Remedies for Menstrual Migraines: Diet and Lifestyle Tips
Published: 08:16AM 12 April 2023
Menstrual migraines can be a debilitating and frustrating experience for many women. Often triggered by hormonal changes, these migraines can severely impact one's quality of life. Not only do you suffer excruciating pain every month, but you also live with the dread and anxiety of an impending migraine attack as the days pass and your period approaches.
Migraine attacks associated with menstruation are thought to be linked to changes in hormone levels that occur around that time of the month, and are thus sometimes referred to as hormonal headaches.
What exactly is menstrual migraine?
Women are more likely than men to suffer from migraine, and there is a known link between migraine and hormonal changes throughout a woman's life. Menstruation (having a period) is cited as a trigger for migraine attacks by more than half of women.
What is the cause of menstrual migraine?
There is a link between migraine and decreased estrogen levels. Menstrual migraine is linked to the natural drop in estrogen levels before your period begins. Women who have heavy and painful periods have higher levels of prostaglandin (another hormone), which has been linked to menstrual migraines.
What are the symptoms of a menstrual migraine?
Menstrual migraine symptoms are similar to those of other types of migraine that do not include an aura or other sensory symptoms. They usually happen one or two days after your period starts.
Menstrual migraine is frequently classified into two types:
1.Pre menstrual migraine: This type occurs only at the start or end of your period.
2. Menstrual migraine: This is the most common type and can occur with or without aura symptoms such as vision disturbances. Migraine attacks may occur at other times of the month.
The following are some common menstrual migraine symptoms:
3.Sensitivity to light and loud
4.Throbbing head pain, usually on one side of the head
There are several ways to relieve migraine pain or prevent migraine attacks through diet and lifestyle modifications:
1.Keep a migraine diary: Before trying any natural remedies, it is essential to track your menstrual migraines in a diary. This will help you identify any triggers, patterns, or trends that might be contributing to your headaches. Record the date, time, severity, duration, and any other factors you think might be relevant.
2. Maintain a balanced diet: A healthy and balanced diet plays a crucial role in managing menstrual migraines. Try to include the following in your daily meals:
- Whole grains
- Fruits and vegetables
- Lean proteins
- Healthy fats
3. Magnesium-rich foods: Increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods can help reduce the frequency and severity of menstrual migraines. Some magnesium-rich foods include:
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard)
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
- Legumes (black beans, chickpeas, lentils)
- Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread)
4. Stay hydrated: Dehydration can trigger migraines, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water daily. You can also include herbal teas, coconut water, or fresh fruit-infused water for added variety and taste. Remember to avoid excessive caffeine and sugary drinks, as they may contribute to dehydration and migraine headaches.
5. Regular exercise: Engaging in regular exercise can help to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, most days of the week. Always consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you have any health concerns.
6. Manage stress: Stress can be a significant contributor to menstrual migraines. Incorporate stress-reduction techniques into your daily routine, such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or mindfulness practices. Additionally, ensure you get enough sleep and create a bedtime routine to help you relax and unwind at the end of the day.
7. Limit trigger foods: Certain foods and additives can trigger migraines in some individuals. Common culprits include:
- Aged cheese
- Processed meats
- Alcohol (particularly red wine)
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Artificial sweeteners
Menstrual migraines can be difficult to manage, but incorporating these dietary and lifestyle suggestions may help you manage and reduce the frequency and intensity of these headaches. Keep a migraine diary, eat a balanced diet, stay hydrated, avoid trigger foods, exercise regularly, manage stress, as needed.
Jayti Shah is a Clinical Nutritionist with a master's degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA). Over the last 9 years, she has helped 400 clients in their clinical and weight loss journeys. She works with SocialBoat as a nutrition consultant.
At SocialBoat, we offer custom diet plans and guided workouts to help you achieve your goals in a 360-degree approach. Our gamified experience ensures that you don’t find workouts boring and we reward you for being consistent with your efforts.
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