Menstrual Migraine and Premenstrual Migraine Treatment Using Natural Progesterone

by Elizabeth Smith, MD

Menstrual migraine headaches or premenstrual migraine headaches are an easy treatment using Natural Progesterone for relief. Usually we have very good luck with this " herbal supplement " or "dietary supplement vitamins" treatment for menstrual migraine headaches. Progesterone is really a natural bioidentical hormone and NOT an " herbal supplement " or " dietary supplement vitamin ". Obviously, if the migraine headache varies with the menstrual period then it is related to the hormones. Natural Progesterone usually works well for menstrual migraine headaches lessening them or completely eliminating them as I have found from my clinical medicine practice since 1999. However, Natural Progesterone does NOT work for migraine headaches that do NOT vary with the menstrual cycle period.

Usually, the premenstrual migraine is accompanied by typical symptoms of premenstrual bloating and water retention, breast soreness, chocolate craving, and sweet cravings. These are typical signs of PMS or premenstrual syndrome.

Natural Progesterone usually easily prevents or lessens the severity of premenstrual migraine headaches spelling relief.

Menstrual migraines, like PMS, are due to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance is a phrase coined by John Lee, MD meaning "too much" estrogen.

One of the side effects of taking too much synthetic estrogen dose in the "pill" is a migraine headache. The side effect is listed right on the drug information. What does this tell you? Estrogen dominance is at least in part contributory to headaches.

Down Regulation and Xenoestrogens (Foreign Estrogens)

I have found in my practice, that 30%-40% of women taking Natural Progesterone actually may TEMPORARILY have a WORSE premenstrual migraine headache when taking natural progesterone. This is because they did NOT eliminate xenoestrogens from their environment and lifestyle. Xenoestrogens are literally "foreign" estrogens. "Xeno" means foreign. Xenoestrogens are chemicals that mimic estrogen. Xenoestrogens have a chemical structure and formula that are quite different from estradiol, but just happen to fit into the estrogen receptor of the human body. So Xenoestrogens look different chemically but have some of the same effects or quite different effects of estrogen when the xenoestrogen binds to the estrogen receptor. In many cases, xenoestrogens are thought to cause cancer. Some xenoestrogens WILL stimulate breast cancer cells to grow in the test tube.

Whenever the human body gets a continuous exposure to xenoestrogens, the human body tries to become less sensitive to the xenoestrogens. This effect is called "down regulation". When you take Natural Progesterone, the body REGAINS its original sensitivity to estrogen. Then, it seems like you are getting more estrogen when you are really not. Your sensitivity to estrogen just went up back up to normal. Thus, this is why women take Natural Progesterone for headache relief and 30%-40% of these women patients will get worse. It is not the progesterone that is causing the headache. It is the regained normal estrogen sensitivity that is causing headache, NOT the progesterone itself.

Here is an analogy. When you go to a loud rock concert (estrogen load), initially, it is very loud. However, after 30 minutes or so, it does not seem so loud (down regulation). Then, you take the progesterone, the rock concert seems loud (estrogen load) again. Your original sensitivity to the loud rock music (estrogen) is restored by progesterone. Did the noise level of the rock concert change? No, the rock concert noise level did NOT change. Your sensitivity to the noise changed.

Similarly, your estrogen load does not change. Your sensitivity to estrogen goes back to normal when you take progesterone.

So what is the solution? The solution is to cut out the xenoestrogens in your environment which is causing the estrogen dominance. Then, the success rate jumps up to above 90%.

I have women that do NOT want to change their soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, and make up. When they take the Natural Progesterone their menstrual migraine may get worse temporarily. This is because the women did not want to cut out their xenoestrogen load. The Xenoestrogen load is causing the premenstrual migraine. Sorry, there is no easy solution.

Xenoestrogens on the Skin 10 Times Xenoestrogens by Mouth

The question then becomes what are the xenoestrogens?

What are the important xenoestrogens and what are not the important xenoestrogens?

Well, surprisingly, chemicals put on the skin are absorbed. The pharmaceutical companies use this skin absorption effect to make and sell an estrogen patch. Usually, the estrogen patch is very strong. The estrogen patch is stronger on a per mg basis than an oral dose of estrogen. Anything put on the skin is 10 times the oral dose.

Why is that?

If you take progesterone or estrogen orally the liver metabolizes the hormones first before it goes into the body. Thus, anything taken orally is 90% inactivated by the liver before it gets into the body.

However, if the hormone is put on the skin 100 % goes directly into the body more or less and BYPASSES the liver.

Clinically, I have been treating estrogen dominant diseases that include menstrual migraines since 1999. Implausibly, I have found that laundry detergent, soap, shampoo, cosmetics, make up, and sunscreen makes a BIG difference on how my patients feel. The first patient that told me laundry detergent made a big difference, I thought she was loopy.

Two REAL Patients

The patient was a paralegal. She had a fibroid with monthly flooding. She cut out xenoestrogens and took progesterone. The monthly flooding stopped for a year. Then she called me up complaining that she had mid monthly spotting. I asked her, "What did you change?" Sheepishly, she told me that she had changed her laundry detergent that she found at a health food store. That particular laundry detergent contained a phytoestrogen (plant estrogen) chamomile, and probably had given her the mid monthly spotting.

Another patient, tried to take natural progesterone for two years. Every time she took it, she experienced increased bloating and increased breast tenderness temporarily that stopped when she stopped the natural progesterone. Finally, after 2 years, she changed her laundry detergent to the one that I recommended, and her bloating and breast tenderness went away in a month. She was also finally able to take the Natural Progesterone and felt better.

So, if you do not cut out the xenoestrogens, then you are not cutting out a major factor that is the cause of the headache.

Xenoestrogens in the Environment Causing Precocious Puberty

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) was given a mandate by Congress to test for hormone disruption in chemicals back in 1996. The last I remember was that the EPA was 5-6 years behind because they could not figure a way to do it. Thus, the 100,000 chemicals in USA are NOT tested for hormone disruption. The bottom line is that no one knows.

A cursory look around any middle school in the USA shows that girls are maturing sexually quite quickly. The landmark 1997 Herman-Giddens study showed 15% of girls aged 8 sprouting breast buds and pubic hair. 5% of girls aged 5 are sprouting breast buds and pubic hair. This is known among medical doctors as precocious puberty. A TIME Magazine article dated Oct. 30 2000 cited recent scientific evidence of xenoestrogens in part causing precocious puberty.

What does precocious puberty have to do with you and your premenstrual migraine headache?

Precocious puberty proves that xenoestrogen effects are alive and well in the real world. The side effects that may be present when you overdose on synthetic estrogen is a migraine headache. This is found in any PDR (Physician's Desk Reference). See Here.

So why can't the same xenoestrogens that are causing precocious puberty be also causing your menstrual migraine headaches?

Evidence for Xenoestrogen Hormone Disruption in Fish

In 2004, 42% of the male bass in the Potomac River in Washington DC are producing eggs. It is thought that some chemical that is being put into the Potomac River that are feminizing the male bass.

Also in 2004, in Colorado, in the Platte River near Denver, above the sewage outfall, the white sucker fish is 1:1 males to females. However, below the sewage outfall, it is 1:9 males to females with 10% hermaphrodites (one half male and one half female). Here again, hormone disruption is suspected.

John Sumpter, a researcher in Brunel University, in Uxbridge noticed that trout caught in England looked like a trout caught between male and female. Usually, female trout have high levels of vitellogenin. Vitellogenin is a special egg protein that is incorporated into the trout fish egg. Vitellogenin is produced in response to estrogen produced by the ovaries in the female trout. Since the vitellogenin is produced in response to estrogen stimulation, the vitellogenin level is a good marker for estrogen stimulation and exposure in the male trout.

Trout were raised in an aquarium with clean water, and then put in cages in contaminated pools. The trout made 1000 times to 100,000 times more vitellogenin than the control trout kept in clean water.

Furthermore, baby male trout raised in an aquarium contaminated with low levels of laundry detergent grew up looking like female trout.

So how do these sexually confused fish apply to you and your menstrual migraine headache?

Well, something in the water is causing the male trout to become female like. These same chemicals in the sewer that are going into the river come from your house or farm. These same chemicals are estrogenic and mimic estrogen. The same xenoestrogens may be contributing to your premenstrual migraine.

Why is this important? If you avoid these xenoestrogens, in your home, then you can prevent your menstrual migraine.

Phytoestrogens (Plant Estrogens ) in Your Health Food Store Cause Man Boobs

So you are using stuff from the health food store and read all the labels and think that you are living healthy. What about herb supplements that are phytoestrogens? Yes, they do exist. Just because it is Natural does not mean that it is good for you. If everything that is natural is good for you, you should eat the mushrooms in your yard. Why not eat the mushrooms in your yard? But you don't eat mushrooms in your yard. The mushrooms are natural, but some are poisonous. Just because something is natural, does NOT mean it is good for you.

In July 2006, in the pediatric endocrinology conference in Denver, Clifford Bloch, MD presented a finding that lavender oil caused gynecomastia in young boys. Since the mid-1990s, Bloch, MD treated gynecomastia (man-boobs) in boys age 10 or younger. The boys had normal ratios of sex hormones measured in their blood. Thus, the boys did not have a problem with hormones produced by their body.

Bloch, MD found that at least five boys used a shampoo, hair gel, soap, or another topical product that contained lavender oil in ingredients. One products additionally included tea tree oil. "Pure lavender oil was applied topically on the skin for several of the boys," Bloch, MD stated.

The boys stopped using lavender-containing products and the gynecomastia disappeared in several months.

Boch, MD teamed with Derek Henley and Kenneth Korach of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Laboratory tests showed lavender oil and, separately, tea tree oil turned on estrogen-regulated genes and inhibited androgen-regulated genes in human breast cells.

"Lavender oil and tea tree oil have estrogenic and anti-androgenic properties," Henley flatly stated at the Endocrine Society meeting in Boston in July 2006. Henley believes he is the first to unequivocally finger "essential oils" from plants in gynecomastia by lab test.

So lavender oil and tea tree oil cause man boobs.

What does this have to do with you and your premenstrual migraine?

Lavender oil mimic estrogen and the tea tree oil mimic estrogen. Too much estrogen, estrogen dominance, causes menstrual migraine headaches. Thus, your "healthy" fancy health food store lavender shampoo is likely making you worse.

So just because it is Natural and from the health food store does not mean it is good for you. How can something that causes man boobs be good for you? It may be causing your premenstrual migraine to be worse.

Emotional Spiritual Issues

When I started treating premenstrual migraines in 1999, a pastor mentioned that he found that women with migraines had fear of conflict and guilt about the conflict. Initially, I was very skeptical about this emotional cause of headaches. Fear of conflict will increase histamine. Guilt will cause decreased serotonin. This enlarges and decreases the circumference of the arteries in the head causing the migraine. Imitrex is the best selling migraine headache drug. Imitrex is an anti-histamine and a serotonin enhancer. That is how Imitrex works. That is how fear and guilt stimulate the endocrine system. I began to ask my patients about fear and guilt. The majority, but not all of menstrual migraine patients admitted to having fear and guilt.

Pastor Henry Wright at Pleasant Valley Church in Thomaston, Georgia 1 ½ hours south of Atlanta, Georgia has had a lot of luck treating migraine headaches by getting rid of the fear and guilt that changes the hormones in your body. Click here for Pleasant Valley Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Pleasant Valley Church has seminars and books on attacking the spiritual emotional cause of migraine headaches. The church's phone is (706) 646-2074.

By getting rid of fear and guilt, the histamine is NOT elevated, and serotonin is NOT decreased. Thus, the migraine headache goes away.

The Line of Reasoning

1. A menstrual migraine or premenstrual migraine varies with the menstrual cycle, thus, the menstrual migraine is hormonally related.

2. Too much estrogen (estrogen dominance) contributes to the cause proved by side effects of synthetic estrogen pills.

3. If you do not stop xenoestrogens taking progesterone for menstrual migraines may make the headache TEMPORARILY worse.

4. Too much estrogen, estrogen dominance, likely causes precocious puberty.

5. Xenoestrogens cause male fish to become female fish.

6. Phytoestrogens, lavender and tea tree oil, cause gynecomastia (man boobs) in young boys.

7. These foreign estrogens may contribute to causing a menstrual migraine.

8. Guilt and fear simultaneously decrease serotonin and increase histamine manipulating the arteries in the head causing a migraine.

The Bottom Line

Premenstrual Migraine Relief

1. Get a list of xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens.

2. Avoid the xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens especially on the skin.

3. Use Topical Natural Progesterone just before the premenstrual migraine for prevention and relief.

Buy Natural Progesterone!


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Information on progesterone for migraine headaches

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Premenstrual Migraine No More

Dear Doctor,

Just wanted to let you know that I am no longer having menstrual migraine headaches with my periods as I had reported to you last. I did purchase a bottle of butterbur as you recommended. I'm happy to say that I did not have to use it. I have had 3 periods over the past 3 months (much more regular than I've been in quite awhile, by the way) and I did not have even a hint of a headache with any of them!

I have moved from the desert in eastern Washington to the west side of the state on the Long Beach peninsula. The reason for my move was because of my love to be near the Pacific Ocean. However, I am hoping that the environment will be healthier in regard to xenoestrogen exposure since I am no longer surrounded by farming and since there is an almost constant breeze of fresh ocean air!

Without a doubt, I will remain a faithful user of Natural Progesterone for migraine relief. Thank you again for all your help.

God bless,

Claudia M., Nahcotta, WA


Headache NOT as Severe
Dear Doctor,

I have used your progesterone for migraine headaches for two months and my symptoms are greatly improved. The breast cysts were gone after 3 weeks, but returned just before my period with much less force, then gone after 2 days, monthly bloating and mood swings is much improved, cramping is almost gone, periods went from 21 days to 25, and best of all my libido is back as strong as ever. My husband is as thankful as I am. My migraine is better, not as severe, but I am hoping they will soon be gone. They were so bad I had blood in my eyes and face afterwards. The first month after your product the headache was barely there but lasted 2 days, the 2nd month I forgot and ate oregano and had a hard one but not near as bad as I have in the past, and my menstrual migaine was gone the next day.

I just ordered more and I am hoping things will continue to get better.

My 8 yr old daughter has been avoiding everything on your list, but so far there is no improvement. I got rid of everything beauty product wise, and I am trying to see that she gets the right foods, but with other people giving her things, when I'm not there, it's hard.

Thank you for your product, and the info for progesterone for migraine headaches.

Laura H., Wilson, Oklahoma


Menstrual Migraine Improving with Progesterone! Breast Cysts and Menstrual Cramps Cured!

I wanted to tell you how happy I am with Natural Progesterone for Migraine Headaches. I have been using it now for just over 2 months and I feel great. I originally started using it to lessen my menstrual migraine and it has really helped. If I get one, it is only one, and mild and goes away in about an hour or so. I'm hoping that they disappear completely as time goes on. Also, my periods are very regular which hasn't been the case for the past 2 years. Definitely the oil. No MONTHLY BLOATING AND MOOD SWINGS too!

I also want to tell you how nice it is to have a Dr. who actually responds to your emails and phone calls. You really sound sincere and take the time to explain everything. I've recommended the product to others who I'm sure will experience the same benefits as I have.

Thank you again.

Tish M., Huntington, New York

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