The throbbing headache which some women complain of, during the monthly menstrual cycle is referred to as menstrual migraine. The medical term for menstrual migraine is catamenial migraine. Catamenial migraine or menstrual migraine, which affects as many as sixty percent of all women, in actuality encompasses two specific types of migraine, namely true menstrual migraine and menstrually triggered migraine.
Women with true or pure menstrual migraine only experience debilitating migraine headaches when they discharge menstrual blood. On the other hand women having menstrually triggered migraine headaches, experience a spurt in migraine related headaches during the actual menstrual cycle and in the period leading up to the monthly menstrual cycle.
Menstrual Migraine Symptoms
While the symptoms of menstrual migraine are to a large extent similar to the symptoms of regular migraine headache, the intensity of the symptoms is what sets a menstrual migraine apart from regular migraine headache. Women suffering from menstrual migraine may feel nauseous as soon as the pounding headache begins.
The feeling of nausea rises gradually as the intensity of menstrual migraine headache increases. At one point the intensity of menstrual migraine headache is such, that the nauseous feeling is replaced by violent vomiting spells.
Menstrual migraine is distinguished from regular migraine headaches, by the intense ache or pain which menstruating women experience, on one or both sides of their head. For some women the menstrual migraine headache is limited to one side of the head.
Others complain of a throbbing almost head shattering pain which encompasses their whole head. The throbbing pain in the head worsens with exertion, exposure to bright lights and / or loud sounds. Typically, migraine headache starts as a niggling pain which increases in intensity all of a sudden.
Sensory Disturbances Or Auras
Just before the menstrual migraine attack commences, some patients complain of sensory disturbances also known as auras. A menstrual migraine sensory disturbance comprises of both positive and negative auras. Positive sensory auras comprise of sudden flashes of shimmering or bright light while negative auras include tunnel vision, blind spots and dark holes.
Similarly, some patients may complain of imaginary auditory disturbances like loud sounds or bangs just before the migraine headache commences. In fact, these imaginary sensory disturbances are what triggers a menstrual migraine headache in the first place.
The intensity of migraine headache coupled with menstrual blood loss can cause excessive fatigue. Women who suffer from menstrual migraine headaches complain of extreme tiredness or fatigue. Often the feeling of severe fatigue lasts not only during the actual menstrual migraine attack but immediately after it ends as well. Resting in a darkened room is the best way to recover from the intense fatigue due to menstrual migraine headache.
Body Aches And Pain
General body aches and pain is another symptom of menstrual migraine headache. Some women complain of severe joint pain while others complain of an aching body. However, this is one of the lesser known symptoms of menstrual migraine headaches.
Lack Of Co-Ordination
The severe headache can even affect voluntary co-ordination of muscle movements. Severe menstrual migraine attacks can lead to excessive muscle weakness and lack of co-ordination. Decrease in productivity levels is the general outcome of lack of co-ordination due to menstrual migraine attack.