Dealing with the ebb and flow of your menstrual cycle is exhausting as it is, and the problems that come with it aren’t exactly a mood booster. No, we are not talking about the cramps, mood swings, bloating, and diarrhoea, we are referring to the lesser-known symptom – headache! If you have been trying to resolve the mystery of why you get severe headaches during periods, this information might be of help! Experts say that migraines during periods can actually get worse. So, menstrual migraines are a thing, and here’s everything you need to know about dealing with them.
As per the American Migraine Foundation, women who experience migraine attacks may experience more during periods. Menstrual migraines generally begin between the two days before your period and the third day after your cycle starts. While it affects a lot of women, it is not something every women will experience. So, why do get migraine headaches and what causes it? Let’s find out.
What triggers menstrual migraines?
Menstrual migraine is mainly caused due to the sudden drop in estrogen levels that occur before your period. While not every woman experiences it, some women who are sensitive to these changes are more likely to get these triggers. The fluctuations in your hormones can further aggravate the triggers, says nutritionist Nmami Agarwal in her latest Instagram post.
Another cause of menstrual migraine is changes in the hormone serotonin, which is required for the nerve cells and brain to function. You may experience some changes in serotonin levels during your menstrual cycle, which can trigger migraines due to its role in regulating pain.
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While these hormonal changes are not bad for your health but they can cause problems such as migraine that may make you uncomfortable.
How to deal with menstrual migraine?
Here are some of the natural ways you can deal with menstrual migraine as suggested by the nutritionist:
1. Drink plenty of water
Did you know that not drinking enough water can trigger migraines? Studies have shown that staying hydrated and drinking at least 10-12 glasses of water every day can help reduce the chances of getting a migraine.
2. Avoid certain foods
What you eat can affect the way your body reacts to certain triggers like hormonal changes. A study published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research found that certain diet patterns can increase your chances of getting a migraine. Agarwal writes that caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, aged cheese, and foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG – which is a flavour enhancer) should be avoided.
3. Eat foods rich in vitamin B2
A study published in the Current Journal of Neurology found eating foods rich in vitamin B can help women deal with episodic migraines. She recommends including vitamin B2 supplementation in your diet to reduce migraines. Foods high in vitamin B2 that you can include in your diet are eggs, dairy products, lean meats, and leafy greens.
4. Include magnesium-rich foods in your diet
Magnesium is an essential mineral that may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines, writes the expert. Studies have also shown a positive link between magnesium-rich foods and managing migraines. Incorporate magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy greens into your diet. You can also try magnesium supplements as recommended by your doctor.
5. You need more antioxidants
The dietitian writes that women should include Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which is an antioxidant in their diet as it will help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. This antioxidant is generally found in beef, fish, chicken, and some vegetables.
If you have been experiencing menstrual migraine, you can try these expert-recommended changes in your life. However, you should also consult your nutritionist or your doctor to know what will suit you the best.