Menstrual migraine (on contraceptive pill). Please help!

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/11/2007 7:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi there,
I've been on the combined contraceptive pill for about 7 years now. I started off on Dianette, yet had to change after about a year as the migraines it gave me became unbearable. I switched to Yasmin, which I am still currently on.
However, every time I'm on my '7 day pill free week' I still get migraines. These weren't too bad for the first few years; just headaches really that went easily with pain killers, so no big deal. However, now the migraines are becoming very bothersome again. I also get other symptoms; nausea, sometimes an upset stomach, and it also brings on anxiety attacks sometimes. The pain generally starts behind the right eye and spreads all down the neck and shoulders, I feel very disorientated and anxious with it.
Oh, it is worth mentioning that the migraines are WITHOUT aura (I know it is dangerous to be on the pill if you too get visual distortions).
Anyway, the point of all my rambling was, has anyone else suffered this? And can you recommend any alternative combined contraceptive pills (or patches etc) which have not given you migraines?
I am going to book an appointment with my doctor asap, as I really want to end this misery. I'm meant to be doing an essay for uni right now, but I can't bare staring at the computer screen for long enough!
Many thanks for reading!

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 1/11/2007 9:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi miow...

I was just switched to a low hormone contraceptive from the makers of Yasmin called Yaz. (Wow I sound like a commercial) Anyway, supposedly you have a 4 day cycle on it which is SUPPOSEDLY lighter. Hence, lighter on the hormones. Contraceptives are commonly not too great for us migraine sufferers.

Well, I'm not too fond of Yaz... for one I miss not having a period for 3 months. Lets skip back to 4 months ago when I was on Yasmin.

I took Yasmin like Seasonale. I would take it regularly and each month for 3 months when it came time to take the cycle pills or your '7 day pill free week' I would throw out my pills and just start on over THEREFORE skipping my period and skipping my hormone migraines. Back then... this worked. I had 4 periods a year. It was great. Put a damper on my sex life, but great. I was put on it by my physician FOR MY MIGRAINES.

Maybe you should try this? I've had hormone migraines FOREVER. Now that I'm on Topamax I still have them. Thats about the ONLY migraines I still DO have on the prophylactic. I'm almost ready to throw in the towel on Yaz and go back to Yasmin which I could take like Seasonale. Talk to your OB/Gyn about it?

I had the best luck on it!!! Hope that helps


Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 1/11/2007 9:58 PM (GMT -6)   

Hello miow,

Welcome to Healing Well. I too experienced migraines during the week before my period. The first thing my doctors did when we started exploring ways to fix my headaches was take me off the pill. Estrogen is known to trigger migraines and can make them worse. My GP put me on Depo Provera, an injection I get every three months. It has no estrogen in it, it contains progesterone, which doesn't have as bad a history with migraine sufferers. It also doesn't have a week off so there isn't any cycling which also seems to be a problem for migraine sufferers.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

Co-moderator Migraine Forum
"In life you can never be too kind or too fair; everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load. When you go through your day expressing kindness and courtesy to all you meet, you leave behind a feeling of warmth and good cheer, and you help alleviate the burdens everyone is struggling with." -- Brian Tracy

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/12/2007 11:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Guys,
Thanks so much for the replies, they are both very helpful. I have heard about taking the pill continuously for three months at a time, so I may enquire about this.
The ironic thing is really that I originally went on the pill for horrific period pains, I mean, I think they were worse than the migraines. Ideally, I would love to come off the pill, but 1, I honestly think I could bare the migraines more than the period pains, and 2, I'm 22 years old and I really don't want to risk getting pregnant at all (I use condoms as well as it is).
But I am definately going to talk to my doctor asap.
On my research on this topic on the internet, I came across another 'combined hormone contraceptive' called the 'nuvo ring' or something like that. Apparently its meant to be better for migraines sufferers as it releases a steady amount of hormones rather than a 'high and a low' which a pill gives you. Only thing is is that I'm not sure if it is available in the UK yet (where I live).
But does anyone happen to know anything about this treatment?
Thanks again for your replies!

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 1/12/2007 1:13 PM (GMT -6)   
I also spoke with my doctor about the ring... If I'm not mistaking it for the IUD, she said I couldn't have it because I haven't had any children yet. She seems to think that I need to stay on a pill.

When I tried the Depo-provera shot when I was 15 years old I had TERRIBLE side effects. I was extremely moody/would cry at the drop of a hat and was even violent with my ex boyfriend! (Maybe it was him, who knows) LOL... I also lost weight and still ate like a cow. Most girls gain weight very rapidly. Worst of all I had really bad cramps and while I didn't have a cycle for a whole month I turned around and had one for TWO... yucky. I was on it for 9 months and all in all wasn't happy. Ended up switching to Ortho and was happy with that, but as my migraines became worse they put me on the Yasmin which I could take like Seasonale.

Honestly, they put me on Yaz for my sex drive. I lost it (I'm guessing) because of birth control and can't NOT be on it. So they put me on a low dose. No change, and I'm really missing NOT having a period. I enjoyed the Yasmin. The periods I did have 4 times a year were normal. Not heavy or abnormally terrible cramps involved either. Normal migraines too.

You might even try the Depo? I've heard many women have very good results with it! I was on it when I was very young and may not have taken to it very well. Maybe I'll speak with my doctor about it since it doesn't have any estrogen and may actually be a good idea for me to try since I'm finished growing, well I'd like to add a couple inches to the height... do you stop growing at 18 or 21??? LOL. Only thing I'm worried about is the weight gain. If I lose like I did before, that would be great!

Good luck! Hope you get to feeling better!


New Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/27/2007 9:43 AM (GMT -6)   
My doctor informed me of exactly what i found the other day which might help.
** Migraineurs are 2.2 times greater risk for stroke than the non-migraine population. That risk goes up to a staggering 8 times more stroke risk for women Migraineurs on the pill **
I suffer from migraines around once a week and would only take mini-pill as a safer far, so good..but its only early days!  i definately would have a chat to your doctor about this tho!!

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/28/2007 10:33 PM (GMT -6)   

Oh my goodness I did not put the two together - I had not taken the pill for years and I have been on Topamax which really controlled my migraines I went back on the pill about 2 months ago and my migraines flaired up again still not as bad as they used to be but still worse then they have been I am in the midst of a 3 day migraine that is bouncing in and out of my right eye and yesterday I was so bad I spent the entire eveneing and night in a dark room and even with the lights out I had to tie something around my eyes because it still was not dark enough. I also do not have an aura but I did not connect the pill to my migraines - I have an appointment with my gynocologist next week and I will ask her because I do want a preventative but I definitatley do not want these attacks back so I think I am in the same boat.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 617
   Posted 1/29/2007 12:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the Migraine/Headache forum.  You have a kind of tricky problem.  Changes in hormone levels are one of the most frequent triggers for migraines, but when this trigger happens can be before, during, or after your period.  Basically, it is just one of those things you have to accept as a female.
I've never heard that Migraine with Aura(classic migraine) is any more dangerous than without(common migraine).  They are pretty equal with standard symptoms, once you get past the aura stage.
The thing that actually concerns me the most is that you have been on birth control so long.  No female should be on the pill(any variety) for more than 4 to 5 years, especially if you haven't had children yet.  You should discuss this with your gynocologist as soon as possible.  From what experience I've had with different OB/GYNs, they have all have recommended taking a break every so often, and let your body naturally for a while.  Apparently, controlling your cycle artificially for a longer time can make it much more difficult to get pregnant, once you are ready to make that step.  It also make you more susceptible for blood clots, which can kill you, or at least give you a stroke.
I would really suggest getting off the controlled hormones for a while (there are other methods of birth control if you need that).  You will still be affected by your hormones, which will still probably trigger a migraine, but if you have an abortive migraine medication, that should take care of it whenever it occurs.
Best of luck and let us know how you are doing.
Leigh Ann cool
"The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful."
                                             - Jimmy Buffett

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 2/4/2007 9:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Miow! I have almost exactly the same problem, and I really sympathise with what you're going through!! I'm a uni student and also living in the UK...I was on the combined pill (Microgynon) for two years and started getting migraines for the first time. They became progressively worse, especially in the pill-free week so I switched to a progesterone-only pill (Micronor). I've been taking Micronor for a month now, and although I still get migraines they're lighter than when I was on the combined pill (a single or half dose of paracetamol gets rid of them...rather than my old remedy of codeine and triptans).

You can definitely get Micronor in the UK for free. It's essentially the same as depo-provera or the nuvo ring (progesterone) but it's easier to stop taking it if you get any side-effects. (I didn't get any noticeable ones).
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