Periods can be annoying, even if we’re only talking about the regular symptoms like cramps, bloating, and, of course, bleeding. But on top of that, many women also experience headaches —adding yet another layer to an already less-than-pleasant few days.
If your head starts to hurt around the first day of your period, it’s probably more than just a headache: It’s a menstrual migraine. And the short answer to this question is hormones. As estrogen drops in the days leading up to a menstrual period, a woman’s risk for migraine rises.
Research suggests that up to 20% of women experience a form of migraine tied to their period, these tend to occur in the two days leading up to a period and the three days after a period starts.
How to deal with menstrual headaches:
A birth control pill that levels out those hormones
Stress can also contribute to headaches. Finding ways to relax during your period—and all month long—may help relieve symptoms. Alternative therapies, like acupuncture or yoga, may benefit some people as well.
Don’t skip meals and avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners, alcohol and highly caffeinated drinks. Keep your sleep patterns as normal as possible, and try to either avoid stress or learn how to cope with it.
You can also be proactive about preventing migraines by taking certain vitamin supplements, like magnesium.
There’s no one simplistic treatment that works for everyone, It’s often a trial of different approaches until we find something that fits.