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Menstrual Migraines and Hysterectomy

  • By Koch

    Hi, this is my first forum post and I hope I’m in the right area for this question. Basically, I’m having a hysterectomy for what looks like adenomyosis and, since I’m either menopausal already or very close, my doctor suggested I have my ovaries removed as well. The thinking is that it may finish off the menstrual migraines I get.

    I started getting migraines immediately after a back surgery, but noticed a few years later that some of them were different and occurred right before a period. As the periods have mostly gone away now, I’ve noticed that those migraines are much less severe, but still cause a few days of nagging pain, vertigo, exhaustion and foggy thinking. I have been reading up before the surgery to make sure, but it seems like if mine are slowly diminishing I probably won’t be hit by horrible migraines due to a sudden drop in hormones, as my ovaries are not producing a huge amount, anyway. And the menstrual migraines have been lessening to reflect that. I would just hate to have them taken out and then find I’m in worse shape when they slowly would have gone away within the next few years, anyway!

    If anyone has had experience with this, I’d love to hear your feedback. Thanks!

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  • By Becky

    I had a total hysterectomy specifically for migraines at 41 (with no kids). It helped some but not a lot. I still suffer from them, it is just that I can’t pinpoint when I will get the monthly one. I used to know exactly what day I would end up in the doc office to get a shot.

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  • By Becky

    But I have had nothing bad happen from it. As a matter of fact it was the best thing I ever did (other than marrying my hubby :))

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  • By Koch

    Thanks for your input! I’m sorry yours didn’t go away completely. I have heard MANY friends tell me that I will feel so much better after the surgery, too. They didn’t have migraines, though.

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Koch,
    I’ve heard some women it gets better and others it doesn’t change. It’s really hard to know. I found 2 articles from a neurologist that discusses what will happen to your body after a full hysterectomy. It seems that the Migraines can actually worsen for a period of time right after the surgery due to the dramatic change in hormones. He suggests a specific hormone therapy to try and prevent this. You may want to ask your doctor about it.

    https://migraine.com/blog/hysterectomy-and-migraines/

    https://migraine.com/blog/bloodletting-leeches-and-hysterectomy/

    I hope this info helps in making your decision.
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

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  • By Koch

    Thanks for the great links, Katie. I’ve pretty much decided to leave the ovaries, if possible, and will be calling my doctor Monday about it. I get migraines anyway and they are mainly triggered by chronic back pain, so since the ones that I think are hormonal seem to be fading, I don’t want to mess with that by throwing everything off-balance. I wish I had time to test out a medically-induced menopause, but I’m having the surgery in less than two weeks and I can’t put it off any longer.

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Please let us know how it goes. Leaving the ovaries could help keep the Migraines at least the same as they are now. But I’m not a doctor, so talk to your doc about what’s best for you. Good luck, I’m thinking about you!
    -Katie

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  • By Koch

    Thank you! I will definitely follow up here. I have a great doctor, but it’s still helpful to hear feedback from others facing the same thing.

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  • By Koch

    Well, I’ve had the surgery and thought I’d give a quick update, even though it’s only been a few days. I decided to keep the ovaries and my doctor agreed that was probably best if they looked okay, which they did. I thought for sure that the surgery alone would cause a migraine, but no! I’m hoping this is a good sign, as it seems like anything out of the ordinary triggers them.

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone! It was really helpful.

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  • By Kathy

    I know that my hormones trigger migrains. In fact initially I thought that was my only trigger. Now I am not sure but suspect that I have others ( sun, altitude, exercise) . I considered having my ovaries removed as a migrain treatment. Has anyone got any experience of this?. It is rather drastic but like all migrainers. We are desperate ! I am 52 and have not had a period since I was 47. I however, feel ovulation pains in my left groin and experience a migrain at the same time.

    My migrains really took off at the menopause , before this I had monthly headaches which I took little notice of and used paracetamol to treat. Now I feel like a proper full blown migrainer . I can’t ski a whole week without a migrain . I can’t exercise or go out in the sun without a hat and water bottle

    . Why was I relatively normal until the menopause and now find my life is ruled by my migraines?

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  • By Koch

    Kathy, one of the reasons I decided to keep my ovaries is that I was told that the sudden drop in hormones might backfire and cause even worse migraines. Maybe yours are due to a huge drop every month? I am still getting migraines (for other reasons, too), but I have noticed the ones that seem to be spaced a month or two weeks apart are getting less and less severe. I also hadn’t had a period for almost a year before the hysterectomy, but my doctor said your ovaries continue to produce hormones until your mid-fifties on average. She said it was better to keep them in than to discover afterward that I might need artificial hormones. I wonder if your gynecologist might be able to relieve some of your headaches with hormones? It would be worth asking. I hope you find some relief! That sounds terrible and I remember when I used to be immobilized for 3-5 days with weekly migraines. You have my full sympathy for sure!

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