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With My Period Comes Migraines

Do you suffer from any side effects during (or before) your period? Most common things we we hear about are cravings, cramps, mood swings - but what about migraines?

That’s the case for one of our Modibodi staff members Sophie, she has been experiencing menstrual migraines since her teen years. We asked her tell us a little bit about how she has learnt to manage them.

 

“Oh, have you tried taking Panadol?”

A commonly heard response when I tell people I have a migraine.

Thank you for your suggestion, but no, Panadol will not help. I need that extra-strength-knock-me-out-type of medication.

“Maybe you haven’t had enough water today?”

Another common response. I know people are just trying to be helpful but I have lived with these migraines since I was 18 and I know what the trigger is, my period.

 

Roughly 1 or 2 days before I am due to get my period I make sure I have some of my prescription drugs in my handbag, it could strike at any time – dun dun! I go about my business until I start to feel the warning signs.

Warning sign one - I start to get hungry (this is a hard sign to distinguish as I am usually always keen for a snack)

Warning sign two - partial loss of vision in my left eye. This starts as an irritation to bright lights, I find myself turning down the brightness on my monitor or my phone. Best to take meds now.

Warning sign three - I start to see colours and swirling lines dance across my eyes. This one is a bit trippy, but I can’t rub my eyes and make it go away. The colours are so vivid, like lasers.

Warning sign three - I can then loose complete vision in one or two eyes and this is where the pain kicks in. Prior to this it is painless.

If I have not taken my medication before this sign is likely to last for hours, if not a full day and then day two I will feel drowsy and disorientated.

 

The pain can be so severe it can cause me to vomit and cry, usually at the same time. It feels like a metal knife is lodged behind my eyes – key point is it is metal, it definitely has a type of metallic feeling. So distinct and precise that I have told my boyfriend that if he could just get a scalpel I could pinpoint exactly where the pain is and cut it out. (NB no home surgery was conducted).

It is a huge inconvenience and strain on my work life, as well as personal life. At least I can somewhat anticipate when it will be. But calling in sick, or being sent home in a taxi with my sunglasses on while crying, is something that I constantly feel guilty about, even if I can’t help it. It is especially hard if my employee has never had a migraine, it’s hard to explain that yes, it is worse than a headache.

While being on the pill I realised that the migraines would come like clockwork. And certain brands would make them worse, or more frequent. So there was a lot of trial and error to figure out which brand of pill worked best with my body.

Now that I am 33 I have come off the pill and the migraines have become less frequent, only 4 times a year, if I’m lucky!

I have tried multiple different suggestions to cure them, more coffee, less coffee, magnesium, less salt, more vegetables, less dairy. I have had people suggest getting a ‘daith ear piercing’ (the piercing of the inner most cartilage fold of the ear) which is meant to replicate acupuncture and may reduce symptoms of a migraine. Everyone seems to have a story or a friend (or a friend of an Auntie’s neighbour’s cousin) that did something obscure and now they are miraculously cured of migraines.

I’ve learnt to manage the pain the best I can, getting to a dark room and taking meds so I can drift off into a sleep. Since starting work at the office and making the switch to Modibodi, I have felt a huge relief that at least the rest of my period won’t be as bad and I will be comfortable. Some days when I'm wearing them I completely forget I have my period - so once I get past the migraine stage it’s smooth sailing! 

 

If you have anything to add please connect with us on Facebook or Instagram.

If you are experiencing any type of pain or symptoms please consult your doctor or health professional. 

 

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