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Is it Common to Get Migraines Before Your Period?

I get migraines a few days before my period starts. Is it common to have migraines as part of PMS?
– Alaire*

Yes. Lots of women who have migraines get them as part of their PMS symptoms. Doctors believe that changing hormone levels are to blame for this type of headache, which is known as a menstrual migraine.

Take some steps to try to stop these headaches so you feel better. You could start by taking an over-the-counter medicine like ibuprofen to see if that works. If you often get headaches near your period, try taking the medicine for a few days around that time, even if your headaches haven't started yet. Doing this might help you avoid getting a headache. Getting enough sleep, not skipping meals, exercising regularly, and managing stress are other ways to help prevent headaches.

If a headache does come on, sometimes a cool cloth or ice pack wrapped in a towel can help. You can also try lying down in a quiet, dark room.

If these things don't work for you, or if your headaches are severe enough that you miss school or other activities, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend a prescription medicine or refer you to a headache expert.

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date Reviewed: 01-06-2017

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