Book Review: The Woman’s Guide to Managing Migraine by Susan Hutchinson, MD
As I sit down to write this brief book review, I feel a little silly. You see, as a bookstore owner, I am often sent copies of books long before they are formally published and available to the general public. Knowing how interested I was in migraine disease and headache, Oxford University Press sent me an advanced copy of Dr. Susan Hutchinson’s new book. I put it in my to-read stack and proceeded to ignore it. Then, months later, the “real” book was released, and Oxford sent me a complimentary copy of the finished book. I still did not open it for some mysterious reason.
And wow, I feel pretty silly for not having looked at this book sooner. The full title of the slim (read: not intimidating) volume is The Woman’s Guide to Managing Migraine: Understanding the Hormone Connection to Find Hope and Wellness. (Full disclosure: Dr. Hutchinson is a contributor to Migraine.com, but I don’t believe we have ever met.)
Like millions of women, I always, always, always get a migraine (or many!) right before and during menstruation. Only once did I try to combat these menstrual related migraines by taking Frova beginning two days before my period and then all throughout my period (which is much longer than most women’s periods—lucky me!). Results were mixed, but after just a couple months of trying that, I was scraping for pennies at the bottom of my pocketbook—at the time of my trial, Frova was very expensive, and taking one a day for a week or more was breaking the bank.
Dr. Hutchinson’s book gives me renewed hope for coping with these menstrual-related migraines. For the first time in many years, I have the faintest inkling of hope that maybe the migraines I thought were 100% guaranteed (that is, my menstrual related migraines) might not be inescapable after all!
The book can be read piecemeal or in a few long sittings. I’d encourage you to have a pen or highlighter with you as you read (or a separate notebook if you’re reading a library book or are averse to underlining your own books). While Dr. Hutchinson is careful to note that each case study she reviews is not necessarily applicable to those of us reading the book (note: she is sure to tell you to seek your doctor’s advice before changing health regimens), there are tons of little tidbits of wisdom you can read about and try.
But this is not a cheap medical self-help book you’d find at the supermarket checkout for $1.99. This is a thoroughly researched work that will allow you to take more ownership of your health by teaching you the ins and outs of female hormones, migraine patterns, and more. My first reading, though much delayed, was too quick to absorb everything, so I am going to sit down and reread it in the next few weeks and talk to my doctor about some of the ideas presented. It’s a book like this that makes me feel like a more knowledgeable, empowered patient, and that’s always a positive thing.
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?