Options for those wishing to avoid premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, headaches before they start include charting your period, taking drugs, and making changes to your diet and lifestyle. For those whose headaches interfere with their quality of life, it may be best to see a doctor rather than rely on home remedies. Sufferers should also take into account other PMS symptoms that occur with their headaches.
The first step in avoiding PMS headaches is finding out when they begin. You will need to chart your menstrual cycle and keep notes on your moods or headaches in the days up to and during your period. Knowing when the headaches are most likely to start allows you to plan ahead and stock up on ibuprofen and and other medications to control the pain. Keeping track of what foods you eat or what stresses you have during this period will also help rule out other causes if you do not have a previous history of headaches.
There are several kinds of medications that can be taken to lessen the effects of PMS headaches. Simple over-the-counter headache medicine is your first defense. If the headaches are continuous or severe, migraine medication may need to be prescribed. Many women find that birth control pills, which sometimes lessen the effects of or stop periods, can have the same effect on PMS symptoms.
If neither of these options are helpful, the sufferer may want to consider other lifestyle changes which have helped lessen the overall effects of PMS. Exercising regularly releases endorphins, which fight pain and help control hormonal changes that can lead to PMS headaches. Eating a healthier diet and getting doses of vitamins that may be missing in your diet can help with your overall well-being. Keeping well-hydrated and getting enough sleep up until and during your period can also lessen the effects of headaches, because these actions diminish the impact of stress.
Consuming some foods which can cause headaches in people who aren't menstruating may lead to increased instances of PMS headaches during times of the month when you are more sensitive to their effects. For example, tyramine is an amino acid which can cause headaches in some people who are allergic to it. Foods with tyramine include hard cheese and wine. If you don't wish to avoid these foods during certain times of the month, taking a headache pill beforehand can help you remain pain-free.