“I’ve been prescribed the progesterone-only pill Cerazette. I used to get migraine every month like clockwork, however I’m feeling great on this pill and am hoping it will be life-changing. No migraines at all since being on it.”
- A MyMigraineTeam member
“I tried every birth control pill my OB/GYN could throw at me for a while, but all of them made my migraines much worse.”
- A MyMigraineTeam member
According to the National Headache Foundation, 60 percent of women with migraine suffer from menstrual migraines – migraines that occur just before, during, or after menstrual periods, or during ovulation. During these times, fluctuating levels of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can trigger migraines.
For some female members on MyMigraineTeam, hormonal treatments such as birth control pills or intrauterine devices (IUDs) keep hormone levels regular throughout the month, reducing the number of migraines. For still others, hormonal birth control doesn’t seem to impact migraines at all.
Other members have the opposite effect, with hormonal treatments apparently triggering more migraines. Individual women may react differently depending on which hormones (estrogen, progesterone, or both) are present in the treatment. One member said, “I was on Sprintec oral birth control for several months to control the episodes, but it turns out that it has estrogen in it, and has been giving me migraines every evening for four months.”
In one conversation on MyMigraineTeam, women report a wide variety of experiences. One member asked for advice on birth control options, stating, “My doctor thinks taking something hormonal will worsen my migraines.” Another member replied, saying, “We decided to go for the Depro-Provera shot because it only has one kind of hormone in it. Well, low and behold, my migraines were cut in half. I've been on it for three years now and I love it.” One member responded that every pill she tried made her migraines worse, while two others said they saw no change in migraines with the Mirena and Liletta IUDs.
For women taking birth control pills, their doctor may recommend skipping the placebo (inactive) pills that allow menstruation to occur. As one member wrote, “Most of my migraines were around my period, so I talked about it with my [OB/GYN] and he changed my pills to have me take all active pills for three cycles straight. It has been SO awesome not having those migraines every month!”
Women who experience menstrual migraines that do not respond to other medications may be curious to try hormonal treatments. Trying hormonal treatment is a complex decision since people respond very differently. “I'd say give it a try since you don't know for certain whether or not it will worsen the migraine,” reasoned one member. “Everyone is different and reacts to different substances in different ways.”
Here are a few conversations about hormone treatment and migraines:
Here are a few question-and-answer threads about hormones and migraine:
Have you tried hormonal treatment for your migraines? What was your experience? Share in the comments below or post on MyMigraineTeam.