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The period itself is a very stressful time in a woman’s monthly cycle, especially on the first day. There may be abdominal pain, and a general feeling of being under the weather. This feeling lends to exacerbate any pre-existing headaches; sometimes the general lowering of the body’s resistance means that ordinary headaches will occur more frequently at this time of the cycle. Migraines may occur more frequently in those who are susceptible

Because menstrual headaches occur as a result of a general debility of the whole system, rather than a specific hormone defect, with the exception of menstrual migraines, there is no specific treatment for them. Instead, the type of treatment used is related to the cause of the headache itself. It is very important to appreciate the difference – pre-menstrual headaches are treated by treating the pre-menstrual syndrome directly, while menstrual headaches are treated by treating the cause of the headache.

Menstrual migraine

Menstrual migraine is defined as migraine which occurs on the first day of the period (or on the day before or the day after). It is caused by the sudden drop in oestrogen levels that occurs at this time, and may respond to treatment with extra oestrogen – for example, in ‘patch’ form.


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