Nearly 60 percent of women with chronic migraines experience migraines during their menstrual period, called a menstrual migraine â€” yet most of them do not seek treatment. Although theses types of headaches may not always be as chronic, it can still increase a woman’s risk for a stroke, making treatment vitally important â€” and potentially life saving.
Good news, however: There are several treatments currently available to women suffering from these excruciating headaches. Some may lessen or stop the pain of migraines, whereas others can help women deal with its nauseating or dizzying effects.
So which treatments work for menstrual migraines â€” and are they effective?
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Treatments(NSAIDs)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, a class of drugs that includes ibuprofen, naproxen and ketoprofen, are the most common drugs prescribed to women suffering from mild to moderate menstrual migraine pain. Doctors who commonly prescribe NSAIDs usually opt for ibuprofen, due to its easy availability and affordability. NSAIDs are generally the best treatment for mild to moderate pain.
Their efficacy is limited, however, and only helps lessen pain when taken right before or as an attack is beginning to cause pain. Still, their wide availability and cost â€” one bottle rarely goes for more than $6.00 â€” makes NSAIDs the most convenient treatment for women suffering from this condition.
Acetaminophen Combination Treatments
Acetaminophen combinations are also over-the-counter treatments that can also reduce migraine pain. These combination drugs tend to be quicker and more effective than NSAIDs. The most common type of acetaminophen combination is acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine â€” many people know this as Excedrin. Although these class of treatments will not be as effective as prescription medications, it can help pre-menstrual women cope with their pain without having to visit a doctor.
Narcotic Pain Drug Treatments
Narcotic pain medications are very effective for relieving severe pain, making it a good choice for women suffering from menstrual migraines. Generally, these medications are reserved for the most severe types of pain because of its potentially addictive nature. It also carries the risk of certain side effects that can exacerbate the intensity of migraines, such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Consider this a last resort treatment.
Verdict: Acetaminophen combinations and NSAIDs are the most effective medicated treatments for mild to moderate menstrual migraine pain. If you suffer from severe menstrual migraines, however, you may need prescription medications, such as narcotic drugs, to deal with your pain.