The Journal of Headache and Pain

"European Headache Federation" and of "Lifting The Burden - The Global Campaign against Headache"

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Open Access

Menstrual migraine

  • Franca Moschiano1Email author,
  • Licia Grazzi2,
  • Domenico D’Amico2,
  • Ferdinando Schieroni1 and
  • Gennaro Bussone2
The Journal of Headache and PainOfficial Journal of the Italian Society for the Study of Headaches and the Italian Society of Pain Clinicians2:23


An association between migraine and menstruation can be ascertained by use of a diary for a minimum of three cycles. The pathophysiological and clinical peculiarities of menstrual migraine indicate that its management should differ from that of non–menstrual migraine. NSAIDS or migraine-specific medications (e.g. triptans) are often effective for the acute management of menstrual migraine. Preventive treatment is indicated when the attacks are long–lasting, severe and disabling and do not respond to acute treatments. Short–term prophylaxis (at the time of headache vulnerability) employs standard drugs such as magnesium, ergotamine or NSAIDs; triptans are currently being evaluated for short–term prophylaxis. If severe menstrual migraine attacks cannot be controlled by these, hormone therapy (percutaneous or transdermal estrogen) may be indicated. Antiestrogen agents (danazol, tamoxifen) are indicated only in rare resistant cases.

MenstruationMigraineTherapySex hormones