Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Cyclic Migraine Syndrome

When a migraine sufferer experiences constant attacks for a period of time, then have a period with no migraine attacks and no symptoms some people may use the term cyclical migraine syndrome. Although cyclic migraines were first described in medical literature in 1977, there is no distinct, separate definition in the diagnostic guide from the International Headache Society, which does not recognize the term cyclical migraine syndrome. Doctors sometimes call cyclic migraine syndrome an unspecified migraine, because it doesn’t fit into one of the well-established, well known descriptions of other more common types of migraine.

Depending on the individual, the cycle of migraine attacks can be one week or up to six weeks. During the cycle of migraines the head pain and other migraine symptoms can strike every single day or many times per week. Then there are quiet periods with no pain or low pain. The migraine cycle is then followed by a time with no symptoms that can last weeks or months.

Cyclic Migraine Symptoms

  • Unusual pattern, such migraines for two weeks and no attacks for two weeks
  • Migraine attacks come in cycles that may last for weeks
  • No symptoms between migraine attacks
  • Head pain may be on one side or both sides
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nausea
  • Sometimes nasal congestion
  • Some patients experience depression

More About Cyclic Migraines

  • Most people with cyclic migraine syndrome are women
  • Most often the syndrome appears in the first 20 years of life
  • More than half of people with cyclic migraine syndrome have a family history of migraine


Written by: Otesa Miles | Last reviewed: August 2014