I read the articles on the Migraine.com app often and have tried to educate myself on migraine and headache, but I could use some help. I’m a 34-year-old woman and had my first migraine in my teens (maybe 15?), but have had somewhat frequent headaches since about 7 years old (often in music class, and on the school bus at the end of the day). Migraines were probably once a year until I had my first child at 19, and then (if I’m understanding what constitutes a migraine attack vs. headache correctly), maybe once every three months. After my fourth child was born at age 28, my headaches became chronic – but not until my cycles returned at about 11 mo. postpartum. They were accompanied by neck pain and I mistakenly thought they came from my neck, but after several years I now think it is the other way around. They became a daily occurrence (I’d say migraine attacks were only about four/month?) and were made more frequent and severe with almost daily ibuprofen. When I quit the ibuprofen cold turkey, they did decrease in frequency and severity. When he was 3 1/2, I got pregnant with my 5th child and after the first trimester (which was a headache and migraine nightmare), they went almost magically away and didn’t come back again until… my cycles returned at about 10 mo. postpartum. Same story when I got pregnant with my 6th a few months later… horrible first trimester with migraines and chronic headache, then magically gone until my cycles returned. They’ve been back with a vengeance and now I am 9 1/2 weeks along with my 7th.
I saw a neurologist for the first time after my 5th baby (or maybe during that pregnancy?), and he diagnosed me with frequent headache and occasional migraine (my first migraine diagnosis). He offered me a prescription to use during an attack, but I never filled it since I am always pregnant and nursing!
So, here are my questions: what does this say about hormones and migraine for me? (There’s no cyclical nature to them once my cycles do return.) Why do they get worse with each passing year/baby? If they are hormonal in some way, what can I do about it or ask a doctor to do? If it helps, I am hypothyroid and medicated with Armour, and I’d say I’m usually at a TSH between 1-2, but that’s dicey in pregnancy and postpartum. Being overmedicated definitely gives me terrible headaches and migraine attacks. Also, how can I know when I’m over the line from headache to migraine? I find the diagnostic criteria confusing, although I have read it. I just always thought for it to be a “real” migraine attack, it had to be horribly painful, but sometimes I have what I would say is a headache on a pain scale of about 6, but with light and noise sensitivity, mood swings, and hot flashes. Is that a migraine attack?
For migraine during pregnancy, all they have allowed me to do is take acetaminophen and benadryl, and I also use an ice pack on my neck, Tiger Balm or peppermint or lavender oil on my temples and neck, and drink tons of water or herbal tea. Any other tips?
I take loads of supplements to help, including a multi, B2, magnesium oil (topically), omega-3, methyfolate, and now I added ginger capsules when a headache comes on.
Thanks for staying with me!