Why Do I Get Headaches Around My Period?

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The idea for this blog post came from a reader who emailed us. She has had great success using the diet to mitigate the symptoms of her fibromyalgia. She is no longer taking any medications, she is in much less pain, sleeping less during the day and overall is doing much better. To read more about her story click here.

One lingering symptom she has, though, is horrible migraines every month around her period. When I used to get a lot of headaches, they were always worse in frequency and pain level around my menstrual cycle and even now if I get a headache (that isn’t from being hunched over my computer), it is almost always around my period.

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What is the connection?

Why do women get more headaches around their periods?

The answer probably lies with a neurotransmitter called GABA gamma-aminobutyric acid.

Progesterone levels decline just prior to the onset of our menstrual cycle. The progesterone metabolite allopregnanolone is a potent modulator of GABA receptors.

GABA is our inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA can help us stay calm in the face of life’s many stresses. A deficiency in GABA can lead to headaches, anxiety, depression, irritability, palpitations, sound sensitivity; all things that many of us experience as part of PMS.
Many of us are already deficient in GABA so when the levels drop even further, it can have a profound effect on us. Thankfully there are natural substances that can help increase GABA levels and assuage headaches related to our menstrual cycle and help alleviate other PMS symptoms as well.

Natural Ways to Increase GABA:

Organic Loose Leaf Green Tea-contains L-theanine an amino acid precursor to GABA. Works by increasing GABA and dopamine levels.

Kava Kava Tincture-Long known for its calming properties and anti-anxiety properties

Valerian Root Tincture– Used medicinally for thousands of years to support healthy sleep and relaxation perhaps in part by its ability to increase GABA levels

Feverfew plant-when my mom and I used to suffer from headaches often, we would eat the leaves off of an organic feverfew plant which have long been touted for their headache benefits. Feverfew appears to work by binding to GABA receptor sites.

Feverfew Tincture-The benefits of the plant in a tincture.

 

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References:
What is GABA?
Valerian
What Does GABA Do in the Brain?
Kava: The Alternative Treatment
Feverfew

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any disease or condition, nor is it intended to prescribe in any way. This information may not be complete and its data has not been officially tested or proven accurate.

 

Photo Credit: Worried Teenage Girl with Headache from freedigitalphotos.net, Woman on Sofa from freedigitalphotos.net

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