What are Menstrual Migraines?
Menstrual migraines have recently been defined by the International Headache Society in the appendix of their diagnostic criteria for headache and have been divided into two subcategories: “menstrual related MWoA” and pure menstrual MWoA.” Although not a life-threatening condition, these headaches can be very disabling.
Women have missed more days from household work and family/leisure activities than from work/school activities, however ability to do household work and performance at work/school activities were reduced by at least half. Poor quality of life was described in migraine patients and mood disorders were associated with significant decrements in quality of life.
Many people resort to pharmaceuticals for their headaches with the most common being NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). People can build a resistance to these drugs over time and can become dependent on these drugs. There are many side effects to chronic use of NSAIDS that can have a negative effect on the body.
It is important to inform people that there are alternative methods and treatments to these disabling headaches. I have collected research from articles and books on the definitions and treatments for the different types of migraines. Personally being a sufferer from migraines, I think it will be a great benefit to all women to understand and find a conservative treatment for this condition.
Defining Menstrual Migraines:
Migraines are a common problem affecting females during their menstrual cycles. Menstrual migraine is not recognized as a separate entity in the most widely used diagnostic classification system for headache. Instead, in 2004 revised version of the International Classification of Headache Disorders includes “candidate” criteria in the appendix for two entities: menstrual related migraine and pure migraine.
These require that to be considered due to menstruation, an attack must occur during an interval from two days before to three days after the onset of menstrual flow.
The ICHD further specifies that such attacks must occur in 2 out of 3 cycles. Attacks of migraine occurring in a consistent relationship with menstruation can be classified as “pure” migraine if they occur at no other times of the month, and as “menstrually related” if other attacks occur throughout the month.
Menstrual migraines are common in women and associated with substantial disability. Compared to non-menstrual migraine, migraine attacks are found to be more severe, longer in duration, and have a poorer response to analgesics.
The pathogenesis of pain in migraine is not completely understood. The vascular theory of migraine, predominant for much of the twentieth century, hypothesized that migraine pain arises from abnormal dilation of intracranial blood vessels and the resultant excitation of sensory fibers connected to them.
However, accumulating evidence has failed to validate the vascular theory. An alternative theory suggests that migraine pain arises from neurogenic inflammation in the trigeminovascular system. Unlike other types of migraines, these migraines may be precipitated by neuroendrocrine fluctuations associated with the menstrual cycle.
Click Here For Migraine Headache Relief
Role of Magnesium:
In the book titled The Headache Alternative, there is evidence that magnesium levels are reduced during the premenstrual phase. Magnesium deficiency has been linked with blood vessel constriction and with the release of substance P, the biochemical that sets in motion pain-causing inflammation.
In the author’s studies, it was found that about 50% of people with a migraine attack appear to be magnesium-deficient, and this deficiency strikes women with migraines more often than men. Low magnesium levels seem to also be responsible for other PMS symptoms.
In another book titled Migraine Headache Disease, the role of magnesium was also found to participate in the migraine process. Brain magnesium levels are low during the attack without changes in the pH. Increased excretion rates have been found in migraines, leading to transient hypomagnesaemia. It was also found that magnesium deficiency could lead to inflammation and substance P activity.
In a 2002 article from Headache, it was suspected that abnormal magnesium metabolism might be a possible factor in the development of migraine headaches. Low serum and tissue levels of total magnesium have been reported in patients with migraine, including women with these migraines.
The results of this study measuring serum ionized magnesium levels in women with menstrual migraines showed that ionized magnesium levels were in low in 45% of women experiencing these migraines, while only 14% of women menstruating without migraine had low serum magnesium levels.
The study also found that the high incidence of serum magnesium deficiency during these migraine attacks indicates that magnesium may have a role in the development of this disease in a subgroup of patients. It also appears that from the study that some women exhibit magnesium deficiency between migraines and menstruations but that the incidence rises when these two events are combined.
This is very supportive evidence that shows most of us should be on a quality magnesium supplement of around 400mg per day to increase magnesium levels in the tissues. Magnesium is known to be in over 300 biochemical functions in the human body.
This page was written by guest author Dr. Chelsey Smiley. Dr. Smiley has done vast research on Menstrual Migraines and the conservative approach to treating them.
Return From Menstrual Migraines to Chiropractor-Today