Menstrual migraine.J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 1999 Sep; 8(7):919-31.JW
Migraine in women is influenced by hormonal changes throughout the life cycle: menarche, menstruation, oral contraceptive use, pregnancy, menopause, and hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). Based on clinical experience, the frequency of menstrual migraine has been reported to be as high as 60%-70%. Most women have increased headache and migraine attacks (usually without aura) at the time of menses. Attacks occurring only with menstruation, even if infrequent, are called true menstrual migraine. Attacks occurring both at menstruation and at other times of the month could be called "menstrually triggered migraine." Menstrual migraine occurs at the time of the greatest fluctuation in estrogen levels. Estrogen withdrawal is probably the trigger for migraine attacks in susceptible women. Drugs that are proven effective or commonly used for the acute treatment of menstrual migraine include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), dihydroergotamine, the triptans, and the combination of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine. The goal of standard continuous preventive therapy is to reduce the frequency, duration, and intensity of attacks. Preventive therapy may eliminate all headaches except those associated with menses. Women already using prophylactic medication who continue to have menstrual migraine can increase the dose of their medication prior to their menses. Women who do not use preventive medicine or have migraine exclusively with their menses can be treated perimenstrually with short-term prophylaxis. If severe menstrual migraine cannot be controlled by acute and preventive treatment, hormonal therapy may be indicated.