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Thread: Migraines and Prolactin

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Default Migraines and Prolactin

    My children are 3 years apart. For about a year before I got pregnant with my daughter, I had debilitating migraines. I was incapacitated for an average of 6 days a month and most of the other days of the month I had transformed migraine (daily headaches). I could not find adequate treatment and I was very scared that I would be unable to continue working. When I got pregnant with my daughter my migraines completely disappeared!

    They are coming back now and I just had an amazing realization. My migraines became debilitating after my son stopped nursing. Currently, I had a 4 day migraine before Christmas and 3 days of milder "hangover" headache after. And this coincides with my "weaning" of my 14 month old daughter. We had gone down to nursing twice per day. I have had my "period" for months but they are light and irregular. I think the most recent one at the beginning of my migraine was my first "real" period.

    When I had this realization, I started to nurse my daughter frequently during my 4 day Christmas weekend. I feel great now. Of course, the migraine may have run it's course but I am particularly surprised that the daily headache is gone...

    So I am thinking that the prolactin that nursing stimulates is helping me. I am just speculating but what do you think? Could 4 days really spike my prolactin? Also, do we really have that much prolactin in our blood stream when we are in the late phase of breastfeeding. I thought it was mostly mechanical supply and demand type production now.

    I am considering starting to pump again at lunch at work and trying to breastfeed more at home. I cut down on nursing because I was really touched out but I think I have had the respite I need and I can get back to it. It's a little exciting to think that I nursing could be like a daily preventative for me while at the same time benefitting my baby.

    The other thing I have been thinking about is what will I do when I wean. I don't really want to nurse past 2 years old and I admit this is due partly to social pressure and partly to my own discomfort with the idea. Anyway, when I wean, I thought maybe taking galactagogues would increase my baseline prolactin even if I am not nursing. Is that how galactagogues work?
    Do you need to be suckling?

    I will be keeping a headache diary to see how this goes...

    (I am cross posting in Chronic Conditions-Mother.)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Migraines and Prolactin

    It will be interesting to see what your diary charts.

    I have had migraines since my early 20's. I have always had common (no aura) migraines. I had been on topomax for about 4-5 years before I got PG and that was the only daily that has kept them at bay (I had maybe 1-3 a year after that).

    When I got PG I had to go off the topomax, but the migraines stayed away for the most part. I did have headaches but that was most likely from the pre-e.

    Since I had DS the migraines came back full force, which of course sucks because I can't take the topomax. Basically they have me on pain meds for when I get one until I am done BF'ing and can take the topomax again....

    Good luck...I know how much they suck!
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  3. #3
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    Jun 2008
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    Default Re: Migraines and Prolactin

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*nolies.mama View Post
    Since I had DS the migraines came back full force, which of course sucks because I can't take the topomax. Basically they have me on pain meds for when I get one until I am done BF'ing and can take the topomax again....

    Good luck...I know how much they suck!
    I have them, too, and I'm curious to see what you find out. While I was pregnant I was fortunate not to have any, but the day we came home they came back with a vengeance.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: Migraines and Prolactin

    I belive anything you can link them to ... kwim? I know there's something that keeps mine at bay when I'm nursing/pregnant and I love the reprive. the word debilitating doesn't even really describe them, does it

    I get anxious, too, thinking about weaning because I know they'll come back. I've been getting them since about 18 and I have been through this cylce every time I get pregnant, nurse and then wean and bamb they're back After I had baby #3 I found imitrex nasal spray is the only thing that works for me and I am in love and sing it's priases whenever I can.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Default Re: Migraines and Prolactin

    i wonder if estrogen plays a more important role here. It is a known (common) mediator of migraines. Might be worth a trip to either an endocrinologist or neurologist (or both).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Default Re: Migraines and Prolactin

    I have had migraines since puberty, and they changed while I was pg but didn't go away. I definitely get them fiercely before each period, that is one reason I take the mini pill to keep frmo menstruating. Cycles returned at 13 months post partum. I did notice that if I got too full or missed a feeding when DD was younger and nursing very frequently, it would trigger a migraine, but by the time I pumped/nursed the headache had a chance to take hold and I would have to medicate. Now that she is 29 months and nursing only at sleep/night time I have settled back into a mellower headache pattern, I do get them a lot and have to medicate a lot but they tend not to be as severe as before - I have only had to go to the ER once since she was born for a shot. There is definitely a connection, but getting a doc to recognize it is hard.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Default Re: Migraines and Prolactin

    I'm sorry to hear you suffer from such horrible migraines. My sister does, as well, so I see what she goes through and can sympathize with your pain. What a relief that nursing has granted you a reprieve! You have some excellent questions, and I wish I had the answers at my fingertips. I'd like to suggest that you contact a local LLL Leader and ask her specifically your question about prolactin and also about how galactogogues work. She may also not have the info readily available, but she will be able to get in touch with the Professional Liasion Department in her area at your request.

    Good luck!
    Sue
    LLL Leader

  8. #8

    Default Re: Migraines and Prolactin

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*momma2-3 View Post
    i wonder if estrogen plays a more important role here. It is a known (common) mediator of migraines. Might be worth a trip to either an endocrinologist or neurologist (or both).
    Estrogen is definitely a common culprit. For me it's fluctuations in estrogen levels that trigger them, both during ovulation and at the beginning of my period.
    Karen
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    70

    Default Re: Migraines and Prolactin

    I have made myself a reminder to come post in 3 weeks. I am going to pump at lunch...but I hate pumping so much that I am not sure how that will work. I find I subconsiously sabotage myself (saying, "yes, I'll cover for you" or letting the time slip by, etc.) Also, within that time I will have gone to my LLL meeting (if it doesn't get cancelled again due to snow).

    I do realize estrogen plays a role but I think it is the fluctauation of the estrogen for me. Prolactin suppresses estrogen I think. I wonder if a lower baseline estrogen produces a less drastic change when I go through my cycle.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Migraines and Prolactin

    I'll be very interested to see what you notice (as I pop another Imitrex ). Please do update.
    Karen
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