Headaches and Periods: What's the Connection?

Do you find yourself having headaches before or during your periods? Are these headaches usually accompanied by irritability or mood swings? Then these headaches may be a part of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS).

A large majority of women experience some type of headache during their periods. Let’s explore these different types of headaches, why they happen, and what you can do to combat them!

What are the Different Types of Headaches?

  1. Tension-Type Headaches 

This type of headache is usually brought on by stress and is categorized by pain felt on both sides of the head. 

  1. Hormonal Headaches 

These are some of the most common types of headaches women experience on their periods. As is suggested in the name, these are headaches that are brought on because of the hormone fluctuations caused by your period. This type of headache is, thus, usually accompanied by other PMS symptoms like fatigue and mood swings.  

  1. Menstrual Migraines 

Migraines are very different from headaches for a variety of reasons. Some of the most defining features of a migraine include the fact that the pain is concentrated on one side of the head/ behind your eye. Furthermore, the headache is often paired with an increased sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises, and in some cases, even nausea and vomiting. Knowing these signs of a migraine, as opposed to a headache, can help you recognize it and treat it accordingly!

Why do these headaches happen? 

As you might have guessed, as is the case with most period symptoms, hormones have a role to play in these headaches you might be getting. Fluctuations in hormones like estrogen and progesterone have been found to be the key reason for period-related headaches.

As you might know, the sex hormones in your body (i.e. estrogen etc.) fluctuate on the basis of where you are in your menstrual cycle. They surge when you are midway through, which prompts the release of an egg by the ovaries, and then drop to their lowest right before your period. This decline in hormones is cited to be one of the main causes for period-related headaches.

How can you tackle these headaches? 

You can use a variety of home remedies or over-the-counter medication to combat these headaches. Some options include:

  1. Using an ice pack against your head might help in soothing the pain
  2. Using commonly available pain relievers
  3. Massaging the area that is hurting can also relieve the pain
  4. Practicing meditation and relaxation techniques
  5. Limiting the salt in your diet as that can worsen the pain at times

If the pain gets unmanageable or interrupts with your day-to-day activities, it would be a good idea to see your doctor. They can further diagnose if there is an underlying issue at play or help you alleviate the pain with prescription medication.


What are some of the ways you manage your period headaches? Tell us in the comments below!

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