Menstruation-Related Headaches

What Causes Headaches During Period?

Headaches during period can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose headaches during period, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "headaches during period" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Low Estrogens
  • Low Female Testosterone
  • Magnesium Need
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Food Allergies
  • Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences
  • Vitamin A Toxicity
  • Lupus (SLE)

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
occasional rotten egg burps
caffeinated soft drink consumption
unusual vaginal bleeding
severe facial burning/tingling
sinusitis
male characteristics
sexual abuse during childhood
frequent stools
history of non-vaginal candidiasis
breast soreness during cycle
constant fatigue
high alcohol consumption
... and more than 150 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of headaches during period:
Cause Probability Status
Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences 91% Confirm
Magnesium Need 21% Unlikely
Low Estrogens 16% Unlikely
Low Female Testosterone 4% Ruled out
Food Allergies 4% Ruled out
Adrenal Fatigue 4% Ruled out
Vitamin A Toxicity 4% Ruled out
Lupus (SLE) 3% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate chronic headaches, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you regularly have headaches that occur in association with your menstrual cycle?
Possible responses:
→ Not Applicable / don't know
→ No
→ Only before menstruation begins
→ Only during menstruation
→ Both before and during menstruation
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no menstruation-related headaches, premenstrual headaches or menstrual headaches, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Migraine/Tension Headaches

Up to 25% of women have migraine during their reproductive years, with an average prevalence of 16% (11% without aura and 5% with aura).  In 60-70% of cases in women, the headaches are related to the menstrual cycle.  Attacks that occur exclusively with menses, called "true menstrual migraine", affect about 14% of sufferers.  Some researchers have suggested that migraines occurring on a regular basis between days -2 and +3 of the menstrual cycle be considered menstrual migraines; premenstrual migraines occurring between days -7 to -3.

Aspartame/Neotame Side-Effects

Double-blind studies have demonstrated that aspartame causes headaches.  [Headache 1988:28(1) pp.10-14, Biological Psychiatry 1993:34(1) pp.13-17, Neurology 1994:44 pp.1787-93.]

Environmental Illness / MCS

Central nervous system dysfunction is common, resulting in headaches, chronic fatigue, poor short term memory, hyperactivity, and increased appetite leading to food cravings and overeating.

Estrogens Low

Women must first be exposed to elevated estrogen levels before low estrogen levels will trigger headache activity.  Constant low levels of estrogen, as in menopause, are less likely to be associated with increased headache pattern.

Liver Detoxification / Support Requirement

A 'sluggish liver' often contributes to headaches.

Low Melatonin Level

Migraines sufferers often are found to have reduced blood levels of melatonin.

Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

Vascular or migraine headaches occur in 10% of lupus patients.

Magnesium Requirement

Migraines sufferers often are found to have reduced blood levels of magnesium.

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