Birth Control Pills Avoid Children, But Do They Avoid Migraines? 

By Migraines

Most research on menstrual migraines implicates the drop in estrogen as the culprit. Women vary in the amount of estrogen change; some will get migraines, some won’t. Many of my patients could count on a migraine around menses.

Birth control pills may keep estrogen levels even and prevent migraines. I’ve had many patients who had excellent results. If you read the literature, you’ll find the pill helps some but not others. Why? One reason may be that many pills have 21 days of active hormones and seven days of non-active pills. Thus, those who take a 28 day, low estrogen pill may do better. The same pill won’t work for all. In fact, it’s not surprising to find women with menstrual migraines don’t get them with each period. Our bodies fluctuate for unknown reasons.

It’s best to talk to a doctor who is up-to-date regarding birth control pills. Some still go by evidence from the 1960s. See the tonic.vice article below.

Do your research and don’t be shy about presenting your doctor with evidence you’ve found. Some doctors may not like your help, but it’s about you, not the doctor. I’ve had many of my patients switch doctors to find one amenable to working with them. Don’t worry about doctor hopping; you’re hoping not hopping. We had a female OB/GYN set up practice in my city which thrilled me. Finally, I could send a woman with PMS-related problems to an OB/GYN who would understand. Big mistake! That doctor never experienced PMS, and she was not empathetic with my patient. My patient told me not to send anyone to that doc. I often refer women to an endocrinologist with the caution the doc must deal with the issue. Every endocrinologist may not be expert in this arena. Ask first.

Check out the following article at the pms.org.uk for a compelling read why doctors (and others) should embrace hormonal effects. She indicates blogs, websites, and doctors may rely on research from the 60s and 70s when PMS was often considered “all in the mind.” She points out it was a feminist view then (and that of too many men including doctors); that view should not return. We guys have issues, too. Years ago the hypothesis was impotence was a psychological problem; that’s not as valid as it was. Likewise migraine headaches are not mental or “all in your head.”

Here’s an eye-opener.   http://www.pms.org.uk/home/pastbulletins/news/15

Read the following web page for lots of information you’ll want to consider.

https://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control/birth-control-and-migraines#1

I’d encourage you to read the next blurb telling how birth control pills have changed. There still might be effects of birth control that may make one hesitant to take them. I know the medications I take for my arthritis have negative side effects; however, the effect of not taking them would have my hands almost immobilized by now like my mother’s were before such meds were available. For you, it may come down to weighing outcomes. We have to make such choices in life weighting the positives against the negatives.

https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/vvv4n8/women-with-migraines-are-being-misled-about-the-pill  Great article by a woman who suffered “migraine with aura” and switched to an IUD;, the migraines got worse. Her article, too, points out birth control pills contents have changed since back in the 60s with much lower estrogen and progesterone levels. Because women experience “migraine with aura” are at a higher risk of stroke (it’s not all that likely) and, since the old birth control pills could increase stroke risk, doctors took these women off the pill. She argues the chance is not as significant as it once was due to the lower hormone levels.

You can Google “migraines and birth control” to learn much more. Read carefully, because some info is out of date. And, again, not everyone responds the same. Best wishes in your search.