Managing Migraine and That Time of the Month

Having my period always came with severe migraines, a fact that still holds true as I enter a new season in my life. My doctor explained that hormonal changes during this time are the cause. It felt unfair, considering the other symptoms I had to deal with. After more than 25 years, I've learned to work through PMS, or as I like to call it, M for migraine.

Managing Migraine Headaches

If I could go back and give advice to my younger self, I would say not to be surprised by the arrival of my period. I used to be caught off guard every time, despite my attempts to track it. Now, I use apps to help me keep track, and my husband even gently reminds me when it might be on its way. I hate when he's right, but it does help snap me back into reality.

I've also learned to be gentle with myself during this time. My grandmother told me about how women used to take it easy during their cycles, and I thought it was old-fashioned at the time. However, I have found that being kind to myself in the days leading up to my period reduces the intensity and duration of my migraines. This could mean taking a warm bath, getting a massage, going for an easy walk, or treating myself to a small bowl of ice cream.

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Stress is a trigger for my migraines, so I make sure to cut it out as much as possible. If I have a particularly stressful workday, I might reschedule meetings or clear my schedule entirely during PMS migraine moments. I also avoid certain people who tend to exacerbate my emotions. Instead of watching intense shows or doing taxing tasks, I opt for comedies and fun household projects.

My body deserves top-of-the-line fuel, so I've made adjustments to my diet. Indulging in chocolate or salty snacks before my period used to make me feel good temporarily, but ultimately left me feeling worse. I've found healthier alternatives, like almonds covered in dark chocolate or a handful of nuts, to satisfy my cravings. I'm always on the lookout for yummy recipes that nourish my body.

I've also discovered the benefits of taking magnesium supplements. Adding a little powder to my water before bed helps with my migraines, as magnesium deficiency is common. It also has a calming effect and improves my sleep, which is helpful when I feel like snapping at someone due to PMS.

Instead of dreading my periods because of the migraines, I now see them as a reminder to extend grace to myself and others. Until they end for good, I'll appreciate the fact that at least I don't get cramps.