New Type of Migraine May Be Due to Low Iron

As a women’s health specialist, on a daily basis I see women who have migraines and some are related to their menstrual cycle and some aren’t. Many migraines are blamed on all sorts of things from intolerances, certain foods, alcohol, preservatives, hormones and whatever else people may think that is causing their head to pound.

I know I have successfully treated Migraines for years and it does require and individualised approach and a multi-modality approach of many things.

But there is a type of Migraine that I do see often and is easily treated with a simple supplement. I often see this is vegetarian, vegans and women whom have had prolonged, heavy menstrual bleeds. A new study has given this migraine a name and also confirmed a treatment that I have used for years.

In a paper published in the journal Headache, Anne Calhoun, MD, and Nicole Gill, DO, Carolina Headache Institute Durham, North Carolina, describe a new type of headache dubbed “end-menstrual migraine.”

Many women who have migraine toward the end of menstruation may be best treated with iron supplements, a new study suggests.

They believe that end-menstrual migraine is not hormonally mediated but rather causally related to menstrual blood loss, resulting in a brief relative anaemia with consequent migraine. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this type of migraine was identified thousands of years ago and long known to scholars and doctors of TCM. It was called a blood deficient headache, or migraine, because is was often seen after a loss of blood, or those who were anaemic (blood deficient)

According to the researchers: “This is migraine which occurs at the end of the menstrual period — maybe on the last few days of bleeding or after the bleeding has stopped,” Dr Calhoun, who runs a menstrual migraine clinic, explained online. “It is not the same thing as menstrual migraine, which generally occurs on the day or two before menstruation or on the first day or two of bleeding and is known to be hormonally mediated. If migraine occurs 5 days or more after the onset of bleeding this is not classic menstrual migraine.”

The menstrual migraine is very common, is normally caused by the withdrawal of estrogen, and can be treated with hormone therapy, or naturally with hormone regulation. But, this new ‘end menstrual migraine’ is different. Women getting this type of migraine will not respond to hormone treatment, or hormone regulation. Some women have both menstrual and end-menstrual migraine. Up to 25% of women will have this type of migraine.

The best way to fix this type of Migraine is with iron supplements and iron rich foods. In Traditional Chinese Medicine they would use blood-tonifying herbs that are rich in iron.

With any type of migraine, you should always consult your healthcare practitioner to check what is causing them. Many times it can be a combination of things that require several different modalities of treatment to get the best results.

At Shen Therapies we can treat all types of Migraines and will help you get the best results possible and get your quality of life back. 

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr