Why You Get Period Headaches

(And How to Soothe Them)

Periods can come with a whole buffet of different types of pain. We’ve shared a few tips for relieving cramps and reducing breast pain before, and today we’re continuing this series. Let’s explore why you get period headaches (aka menstrual migraines or hormone headaches), and we’ll share our tips on how to soothe them.

Why you get period headaches

Period headaches are likely because of the changing hormone levels your body is experiencing. In the menstrual phase, estrogen levels drop just before you start your period, which might cause headaches. There are many other factors – lifestyle, health, genes, and beyond – that can also impact your pre-menstrual symptoms and period pains.

Common symptoms of a menstrual migraine include:

  • A throbbing or pulsating pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

This isn’t an exhaustive list, so you may have a different experience with your period headaches.

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How to soothe period headaches

Lifestyle practices

Headaches are best soothed when you can get ahead of them, before they reach their peak. Staying well hydrated, reducing stress, sleeping well, and exercising regularly are lifestyle tips to mitigate headaches.

Ice packs & cool rags

But what about when a headache catches you off guard? Placing ice packs or a cool wet rag over your forehead and eyes can help provide some instant, temporary relief. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel to protect your skin from the harsh cold.


Acupuncture has shown some promising results in relieving headaches and helping aid in relaxation. If this is something that is available to you, it could be worth a try when experiencing repeated period headaches.


Taking a daily magnesium supplement has also been shown to help prevent or minimize menstrual migraines in studies, according to the American Migraine Foundation. It’s suggested to start taking magnesium daily 15 days before your next period to maximize the relief from period headaches.

Pain relief

If you decide to use over-the-counter medicines, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen are best. These can come with the risk of gastrointestinal side effects so be sure to take them with or after food.

When to see the doctor

If you’re experiencing severe and repetitive menstrual migraines, it is important to bring it up with a healthcare professional to help evaluate your situation.

Period headaches can be disruptive and uncomfortable. We hope this blog helps shed light on ways to relieve and mitigate them. For more information on natural remedies for period pains, check out this blog.

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