Why Are You Experiencing Period Migraine?


While 70% of people who experience migraine are women, it is estimated that 50% of them experience period migraine. Interestingly, even though the name “menstrual migraine” suggests that migraine happens during the period, many people experience menstrual migraine two to three days before their period starts. In this article, we address the question you might be asking “Why do I get migraine on my period?”

Why Do You Experience Migraine Before/On Your Period?

Past research has shown that the menstrual migraine attacks that occur before a woman’s period correlate to a drop in her main sex hormones, namely estrogen, and progesterone. In fact, studies have shown that migraine without aura is most frequent two days before menstruation starts and continues on to the third day of menstruation. The International Classification of Headache Disorders classifies the different ways period migraine can occur:

  1. Menstrually-related migraine: Migraine without aura that starts two days before the period and lasts to the third day of the period, with other incidences of migraine with aura or migraine without aura at other times of the period cycle. This means you might experience migraine on the period or migraine at end of the period.
  2. Pure menstrual migraine: Migraine without aura that starts two days before the period and lasts to the third day of the period. Pure menstrual migraine do not have other incidences of attacks at other times of the period cycle.

Currently, migraine without aura is usually clearly associated with menstruation. While menstrual migraine is considered a form of hormonal migraine, not every hormonal migraine is a menstrual migraine. This is because that many biological conditions associated with a fall in estrogen level were shown to worsen migraine without aura.

Menstrual Migraine Symptoms


Some of the menstrual migraine symptoms you may experience include:

  1. Dizziness
  2. Blurred vision
  3. Nausea and vomiting
  4. Sensitivity to light
  5. Sensitivity to noise
  6. Sensitivity to smells
  7. Fatigue
  8. Dull or throbbing headaches

It is important to note that the dynamic between hormonal changes and migraine is highly complex. There are also external factors that can affect migraine, such as stress, caffeine etc.

Period Migraine Relief And Treatment

Research has shown that migraine affected by one’s period is usually more debilitating. In fact, some studies even concluded that menstrual migraine comes with more severe nausea and vomiting than non-menstrual attacks.

With all these facts in mind, knowing some menstrual migraine relief and menstrual migraine treatment methods will be helpful to cope with migraine during and before your period.

Some useful relief methods include using magnesium for menstrual migraines. This can come in the form of magnesium tablets or magnesium-rich foods, such as bananas, etc. You may also seek a doctor’s advice and opt for medication, such as frovatriptan for menstrual migraine.

Period Migraine Tracking

Cleveland Clinic noted that a migraine diary is helpful for “taking note of what symptoms you get, how long your symptoms last, and what makes your menstrual migraine better or worse.”  As you track menstrual migraine symptoms and menstrual migraine relief methods, you will be able to get better control over migraine.

Did you know: You can track the correlation between migraine and your menstrual cycle using the Migraine Buddy app! Tracking the correlation between migraine and your menstrual cycles can enable you to cope with migraine and even potentially anticipate migraine attacks just before your period. Join our #MigraineBuddyCommunity in tracking migraine now and live a migraine-free life! This will also help you to know what to expect for your migraine doctor appointment. Start tracking your migraine aura now and live the best life you can as a #MigraineWarrior.

Download Migraine Buddy here now!


Sacco S, Ricci S, Degan D, Carolei A. Migraine in women: the role of hormones and their impact on vascular diseases. J Headache Pain. 2012 Apr;13(3):177-89. doi: 10.1007/s10194-012-0424-y. Epub 2012 Feb 26. PMID: 22367631; PMCID: PMC3311830.
Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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