Cycle headache: the main causes and solutions to prevent and fight it

How many times have we been surprised by annoying headaches close to the menstrual cycle? Rather severe and disabling migraines accompanied by nausea and other unpleasant symptoms. Well yes, unfortunately the "cycle" headache is a reality that involves a very large part of the female population, often unable to find remedies and solutions to counter or prevent it.

It is a consolidated fact, and also supported by clinical experience, that women suffer more from headaches than men, and one of the reasons is precisely connected to the symptoms of the menstrual cycle. We decided to specifically address the causes and solutions of this typically female malaise, to learn to know it and manage it in the best possible way, limiting its impact in everyday life as much as possible.

Yes, because for millions of women this monthly appointment is synonymous with annoying and sometimes debilitating ailments that occur in the earlier stages and during the cycle. And in the context of menstrual pain, it is precisely the headache that emerges with the greatest incidence: 3.7 million women suffer from it, especially in the age group between 25 and 34 years (40%) against 23% of the 35-44 range and 25% of the 45-54 range.

A malaise that can occur as the only symptom (23% of cases) or accompanied by stomach pain (35%) or by stomach and back pain together (29%), by nausea and other symptoms (13%) ). The cycle headache is characterized by a pain that can become particularly acute and disabling, significantly affecting the quality of life, and after all, migraine already in its most common form, is among the top ten causes of disability according to the ranking. drafted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and recognized by the World Health Organization.

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But why does a natural physiological event like the menstrual cycle bring this disorder with it? "The answer is a hormonal question. The decrease in estrogen levels that occurs before and during the perimtrual period is the primary cause of the onset of headache", Explains Prof. Gennaro Bussone, Primary Emeritus Neurological Institute C. Besta of Milan and Honorary President of ANIRCEF, who continues:"It is a disorder that can also manifest itself in a very intense way, with the ability to significantly influence the daily routine and lifestyle. It can also negatively affect work, leading to a loss of productivity and a worsening of one's professional performance as it also affects mood and concentration ".

Asthenia, depression, difficulty concentrating, irritability and mood variability are in fact additional symptoms that can occur with cycle headaches. But what to do in the face of these complex symptoms and the blatant headache? There are solutions and precautions that allow women to face the days of the cycle and precycle with more serenity and to live the daily life of this period with greater tranquility. "The physiological hormonal imbalance linked to the menstrual cycle is the cause of an inflammatory process which in turn causes headaches and period pains", says the professor, who continues: "Headaches cannot be avoided, but we can - and must - intervene with prompt treatment from the very first symptoms, to prevent it from triggering in stronger and more painful attacks. The cycle headache it varies in intensity and duration from woman to woman, but there is an "emergency response" and it is good to use it. The attack treatment with an anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen sodium salt, in sachets to be dissolved in water, is very effective because it is more easily absorbable and, therefore, endowed with a faster and more lasting analgesic action, against painful symptoms. "

And to help the body deal with hormonal imbalance and its consequences, it is always good to adopt a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet. Here are some suggestions:

  • Avoid smoking, alcohol, coffee and other stimulants both before and during your menstrual cycle
  • Adopt a diet rich in fluids, fruits and vegetables, eating foods rich in iron, vitamin B6 and magnesium
  • Practicing yoga, gentle physical activity, relaxation exercises and taking long walks help relieve stress, which is responsible for headaches

Would you like to find out what are the friendly foods, useful for relieving annoying symptoms such as headaches during the pre-menstrual period?

For more useful information on cycle headaches, you can visit the website of Dr. Alessandra Graziottin, Director of the Center for Gynecology and Medical Sexology, H. San Raffaele Resnati, Milan.