If you get migraines toward the end of your period, you’ll want to read about this new study

/If you get migraines toward the end of your period, you’ll want to read about this new study

If you get migraines toward the end of your period, you’ll want to read about this new study

migraine6As many of you already know, I get menstrual migraines. Some occur in the few days right before my period starts. Some strike soon after it begins.

If you get menstrual migraines, too, then there’s something you should know: A new study in the journal Headache pinpoints another common time in your menstrual cycle when migraines can hit–the end of your period as bleeding is ending or shortly after it ends.

Dubbing it the “end-menstrual migraine” (EMM) because it occurs at the end of your period, the researchers examined the headache patterns of 85 menstrual migraine sufferers and found that 35.3% regularly experienced EMMs.

Here’s where things get really interesting though: Of those women who get EMMs, an overwhelming 93.3% of them also had low ferretin, an indicator of insufficient iron stored in the body. A dip in iron is a common problem at this point in your cycle because iron is shed as you bleed during menstruation.

What the researchers took from this was that these EMMs aren’t due to low estrogen like migraines that hit shortly before or shortly after menstruation begins. They argue that by the time your period ends, estrogen will have already risen to a level that shouldn’t cause these head-pounders. Instead, these EMMs must be due to low iron, which is known to also be a migraine trigger.

And, since low iron is the cause, it can also be the remedy.

If you tend to get migraines at the end of your period or shortly after, talk with your healthcare provider about it and find out if you can supplement with iron to help prevent them.

Looking for other natural migraine remedies? The ones I currently use–magnesium, coenzyme-Q10 and B vitamins–have significantly reduced the frequency and intensity of my migraines. But, you may find another natural treatment or combination of treatments that works for you. I’ve written about over a dozen here.

[Photo: Tara Hunt]

By | 2017-05-26T15:16:44+00:00 October 6th, 2016|health, hormonology tip, migraine, natural remedies, pain, Week 1|10 Comments

About the Author:

Gabrielle Lichterman, founder of Hormonology® and a longtime women’s health journalist, pioneered the growing movement among women to live in sync with their menstrual cycles and know more about all the ways their hormones impact their moods, health and behavior. This movement was launched in 2005 with Gabrielle's groundbreaking book, 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods and Potential, and her creation of Hormonology®. She offers a variety of tools--including her popular free Hormone Horoscope® app, eBooks, infographics, videos and tips--to share vital information about hormones.


  1. Gabrielle Lichterman February 10, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Ana, can you take iron through fortified foods, such as cereal? Or get enough of it through naturally iron-rich foods, such as beans, tofu or beef?

  2. Ana February 10, 2018 at 9:25 am

    I agree with this. I am 47 now, with low iron last 7 years. Migraines started about the same time as my anemia. The problem is when I take iron pills I have stomack pain and crumps.

  3. Karen December 31, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    I would get these headaches that lasted for two day after my period. I used to think that it was Tylenol withdrawal, as I used so much of the medication during my cycle. However, I had a hysterectomy in 2008, keeping my ovaries. I STILL suffer with these two-day headaches. I am 56 years old. Sometimes pain killers don’t help.

  4. Gabrielle Lichterman December 18, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Yes, it does include migraine with aura, according to the research: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/head.12942/full

  5. Eleah December 13, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Can migraines with aura (visual and numbness) also be brought on my iron deficiency at the end of a period?

  6. Eleah December 13, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Does this also include migraines with aura?

  7. Gabrielle Lichterman November 7, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    I’m sorry, Dora, but I have no information regarding a link between high iron levels and post-period migraines.

  8. Gabrielle Lichterman November 7, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    I’m glad this information may be able to shed a bit of light one what may be causing your headaches, Heidi. As always, before taking any new supplement, check with your doctor first. (Some people don’t metabolize iron correctly.) If you can take iron, I hope this helps!

  9. Dora Martin November 7, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    So my ferratin is high and so is my iron (just found out i may have hemochromotocis) and am experiencing migraines the day after my period ends. Is there anything on that, by chance?

  10. Heidi November 7, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I’m a 41 year old female. I’ve had bad headaches that lasts a couple days every now and then the past couple of years. It worried me because I never have had headaches in my life unless I was sick. I did realize after this last bout of headaches that it seems to happen at the end of my periods. I googled end of period headaches and found your article. Thanks so much!! Sometimes information to help understand what’s happening can be comforting enough.I had low iron anemia during both my pregnancies and after reading this I bet that is the problem. I am going to try supplementing iron before my period starts to see if that helps.

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