continuous birth control pills - do they help menstrual migraines or not?

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continuous birth control pills - do they help menstrual migraines or not?

Post  melody27888 on Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:28 pm

Apologies if this has been asked before, but I couldn't find much by doing a search.

I am 100% positive that the majority of my migraines are hormone-related. Though I get migraines at all times of the month, the worse ones are around my period (just before, during, and after) when I guess my hormones levels are fluctuating. I also suspect that I get them around ovulation too. So in other words, there's only a handful of "good weeks" I have during a cycle.

My question is this. Has anyone had any success with continuous birth control pills? I feel like if I could just STOP my period, then maybe these horrible menstrual migraines would go away.

I'm not very hopeful about this, but I thought I'd ask to find out if it has worked for anyone. I'm so desperate that at this point, I'll try anything. Don't even know if my doctor would okay it or not, but I'd like to at least research it first. I do know that BC pills CAN make migraines worse, and for that reason, I have never used them. But if you take them continuously and don't have a period, could it help?

Thanks.

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birth control pills...migraines!

Post  4everdoll on Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:06 pm

My headaches started when I started on birth control pills. However, it was so many years ago that the doctors couldn't put together any kind of cycle for me that would help the migraines. All I know is that the migraines started with the birth control pills, and have continued on many years, including with a hysterectomy in l981. The doctors have felt that they are hormone related h/aches, even after the hysterectomy, and they tried many hormones to try to help the migraines, but nothing has ever helped. I am 45 years in with these migraines, and to date, the only thing that has given me any kind of relief is botox. I have already had one round of botox, and am scheduled for the second round next week, and I am looking forward to it very much, as I did get some good relief. I do hope you have a great doctor that will be able to help you with the hormone problem.

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Re: continuous birth control pills - do they help menstrual migraines or not?

Post  Seaine on Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:49 pm

Doctors have told me that birth control pills are bad for migraines. I don't know if this is true; I take birth control pills to avoid ovarian cysts so I don't really have much choice.

That being said, yes, continuous pills stopped my mentstrual migraines. They were noticeably worse and didn't respond to medications well, unlike my non-menstrual migraines.

I recommend that you first try the mini pills. They contain no synthetic estrogen, which is what I believe doctors think the culprit is in causing migraines. They contain progesterone only. They are continuous by nature, and you would not have to do anything special to change the prescription. You take one everyday of the month anyways. You may or may not have your period, but either way you shouldn't have the sudden drop in estrogen like the regular pills would give you on the week off. I personally only have about one period every 3 months on them, and don't have any menstrual migraines occurring with that.

I would like to note that many birth control pills contain synthetic food coloring, which gives me migraines even worse than menstrual migraines. I take Nora-BE, which does not contain any food coloring. That's the only brand of mini-pill in the US which does not contain synthetic food coloring.
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Re: continuous birth control pills - do they help menstrual migraines or not?

Post  migrainingmama on Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:29 am

Mine are not hormone related, but someone I used to work with had bad hormone related migraines. Her neuro had her on a pill that had her having periods only every three months. It helped her a lot! It is worth a try!

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Re: continuous birth control pills - do they help menstrual migraines or not?

Post  melody27888 on Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:14 pm

Thanks for the info everyone Smile It's encouraging to see that it may help some. Of course I know it's not a guarantee, but if it would help, it's definitely worth a try. I'm still going to research this a bit before deciding if this is something I want to pursue. I go back to my doctor in about three months and I'll run it by her and see what she thinks and if it should be our next course of action.

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Re: continuous birth control pills - do they help menstrual migraines or not?

Post  Migrainegirl on Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:13 pm

I've been told to use natural bio identical hormones only.  Artificial hormones create the problem.
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migraine and continuos birth control pill

Post  momof2inpa on Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:53 am

I get menstrual migraines and have taken the pill continuously for 10 years now (give myself a period 3 times a year) and it has been wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!! I just turned 45, however, and now my gyn is saying that I soon will need to consider other options and I'm in panic mode b/c the thought of suffering and starting a whole new pain maintenance routine is terrifying. Right now, the only real triggers for me are foods (bacon, hot dogs, too much caffeine) and smells (perfume and cigars)which I can keep under control. I wish you luck and hope you find relief and peace with whatever you do!
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Re: continuous birth control pills - do they help menstrual migraines or not?

Post  WitsEnd on Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:33 pm

I've recently been given pretty strong reason to believe these type of pills have been causing my migraines.

I'll try and keep this brief...

I recall having one childhood migraine, maybe there were more that I just don't remember.

2001 I start taking the combined pill and the monster migraines start almost instantly. Got in contact with my GP who said it was almost certainly the pill so I came off it. Some time later (I forget how long) I start taking the mini pill. At some point the migraines creeped back in but it must have been a while after I begun taking them for me to not make the connection.

2012 I stopped taking the pill and the migraines tail off completely. I got pregnant in 2013 and had one migraines throughout the 38 weeks I was pregnant. And I know what caused it, and it was my own stupidity!

The start of this year my baby was born. I was warned by my GP that the migraines would likely creep back in but I went through 4 of the worst sleep deprived weeks of my life, migraine free. Completely headache free, even!! GP suggests I should go back on the pill. 2 weeks after I started taking it and bang, my head is in a complete shambles. I had several migraines in one week and one of the worst migraine days I've had in my life.

I sought advice on here and from my health centre and decided to stop taking the pill again (with my partners knowledge!). Migraine have vanished again. I haven't even have so much as a headache!

I don't know where I'm going to go from here, but I certainly am not EVER taking the pill again.

I don't mean to put you off, as we are all different, just wanted to tell you my experience. Good luck  Smile 
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Re: continuous birth control pills - do they help menstrual migraines or not?

Post  melody27888 on Sat Apr 26, 2014 3:41 am

@WitsEnd: Thanks for letting me know about your experience with the pill. This is exactly the reason that I'm on the fence about it. I see it as a gamble...it'll either work, or it won't, and could possibly make worse. I still don't know if I'm going to try it or not. There's the possibly that I won't be able to anyway because I've had some issues with my blood pressure being slightly high in the past (I think due to my PCOS which I also have) though it is normal now. I'll have to discuss with my doctor in June.

All I know is that when my periods were irregular, so were my migraines. But as soon as I was regular again, my migraines were pretty regular too. Ugh! I'm so desperate to find a solution to stop the ones triggered by my cycle. They're always the worst migraines I get. Sad

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Re: continuous birth control pills - do they help menstrual migraines or not?

Post  Sara79 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:12 am

@ melody27888 - I'm a PCOSer too, and have been on many forms of hormonal birth control over the years. Before I was diagnosed, I used Depo Provera. At that time it wasn't an issue for me, but when I got my diagnosis, they wanted me on a non-hormonal BC. We compromised on the Mirena, since it wasn't systemic hormones. That's when I first started having larger, much more painful cysts for the first time. I had the mirena removed, and now take Alesse like you would normally take seasonique (the one where you only have 3-4 periods a year).


For me it's the drop in my hormones that causes the migraines, not the pill itself. I do try to plan my week on the placebo pills for a week when I'm not scheduled a bunch of days in a row. Since I work in the healthcare feild, I can plan to work most of my shifts right after I stop the active pills, and before the drop in hormones give me trouble.

If you were regular, which most of us cysters aren't, you could prepare, and take something like frova as a preventative, it works really well for that, and I've used it that way when I know the hormone drop is coming.

Feel free to catch me if you've got any other questions. If I don't know the answer, there's a great forum full of PCOS related advice. soulcysters.net

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