5 day before my period starts and keep on until 2 days past its end. It helps a ton with little to no side effects.

Good luck,

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 16714
   Posted 8/4/2013 10:06 AM (GMT -6)   
I've been taking a birth control pill called Cerazette. It has no estrogen, you take one pill a day, and you get no period. I have probably only had one migraine since taking it and it has been about 9 months. I used to get migraines around my period every month, they were like yours, they would start the day of or the day before and go until it ended, painful in varying degrees over the days. I have UC too. I used to take Ponstel here adn there to help control the migraines and it helped a lot but it's an NSAID. My neurologist gave me zomig which helped sometimes but often I would end up having to take ponstel regardless and it worried me to take NSAIDs with UC. Eventually I started Pristiq for prevention and I no longer had migraines. It was a good option for me because I was depressed as well. I am not sure how much it helped with the depression but the migraines stopped and my UC improved, about 6 months later I stopped taking Pristiq and started Cerazette again and I've been fine since.

I tried Cal/Mg and saw no positive result.
Co-moderator: Ulcerative Colitis
Diagnosed with Pancolitis, Laryngopharyngeal Reflux & Migraines. Battling Extreme Exhaustion.
Currently: 6mp (25mg) + Lialda (2400mg) + Canasa (1g PM)

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 151
   Posted 8/10/2013 9:03 PM (GMT -6)   
My migraines flare up when I'm on the wrong pill... Hormones are evil.
I'd have a chat to an OBGYN, even if there IS issues with the pill after 40 it has to be balanced with your quality of life.
(Different issue, but I've been told that if the pill controls my endo pain, to just stay on it until menopause. If anyone tries to take it off me simply due to age they're going to loose that particular fight.)

Other than magnesium, I take CoQ10, a Vitamin B compound, and Folate for my migraines.
The Folate and Vitamin B are in early stages of research to see how effective they are to help migraines. Nothing has been proven yet, but they seem to help me.
Chronic Asthma, Migraines (1990), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (1994), Fibromyalgia (1996), Endometriosis (diagnosed 2013).

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 8/11/2013 11:48 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm 54 and was a migraine sufferer when I was very young, but these days, after my brain surgery, I don't get it anymore. I had a 2.5 cm pituitary tumor that was removed soon after it was diagnosed. I don't like to take any drugs if I can help it, I have been doing mindfulness meditation for a few years and life has been wonderful, no more pain. Basically I use visualization during meditation to first focus on where exactly the pain resides in my head, then accepting it. And then allowing myself to visualize moving that pain outside of my body, and disintegrate it into thin air. This is also known as creative visualization, you can Google this visualization concept and do your own research. If you don't want to take any more medication, it means that your body is urging you to find other holistic approach to heal yourself. Trust your subconscious! And good luck!

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 8/20/2013 10:59 AM (GMT -6)   
The doctors I saw at the large university here in VA told me that migraines indeed DO change their pattern when us women get closer to that lovely time I our life called menopause - they think I have moved I to perimenopause and that coupled with my recent diagnosis of Hashimotos has dramatically changed my migraines to a daily chronic migraine - hopefully this helps

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 52
   Posted 9/30/2013 8:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I also have UC and menstrual migraines. I've found beta-blockers good and with minimal side-effects - dry eyes can be a problem, but are easily fixed with drops and worth it for less migraines. Mine usually start on the 3rd day of the period and last until I ovulate, but there's a definite reduction in days where I need to take a triptan while on the beta-blockers.
I also found evening primrose increased my UC bleeding while I was flaring - not doing that again! - and magnesium did nothing at all for me, but it's worth getting your levels of it checked.
Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (proctitis) 10/2012
Currently in remission.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/1/2014 11:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I had the exact same problem for many years. Triptans worked, but I could only take them a couple times a week, if I didn't want to deal with rebound headaches. I would often get daily headaches during the entire week of my period and sometimes during the PMS too. I'd have to try to schedule my life around that week and save Triptans for the days it was most important to be functional.

What finally worked, after years of suffering, was an herb called Vitex. It's well documented to balance hormone levels, and even my gynecologist told me she recommends it. (I wish I'd been her client when I needed it!) I don't know why I didn't run across it in all those decades of desperate research, but I finally heard about it and tried it. After about six weeks on it, my menstrual migraines were a non-issue. I still get the occasional headache during my period, but it's never more than the triptans can handle and the severity is mild enough that I can function without medication. Instead of an entire lost week, I have a few days of feeling a little low. It's nothing like before. I want to run around town telling everyone, so no one else has to suffer for not knowing about it.

It's inexpensive, and it's easy to find at most vitamin stores or online. In addition to helping the headaches, it also made my short cycles longer and lightened them considerably. I take one pill a day.

I hope someone else feels better from trying it!

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