Monday, November 23, 2009

Reminder to Self: RELAX

Female Cycle and Endorphins

Not too great of a weekend. This latest pancreatitis exacerbation has left me with fatigue that won't stop and pain that won't let me sleep. I am going to take another trammadol in a few minutes to see if that will let the mind/pain connection break. Am drinking a lot of Ensure, it's really expensive. I think it would be cheaper to have alcoholic pancreatitis so I could QUIT buying something instead of adding to the pile of remedies.

The Headache is behaving itself this weekend. I've had to change the stimulator settings a few times, but it's done a pretty good job. I've not had to medicate for head pain at all, with The Headache staying at a tolerable 3 out of 10.

Thinking of migraines and how mine followed my monthly cycle and disappeared with the removal of my ovaries. I was wondering if your body's natural endorphins (I know of one dedicated cyclist that works dreadfully hard to maximize her natural endorphins) are effected by ovulation and menstruation. Endorphins are your body's natural pain killers.

I found a research article by Kathy Lemley of Marquette concerning the relationship between excercise, endorphins, and pain perception. She states on page 12 that a study found that certain endorphins are slightly lower in the luteal (last) phase of the menstrual cycle. This stage occurs after the folicle stimulation hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) spike dramatically with ovulation. Strangely enough, drugs which are used for fertility treatment to increase FSH & LH levels have a less common side effect of severe, throbbing headaches. A study in Egypt showed a correlation between higher FSH and LH levels with female migraine patients vs. controls. Male migrainuers exhibited higher FSH levels than the controls.

Since perimenopause/menopause can cause extreme fluctuations of reproductive hormones, I wonder if this is why some women experience flares of uncontrollable migraines during this period of their reproductive lives, while others get complete relief of migraines. I also wonder if there is a connection between LH and FSH and migraine severity and controllability. There is also a corresponding spike in progesterone levels in the luteal phase, and I know from the type of endometrial cancer I had that I did not have proper progeterone levels.

Didn't see a lot of literature out there, perhaps this has been explored and found to be a dead end? Strange roads the internet leads you down some nights! I will probably wake up in the morning and wonder what wacky drug mediated thought process was going on with this post!

Hope you all have a pain free Thanksgiving week, and safe travels, and that your migraines will behave!


  1. I'm sure for some of us the hormonal swing has a lot to do with the stimulation or lack of migraine disease. Mine were never cyclical in nature. They preferred to be spontaneous and just hit me when I had the biggest plans or most important events coming up. Of course, most of my diagnoses behave - or misbehave - the same way. That's why I have atypical facial doesn't behave the way facial pain should. That's me, a big old anomaly.

  2. It's very tough when you don't have identifying triggers! Sometimes you feel like your headache is just a spoiler waiting to pounce at the most inconvenient moment.

    Mine were cyclical plus I had a myriad of triggers, sometimes just stress or lack of sleep were enough. Got rid of migraines when I had a hysterectomy, got the hemicrania going on when I had a pancreatic sphincterotomy - I had almost 3 years of complete freedom from headaches, the best I have had since I was a teenager.