OT: Menstrual Migraines

Hi there everyone. I have suffered from these for most of my life. I got my first period at age 10. Yes, 10, I know I’ve been cursed from day one. :rollseyes:

Through the last 20 years ( :shock: ) it’s been on and off. The menstrual migraines (mm) part; I’ve have constant regular migraines since 17. Oy vey. Anyway, the last 6 months or so the menstrual ones have gotten way out of hand. I’m currently on Ortho-Tri-Cyclen and have stumbled upon a different bcp called Mircette.

Is anyone on this particular one, and maybe even for mm?? Or does anyone have this problem and is currently on any type of bcp for them?? The week of my period is the WORST. I’m layed up for the whole week. By the end of the week, which isn’t really until a few days after the start of the new pack, I’m a complete zombie. :crying: Then a few days pass and its back to the beginning all over again.

We’ve even tried the estrogen patches for the placebo week and that hasn’t helped. Different doses I mean.

I know different pills work differently for people, but unless I hear (or read) otherwise I’m thinking of taking the plunge.

Iam not on any pills because Iam “fixed” but I have gotten mm’s since I can remember, taking midol, pamprin, tylenol never worked. My doctor gave me one called Amerge for migraines but it was really pricey. The other day I tripped upon Advil Extra Strength Migraine Control. I took one the other day while dealing with a mm, and it was amazing, 15mins later and I felt like a million dollars, no headaches or cramps either, and they didn’t leave me feeling stoned all day.
Oh meant to add, I got a pillow awhile back that has gel in it (you add this sand like stuff and water into the empty pillow (kind of like a water bed.hot water bottle idea). Whatever temp you make the water it keeps permanetly (don’t ask me how), but it can be the hotest day in summer and it stays comfortably cold. I bought mine at a trade fair in town, but you might find it by googling it.


I am a sonographer (ultrasound) and work for a lovely OB/GYN practice. You are right, every BCP has a different formula. From conversations I have had with several of the practitioners, I gather that they really don’t like Ortho-Tricyclen (which my daughter was taking). That BCP is designed to mimic the menstrual cycle, with ebbs and flows in the hormone cycle. There is a brand new BCP called Yaz that has a new formula. (The pharmaceutical company also makes Yasmin, which all the practitioners love to prescribe because a lot of women do very well on that pill). Maybe one of those BCPs might be considered for you. The same company is working on a pill that will have a bit of anti-depressathat in it to help with PMS affects.

I also suffer from migraines since age 18, sometimes daily. I cannot link them to my cycle, but think I might get more when I don’t get my 9 hours of sleep that I need everynight. A new strategy I am trying is to recognize the first hint that the headache is on its way. Then, I get out the bag of frozen peas, wrap it in a tea-towel, and lay on the couch with it behind my neck. I think I have averted a few headaches this way. Migraines are caused by blood vessels that dilate, sending too much blood to the head. The frozen peas therefore, cause the vessels to constrict and avert the headache.

I hope you find some relief. I am very sympathetic. :crying:

When I first went in to get on the pill (mostly just for period cramps as I wasn’t having sex at the time, nor planned on it) they put me on Mircette.

It worked well, except that something about it made me, literally, sick to my stomach. Every day, a few hours after I took it, I got really bad nausea. I don’t know what morning sickness fells like, but if I had to imagine, it would be similar to that.
Never made me acutally throw up, but I came damn close a number of times.

I went back in and switched to a different pill and dosage and haven’t had any problems with that.

I don’t know if the dosage was too high, or if it was something with the pill conflicting with my system, but that’s been my experience with it.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the pill itself; it just didn’t work for me.

[ETA: I don’t have migranes, so I can’t offer anything for that. Sorry.]

Hmmm, Yaz you say? I wonder if my insurance covers it yet? I’ll have to look into those you suggested. Thanks cms. :thumbsup:

Yeah, I usually have to fall asleep with an ice pack on my neck as I have lots of tension headaches and that I have found seems to help sometimes. Stress is a huge factor for me too. But that is quite hard to avoid in day to day life. :rollseyes:

Imitrex is usually my savior, and excedrin and ibuprofen and sudafed. :shock: I’m a bit of a druggy, but in a good way. :rofling: :rofling:

I do want to make everyone aware who doesn’t read labels that Regular Extra Strength Excedrin and Excedrin Migraine ARE THE SAME THING. They have the exact same drugs in both of them.

I only say this because my hubby is a HUGE label reader and he’s the one who actually pointed it out to me. They should both be the same price too.

I’ve used that “head on” stuff, and it’s pretty good, IF i catch the migraine right when it hits. If not, the 2-2-2 plan works for me… 2 vicodens, 2 hours, and 2 pillows, so I’m propped up, so I can sleep in an extremely cold room (with NO lights, NO sound).

Ugh, vicoden?? Really??? I have an unpleasant reaction to that drug. I had shoulder surgery a few years back and they tried giving it to me ON AN EMPTY STOMACH!! :shock: :shock: I was throwing up like you wouldn’t believe.

Idiots. :rollseyes:

I had to ask for some saltines. Isn’t that just common sense? That was a rough day, I would have killed for a migraine instead of that nonsense.

Oh, and my 3 yr old niece had her tonsils out last month and they gave her vicoden! :shock: Needless to say she did what I did, poor thing. :frowning: She is such a cutie. :smiley:

Sorry, getting off topic :oops:

Hilde, what does the “Head-on” stuff do?? I’ve never looked into that.

I get migranes monthly. Usually the week or a few days before my period. I’m 52 and STILL get them. The longest one lasted me four days. I just usually get a HORRIBLE headache. My vision is fine and light doesn’t bother me it just makes me feel very crabby. This month I only had the headache for one day so I got off easy this time. :happydance:

I’ve also had migraines off and on since I was about 16, and if it’s not a full blown migraine, I get really bad headaches. I’ve taken so many different bcp that I can’t even remember them all. After having my second child, my periods went from 3-4 days, to 14-16 days and excruciating cramps. I had been taking Ortho-Tricyclen before I got pregnant (actually, I was taking it AND I got pregnant), then she put me on Yasmin, which gave me constant “morning sickness” for the first 2 weeks of every pack, then she switched me to the patch (Ortho Evra, I think), which actually gave me migraines, then I tried 2 other different bcp’s which all took care of the long periods but made the headaches worse. Then she had me try Seasonale, which is 3 months of pills, then a week of placebo. I only have 4 periods a year, that last about 3 days each. I still get headaches, but they aren’t as bad, and I have almost no cramping. The bad thing is it is only covered at the highest of my prescription co-pay, which is $40 per month. Since the pack is actually a 3-month pack, I have to shell out $120 every 3 months. Totally worth it to me, though.

I would get migraines a few days before my period, but after I started taking the pill (Ortho Novum 1/35) again (for perimenopausal symptoms), I’d get a migraine every month on day 5 of the week off the pills. So, my doctor switched me to taking the pill continually. This was great…no periods & no headaches! At my last visit, however, he told me to take a week off every 3 months. I did, and hello migraine. He told me to just take 4 days off the pill every 3 months so that I won’t get the migraine. So, in a few months, I’ll see how that goes.

My mom used to get a migraine every month that laid her up in bed for about 3 days. She kept insisting to her doctor that it was related to her menstrual cycle, but they’d never listen to her! She started getting them in the 2nd grade and finally “outgrew” them when she went through menopause.

Not to go all alt-med on you here :wink: but have you ever considered magnet therapy? I don’t get migraines and I’d never heard of it – but my boss used to have awful migraines on a very regular basis until she (know this sounds very odd) started wearing a magnet on the small of her back. It’s a special one made for this purpose.

She absolutely swears by it, and has been migraine-free for several years now. Except if she spaces out and doesn’t wear it – if she goes a few days without it, she’ll get a migraine again.

Strange but true, but if I had migraines I’d definitely be trying it! :smiley:

I’m having similar trouble, but they’re not classified as “migraines” since I don’t have any light sensitivity- just intense pain. I also have intense cramps. I was doing OK on the new 13 week pill- seasonale, but my insurance wasn’t covering it and I was going broke. Tried a generic of a similar dosage and it’s definately not working- cramps and headaches are getting worse every week. Luckily-- I just found out my insurance started covering the Seasonale, so I have a call into my Dr to change back.
I also understand the painkiller side effects someone mentioned- Vicodin/Lortab makes me hallucinate and Percocet makes me very very dizzy- to the point that if I move, I get sick. Unfortunately- I found out the percocet side effects when I had my tonsils out. Ouch!

Good luck with the migraines-- sometimes it just takes time to find the right option- took me 12 years. Then I had to give up due to $$, but at least now I can get back since my insurance co. got smarter!!

I’m in the process of changing bcp.
Been on them for about a year and a couple of months.

Can’t give you a proper brand for them, because I’m with Kaiser and I think their stuff is generic. All I know is that they say Levlen 28.

Anyway. In my case, the pills gave me some extra tears at the beginning, then evened out and in the last three months, I think my body’s having really bad reactions to them. Specially when I get to the placebo pills. For lack of a better explanation, PMS has turned into a near psychotic breakdown.

I’m a clinical psychologist. I’ve worked with some really messed up cases in my time, but when I started acting like a couple of 'em I decided to go and find an alternative. Hopefully, I’ll get some answers on Tuesday.

As for Migraines, all the females in my family suffer from 'em, but no one does like my Mom. Her cure: tall glass with lots of ice. Pour freshly brewed strong coffee in it. Pop in two straws. Enjoy. :lol:

Somehow the shock of ice cold caffeine is enough to get her cells snap out of it.

I’m not speaking from any experience here (not having the migrane issue and using an IUD rather than bcp), but you might want to look into switching to one of the newer treatments that significantly reduce the number of periods you have per year. Seasonal is the pill that was mentioned above that has a 13 wk? cycle. I think there is another that is a yearly cycle, but that may be a shot or implant. :?? Theoretically if you don’t menstrate you shouldn’t get menstral migranes, right?

Good luck!

Thanks for all the suggestions. :smiley: I did however try skipping my placebo pills and just start another pack so I’d only have the period 4 times a yr, and aside from spotting pretty much the whole 3 packs, once I ended my 3 mo, I got my period (and the migraines) and then I started to have the endo pain again. Weird, huh?

I decided not to keep doing it, not cause of the bleeding, but because of the endo pain. I took 6 mo of shots to get rid of it and I don’t want to have to pay that again! :shock: Took quite a chunk out of my wallet.

I called my doc today, of course she’s out, and she’s going to call back tomorrow and I’m going to ask about the Mircette and the Yasmin. I checked on the Yaz with my ins. and the co-pay would be $50.00. I can’t swing that with my hubby’s diabetic supplies and my migraine supplies. :frowning:

Hopefully she’ll have a suggestion. My neurologist pretty much just throws up his hands with me and writes me a script for my Imitrex. They don’t really understand hormonal migraines. Its beyond them. I wonder if there is a specialist out there that handles these types of migraines???


Please don’t think you don’t have migraines just because you don’t have light sensitivity. That’s bunk. I don’t always have light sensitivity with every migraine. Most, but not all. Everyone’s symptoms are different. Mine are either on one side of my head or the back or sinus or an all over ache that just won’t go away until I pop that Imitrex.

Please find a doctor who will listen to you, they are out there, trust me, they are. They are just hiding really really good :lol: :lol:

Best of luck.

Here’s a link that I sometimes use, maybe it’ll help someone.

i finally registered for an account on this forum, if only to respond about migraines!

i’ve had those damn migraines for 12 years. i did the BCP for 10 years, and mircette was the last pill i took – in fact, i was prescribed that brand specifically because of its “step down” in hormones during the “off week.” sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. but my theory, after much research, was that hormone-sponsored migraines were a result of estrogen “crashing” that week you’re taking the blank pills. so mircette helped on that front. but it didn’t stop them entirely.

[and just a quick disclaimer: i’m a healthy gal, 30 years old, daily yoga practice, occasional wine/stout drinker, non-smoker, good sleeper, healthy eater, no meds of any kind, work from home, so generally stress free, etc. . .)

now, i’m pill-free (have been for 2 years), and i still get them every so often. i’m also an anomaly to my doctors because i have them “frequently;” that being 1-3 times per month. they usually last one day, plant themselves on the left side of my head and usually bring out icky fits of nausea and sensitivity to any and everything. i can generally tell about a day in advance of getting one. can’t explain it, but the impending doom is almost worse that the migraine itself. i’ve also had ocular migraines, which are weird, but not painful (for me).

some theories i’ve tested: low-fat diet, decrease in dairy around your cycle, sulfite-free wine, abstaining from chocolate around your cycle and taking a daily herbal supplement of feverfew (which takes several weeks to kick in, but is supposed to work wonderfully in the long term). strong, black coffee at the onset works more often than anything else. imitrex is awful for me, and it’s expensive. marijuana tea is supposed to work, according to my GYN, but i haven’t tried that yet.

hope this helps.

It seems to be that some of the ladies here are taking BCP’s that are causing headaches. Have you all considered other methods?

I am a huge promoter of Fertility Awareness Method (which uses basal body temperature, cervical fluid and cervical position to ascertain fertility). Some people refer to it as Natural Family Planning, and devout Catholics use it to avoid pregnancy. It is NOT the Rythym Method. FAM combines NFP with the use of condoms or a diaghragm, should you wish to use them. It can be used to achieve or avoid pregnancy and has about the same effectiveness as the Pill.

After reading the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Wechsler, I became really mad about how OB’s hand out BCP’s like they’re candy without educating women about their own bodies’ amazing fertility signs. With the use of a chart and an inexpensive basal body thermometer, you can figure out a TON of information about your body, INCLUDING charting headaches and seeing if there’s a correlation to your period, foods eaten or moods.

I agree with the book, which argues that the reason women aren’t educated about their bodies is in part because BCP companies aggressively target OB’s for their advertising, as well as women themselves. I mean, why teach women about a cheap, empowering, safe and effective method of birth control if you can make tons of money off them instead?

Seriously, guys, read this book, even if you’re a committed Pill/birth control user. Toni writes from a more feminist, though far from dogmatic, perspective. The pictures are FASCINATING, and the information is great to have. Those of you with daughters who are coming up on their teen years will find the whole period/pad/tampon discussion will take on a whole new meaning. It could end a ton of ignorance that seems to saturate teen girls’ knowledge about their bodies.

And if you’re wanting to achieve pregnancy, this book is simply incredible. I used it to get pregnant with my daughter, and the information worked the very first month! :smiley: For those who struggle with infertility, it cna be a great tool for your doctor to have before you begin Clomid or any other more aggressive treatment. Either way, you’re sure to learn tons about your body, and you’ll become the lady who everyone goes to for questions! :slight_smile:

If anyone has questions, you can PM me or simply ask openly here on the forum.

Knittingdoula, I get migraines when I am NOT taking BCPs. The pills keep me from getting migraines because they keep the hormone levels even all month. The changes in the hormone levels caused my headaches. This is why my doctor had me take the pills continually. BCPs are not only taken to be a method of birth control. I am using them for perimenopausal symptoms: night sweats, irrational mood swings, insomnia. I didn’t know that they would help with the migraines until I started taking them 5 years ago. What a Godsend! BTW, my doctor had me try a number of other things for my perimenopause symptoms before he gave me a prescription for the pill. None of them worked.

I have been on the pill for the last few months because of my endometriosis. I was actually off of bcp’s for a few yrs and my endo pain was sooo severe I had to do something about it, so we did Lupron shots for 6 months and that helped me so much.

So going off the bcp’s doesn’t seem like a good idea for me. I get rid of one pain for another. :?? Doesn’t make to much sense when I say it out loud though.

My doc called this morning and she said it was worth a try since everyone is different. She called in the Mircette. Wish me luck.