Migraines and Birth Control Pills
A health article about Migraines and Birth Control Pills from Migraine & Headache Problems the A to Z directory of
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Women who take the combined oral contraceptive pill have a
slightly increased risk of suffering a stroke compared to the
general risk. Women who also suffer from these headaches have a
slightly increased risk of stroke compared to the general risk
and the risk even increases in women who suffer specifically
from attacks with aura.
Women who are taking the combined oral
contraceptive and suffer from migraines of either kind, but
especially those with aura run a slightly higher risk of stroke
than do women who either take the pill and don't suffer
from these attacks or who suffer from the headaches and don't the pill. The risk is
small, but it's a good idea to be educated about these risks
A headache is simply a symptom of a migraine. It's not the
migraine itself. In addition to the headache, roughly
twenty-five percent of migraine sufferers also suffer from aura,
which is a best defined as a visual disturbance that includes
temporary loss of vision, flashing lights, zigzagging lines,
black spots, etc.
In addition, those suffering migraine with
aura may experience numbness or the feeling of pins and needles,
as well as experiencing strange smells, unusual food cravings,
etc. An aura typically lasts from a few minutes to an hour
before the actual headache sets in.
There are several medical guidelines that you should be aware of
if you are a migraine sufferer taking oral contraceptive pills.
Plainly put, it is recommended that you do not take the pill or
refrain from continuing use of the pill if you are already
taking it if you:
• have migraines with aura.
• develop migraine with aura sometime after starting the pill. In
• other words, it is highly recommended that cease use of the pill
• if this type of migraine develops.
• If you have these headaches without aura, and you have more than one
• additional risk factor for stroke. Other risk factors to be
• aware of include:
• if you are 35 years old or older
• if you are a diabetic.
• If you have a close relative who has suffered a stroke, heart
• attack, or similar \'vascular\' disease before they were 45.
• a high lipid (cholesterol) level.
• high blood pressure.
• have status migrainous. These are migraine headaches with a
• duration in excess of seventy-two hours.
• treat your migraine with ergotamine or ergot derivatives.
Interesting, isn't it? In the rest of this article, you'll
discover even more insider stuff about the topic - and it is
simple and easy to follow.
If you have migraines without aura, along with only one of the
additional risk factor for stroke, then you may take a lose
dosage oral contraceptive pill that contains thirty micrograms
or less of estrogen.
If you have migraine without aura, and have no additional risk
factors for stroke at all, the pill is usually fine to take.
If you have any questions about any of these guidelines, you
should consult your physician.
There exists various methods of contraception for women with
migraine who are unable to take the combined contraceptive pill
such as the progestogen-only pill, the progestogen injection,
intra-uterine devices or systems, and barrier methods.
Some women taking the pill find that they experience migraines
during the “pill free” interval, at the end of each pack.
These attacks are thought to be triggered by the drop in the
blood level of estrogen in the pill free interval. Provided
these are attacks without aura, there typically is no need to
stop taking the pill. However, if the migraines are accompanied
by aura, you should stop taking it. Should these attacks
become a major problem that are not easily treated with
painkillers, then you might wish to consider the following
Changing to a pill with less progestogen (if you take one with a
high dose). Migraines during the pill-free interval seem to
occur less often in women who take a pill with a lower dose of
Tri-cycling. This means taking the pill continuously for three
packets (nine weeks) without any breaks, followed by a seven-day
pill-free interval. This keeps the level of estrogen constant
whilst you take the three packets. (It is the sudden drop in
estrogen that often triggers the migraine.) By doing this you
will have less withdrawal bleeds per year, and therefore less
estrogen supplements can be used during the seven-day pill-free
A change to a different method of contraception.
What you've just read is only the beginning of a fascinating
journey into the subject. There are many more useful resources
on this site -I invite you to spend some time exploring them and
learning even more.
What is a Migraine?
It is estimated that up to 26 million Americans suffer from Migraine headaches and it is considered one of the top reasons for missed work and loss of production. Among these, 8 million suffer from debilitating pain every year. These attacks render them incapacitated to the point that they can no longer perform their daily activities.
In fact, about 60 million work days are collectively lost every year, costing the United States some 17 billion dollars because of the lost time and medical expenses. More women than men suffer from migraine.
A debilitating Migraine headache can last from 4 to 72 hours and can be accompanied by intense pain, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, vertigo, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. After affects of a migraine can leave the sufferer drained and without energy accompanied by a low grade headache with oversensitivity to light and sound and can last for another 24 hours.
Most Migraine headaches sufferers cannot identify what triggers the headaches and a long and varied list exists that differs with each individual. The same factors do not necessarily trigger a Migraine on a consistent basis either. Statistically, women are more prone to these attacks than men with claims that the decline in estrogen during menstruation is the trigger and the onset can begin immediately to a few days delay.
Though all migraines are headaches, all
headaches are not migraines. There can be many causes like high
blood pressure, cervical spondylosis and poor eyesight being a
few. So every one with headaches should not think he is
suffering from migraine.
The broad criterion of diagnosis is if
you have two or more of the following symptoms during a attack
it is probable you are suffering from migraine
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