Skipping periods with BCP to avoid/lessen menstrual migraines - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 08-23-2010, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi mamas,

I've been dealing with MASSIVE migraines since my period returned PP after DD's birth. Prior to DD, I had migraines but they were never this severe. I'm currently seeing a migraine specialist and have been charting when my migraines occur, along with amount of sleep, exercise, food intake, severity of pain and medication taken.

It's been pointed out to be that one of the types of migraines I have is menstrual, as in related to my cycle. When my period resumed PP, I wasn't on any BCP, but I had been from 16 to 30 to help with painful cycles, migraines and ovarian cysts. I got back on BCP and it seems to lessen the impact of my cycle but I *still* get migraines. If I don't catch the migraine on time and take medication (right now using Zomig which doesn't work!), I end up with a migraine that lasts almost 7 days. It's horrible

I've been reading up on skipping periods using BCP like Seasonique and was wondering if anyone has done this? I've also heard that some people take their regular BCP without stopping for 3 months and then have 1 week break...Anyone try that?

I've tried progesterone only BCP (Micronor) and it has severe effects on my mood, so Mirena is out.

FTR, I don't really care about spotting. I just want less migraines. They are totally impairing my ability to function and work.
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#2 of 13 Old 08-23-2010, 02:02 PM
 
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If you are already taking BCP anyway, I would talk to your doctor about trying Seasonale or Seasonique. If it keeps you from having a period and you are able to avoid 7-day migraines with it, I think it would be well worth it.

Good luck. I hope you find some helpful answers and feel better soon.

I am a 40 year old unschooling, belly dancing, artist-mama of one almost 8 year old. I just had brain surgery and blogging.jpg about it a bit because it's just so surreal.
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#3 of 13 Old 08-24-2010, 12:04 PM
 
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Hugs to you, mama! BTDT with the menstrual migraines -- no fun! Here's a GREAT article that may be of help -- Menstrual migraines and other hormonal headaches Women to Women has as lots of natural health advice and tips for preventing headaches by rebalancing hormones (what's causing the headaches). HTH! Sending pain-free vibes your way!
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#4 of 13 Old 08-24-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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You can skip periods with any BCP -- I did for years. Just skip the placebo dose and start right up on the next month's pills. I took a break every 3 or 4 months, whenever it was convenient. You can go longer in between periods, but I spotted if I went longer. Talk to your healthcare provider, but I'm sure they will say to go for it.

I used to have to take narcotics to get through migraines, so I totally feel for you. Not sure how old you are, but I can offer this hope: my migraines diminished through my thirties and now, in my forties, are completely gone. Definitely hormonal!
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#5 of 13 Old 08-24-2010, 12:55 PM
 
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I had hormonal migraines postpartum after both kids, getting pretty bad after my daughter - with my son I'd just have them once a month when I ovulated, but with my daughter I was having them 3 or 4 times a month. I went on a low dose of Inderal (well, propranolol) for hypertension and they completely disappeared (it has a secondary use for migraine prevention). I know MDC might not be the best place to advocate this, but holy CRAP it changed my life , and I have had zero side effects from it.

Just thought I'd throw that out there in case natural cures don't help.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#6 of 13 Old 08-24-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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Fellow migraine sufferer here. I've suffered from them since childhood and have tried several things. Skipping periods with hormonal birth control pills would not be my first choice because your body is already whacky after having a baby and breastfeeding. I've heard that it takes 6 months after you stop breastfeeding for your hormones to get back to normal. So I would at least give your body a break without adding more hormones in the mix right now. I was on BCP for 15 years straight and I will never go back on them. I'm more full of life and energetic without them. I have to agree with the pp that suggested a blood pressure med to control the migraines. That has worked the best for me over the years as well. I was on verapamil for a while in my early 20s and it worked great. I eventually stopped and then just used Imitrex as needed until just recently. I'm back on a BP pill after having an increased number of migraines over the last 8 months after the birth of my 3rd child. Its working wonderfully again and without the side effects of BCP! HTH
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#7 of 13 Old 08-24-2010, 03:18 PM
 
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Yes, I didn't want to go on hormonal BCP either, again. So glad to have found the BP meds worked well for me.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#8 of 13 Old 08-24-2010, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm, thanks for all the great input mamas. It seems everyone's experience is so different where migraines are concerned.

FTR, I'm 33, and DD weaned at 20 months. She's now 25 months, so I guess I still have a ways to go before my hormones regulate again. I started back on a BCP just recently because my menstrual cycles were totally wrecking me. I'd be either at home, in the dark, in pain or at work about to fall over sitting in my chair. The pill I'm on now (Tricyclen) has stabilized things a bit, but then there's a dreaded 7 days of no hormones that always gets me.

I just went to see the migraine specialist today and he was floored at how many migraines I've been having.

He gave me Maxalt for the crisis days + Flexeril (muscle relaxant) on a daily basis. Apparently, I'm stressed No kidding doc.

He says I'm having three different kinds of headaches:
1) menstrual (which are bilateral and linked to my cycle)
2) stress related "pressure" headaches
3) traditional migraines (which are only on one side and totally incapacitate me).

He didn't seem very positive about the idea of menstrual suppresion being the only relief for my migraines, though he still wants me to see a gyno to discuss taking BCP on an extended regiment (or to take Seasonique or get a Mirena).

Re the blood pressure meds...I don't have blood pressure problems. Can I still get that drug prescribed if my bp is fine? Seems counter-intuitive, but I'm no expert.

Thanks again though for your input. I really appreciate it!
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#9 of 13 Old 08-24-2010, 11:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halfasianmomma View Post
Re the blood pressure meds...I don't have blood pressure problems. Can I still get that drug prescribed if my bp is fine? Seems counter-intuitive, but I'm no expert.
Absolutely you can get BP meds for migraines even if you do not have BP problems. The reasoning behind why BP meds work has something to do with regulating your BP to the point that there are no spikes throughout the day that may trigger a migraine. I was in the same boat years ago with the tension headaches that required a muscle relaxant and traditional migraines caused by the tension. BP meds brought me relief from that awful cycle. There's also an anti-seizure med that you can try too called Topamax. It worked for me but I didn't like the tingly sensation that it gave me in my legs and fingers when I would forget a dose. Oh and I almost forgot that I see a chiropractor which helps as well with controlling my migraines!!! Do you have a chiro? If not, give that a shot as well! It may not help with the hormonal migraines but the other headaches and migraines might be helped with regular treatment. HTH
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#10 of 13 Old 08-24-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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Mine are hormonal, and the BP meds work like a charm.

From Mayo.com (which if you're seeing an MD, would be a tremendously mainstream source for them to refer to )

Quote:
Cardiovascular drugs. Beta blockers — commonly used to treat high blood pressure and coronary artery disease — can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. These drugs are considered among first-line treatment agents. Calcium channel blockers, another class of cardiovascular drugs, especially verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), also may be helpful in preventing migraines and relieving symptoms from aura. In addition, the antihypertensive medications lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) and candesartan (Atacand) are useful in reducing the length and severity of migraines. Researchers don't understand exactly why all of these cardiovascular drugs prevent migraines. Side effects can include dizziness, drowsiness or lightheadedness.
I'm on propranolol/Inderal. Honestly, I feel better about taking a beta-blocker than a hormonal pill.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#11 of 13 Old 08-25-2010, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do the beta-blockers have effects on your moods? That would be my primary concern.

Yes, I'm seeing a chiro regularly since I have scoliosis and have had 3 accidents involving damage to my cervical vertebrae. He wants me to a) get orthodics since one of my legs is shorter than another and b) get a different pillow. I get regular adjustments every week or so.

I was seeing an acupuncturist, but my insurance doesn't cover it so it got too expensive.

I'm seeing my migraine specialist again in 3 weeks. He refuses to do anything until then. I'll mention the anti-seizure and BP meds to him at that point and see what he thinks.

Until then, I'm crossing my fingers that I don't have another migraine attack.
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#12 of 13 Old 08-25-2010, 05:50 PM
 
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I haven't had any mood effects, personally.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#13 of 13 Old 08-26-2010, 06:58 AM
 
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I had migraines with my period. I tried bc for one cycle and it made them WORSE! My fam Dr strongly suggested I had too much estrogen so adding BC was putting more fuel on the fire. She had me take 50mg progesterone (pill form) from ovulation to period. That helped a lot. I have other issues now and can't take hormones anymore. I do feel my migraines coming back but that's a whole 'nother story! Just wanted to say if your migraines are hormonal more estrogen may make them worse. Sorry you are dealing with this. I know how horrible they are.

momma to 4!
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