Period Side Effects: Migraines and Nausea

As if bleeding every month isn’t bad enough, our menstrual cycle comes with various side effects that can be a huge disruption to our daily lives. Apart from cramps, other commonly known and frequently experienced side effects are migraines/headaches and nausea.

Sometimes, even though you’ve had sufficient rest and have been eating normally, you might still get headaches or feel nauseous while on your period.

Menstrual/Migraine-induced Nausea

homer simpson

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Personally, I haven’t experienced period nausea until recently. I never understood how you could “feel like vomiting” and not need to vomit. The very first time I felt it, it got me feeling very perplexed. And let me tell you, MAN THE FEELING SUCKS.

When I felt period nausea for the first time, it took me a while to realise what was happening. It felt like there was an overproduction of saliva in my mouth which required me to swallow all the time. I also had this sinking feeling in my gut (of wanting to vomit), but it didn’t feel like there would be anything for me to regurgitate. I accidentally saw lizard poop and felt sick to the stomach; it was as though I had seen someone taking a dump in public. Yes, it was all very confusing for me until I figured that I was nauseous and the only possible explanation was that I was on my period.

The fluctuation in hormones may cause a woman to experience nausea. This typically occurs during the menstruating/bleeding part of the cycle. Menstrual nausea can also be caused by menstrual migraines or cramps.

 

Menstrual Migraines

menstrual migraine

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Women typically experience migraines and headaches more frequently than men, and this is usually caused by our hormonal fluctuations. These period-induced headaches can occur at any stage of your cycle: before, during, and after. Ultimately, it really depends on the individual’s body.

Headaches and migraines occur when the trigeminal nerve (a nerve responsible for sensation in the face and motor functions such as biting and chewing) is stimulated. This releases of a variety of neurotransmitters, which in turn causes the blood vessels that surround the brain to expand and dilate. These blood vessels are attached to nerve fibres and the pulsations will be transmitted back to the brain which is perceived as pain – this is how a headache and/or migraine occurs.

So what’s the difference between a regular headache, a migraine, and a menstrual migraine?

With a normal headache, once you drink enough water, get some rest or pop painkillers, it should go away. For the rest of the day, the headache will not come back to haunt you. On the other hand, (menstrual) migraines are a little more… clingy and sensitive.

Sleeping or taking painkillers won’t be able to ease your migraines. They’ll usually stick with you for an extended period of time, usually lasting throughout the day. You might be thinking, “Well apart from having a throbbing pain in the head, it isn’t that bad right?”

Nope, you are wrong.

Compared to headaches, you’d usually feel the throbbing pain of the migraine only on ONE side of your head, usually at the temple. This is a pain that would not go away with just some painkillers. Migraines can also make you more sensitive to external factors such as bright lights, loud noises or moving your head too quickly.

To make it worse, your migraines can also cause you to feel nauseous or even vomit.

 

Solutions

Okay, so I’m assuming that you’re reading this article because you’ve either 1. personally experienced it, or 2. wanted to know more about this.

Now that you know what menstrual migraines and nausea are, here are some solutions on how you can cure or prevent them.

remember to hydrate

Yes, hydrating and ensuring that your body has sufficient water is important!

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Nausea Treatments and Solutions

Medicated

Menstrual nausea may be caused by the overproduction of acid in the stomach. Going to the doctors may get you prescription medication that will have to be consumed prior or during your period, depending on the type of medication.

Non-medicated

Ginger is one of the best remedies to deal with menstrual nausea in any form. This includes ginger tea or ginger candy. Try to bring around the one that’s more effective for you to have when you feel nauseous! Another herb that can help you out is mint, which you can easily take in mint teas.

Migraine Treatments and Solutions

Medicated

The most common treatment method is to visit the doctors for a prescription. Usually, anti-inflammatory painkillers are prescribed and it can be taken a few days before or during your period. These painkillers are also used to treat period cramps and heavy periods (menorrhagia).

As migraines can be caused by hormonal fluctuations in a female’s body, hormonal therapy may also be another form of medication. Oestrogen or progesterone medication may be prescribed to help level and balance out your hormones.

Medicated methods are often referred to as preventive treatment methods.

Non-medicated

Watching your diet and the food you consume may also help to prevent a fluctuating hormonal system. Generally, MSG, processed food, and refined sugars are food ingredients that disrupt your hormonal balance. Sometimes, a particular food may be the trigger to your menstrual migraines. If possible, track your food to help identify the food that triggers your migraine and this may prove helpful in the long run.

Getting sufficient and quality sleep is important as it allows your body to get its required rest and recovery.

Sometimes, stress may be amplified and as a result, trigger your menstrual migraines. Doing stretches and/or relaxation exercises (especially for the neck area) may help to relax your body and mind to lower stress levels. It also helps to increase your body’s blood circulation, which can relieve tension and open your blood vessels, directly helping to reduce the migraine.

For some people, exercising may prove effective as a menstrual migraine solution. Not only does it improve blood circulation, it promotes hormonal balance and reduces stress! (Note that for some, exercising may be a migraine trigger.)

Heat therapy is an effective way to help loosen your tensed muscles and promote blood circulation. This means taking a shower with warm water will help reduce your migraine! But of course, you can’t stay in the shower forever, right? One of our products, NeckHeat, will be able to provide heat to your neck and shoulders throughout the day, hence providing you with the much needed warmth and comfort for you to function even when you’ve got a migraine! (If you’re a frequent sufferer of a menstrual migraine, use our bi-monthly subscription purchase to ensure that you’ll always be stocked up with NeckHeat!)

 

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Tricia Tay

Tricia is an introverted extrovert; an introvert most of the time but an extrovert when she likes you. She is also a teh peng fanatic with a love for the red half of Manchester.

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