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Have you ever found yourself cradling your head in your hands because of a post-period migraine?

Well a new study in Headache- the Journal of Head And Face Pain claims that women get such headaches after their menstrual cycle ends because of the amount of blood loss they experience during the month.

By investigating the medical records of 115 women who had menstrual-related migraines, Headache found 85 percent of women had migraines while they had their periods, while 35 percent experienced migraines after their cycles ended. Those who had end-of-cycle migraines shared that their headaches usually lasted for two-and-a-half days.

The reason women had such pain was because of low levels of ferritin (a protein in the blood that contains iron). “According to the researchers, these low iron levels could result from menstrual blood loss and interfere with the neurotransmitter dopamine. They concluded that end-menstrual migraines probably come from anemia, not drops in the hormone estradiol (as was previously theorized),” Glamour wrote.

Kathleen Digre, MD, said in an interview with Med Page Todaythat despite this study claiming migraines are triggered by the lack of iron a woman has, typically, period-related headaches are triggered by the fluctuation of hormones. Therefore, making it difficult to pinpoint what actually causes them.

To be on the safe side, it’s recommended that women who experience a lot of blood loss during their menstrual cycle, exercise and eat iron-fueled food such as lamb, dark greens or whole grains. Eating these foods will help balance your hormones and keep your iron levels up.

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