Hormone Help: PCOS vs Migraines
July 20, 2012 12:22 PM Subscribe
In the Red Corner, we have PCOS, a three-time champion with Special Ruptured-Cyst Attack! In the Blue Corner, we have Possibly-Hormonal Migraines, defending the title and famous as the inventor of the Icepick-To-The-Brain Technique! The winner takes home the grand prize: the right to determine whether I stay on contraceptive hormones or not. Aaaaaaand... FIGHT!
posted by Someone Else's Story to health & fitness (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have PCOS. I discovered this when I was 18, the first time I ruptured a cyst; it was one of the most painful things I'd experienced at that point, and it's happened several times since. During the diagnostic ultrasound after the first rupture, they stopped counting when they got to 45 follicular cysts on each ovary, so left unchecked I'm a veritable cyst factory. I'm on hormonal birth-control pills to suppress ovulation.
I also get migraines; no food triggers, so the doctors say they're probably caused by weather/barometric pressure, hormones (I know PCOS can itself cause migraines), or stress (including throwing my neck out as I sleep). My first winter in the city I've moved to was pure hell - from the migraine that lasted four weeks straight from Thanksgiving, to a month with only five days free of migraine symptoms.
I finally found a triptan that works for me, which is great, but none of the preventatives I've tried have been successful. If we can't find a way of preventing the migraines, we may have to look at moving elsewhere, despite my partner's dream job being here.
In desperately trying to find something that worked for the migraines, I've talked to a bunch of traditional and alternative health practitioners. While compiling info for them, I realised that the migraines started the same year I started the contraceptive pills. Correlation may not be causation, but with people constantly implicating "hormones" in the migraines, it seemed worth mentioning.
Having put this to the healthcare team, several of them want me off the hormones, to see if that's a factor in the migraines. Lots of threads here suggest that would be worth trying; migraines are a known side-effect of the Pill. However, when I remind the doctors that the hormones are all that stand between me and more ovarian cysts, they're stumped. No-one yet has been able to suggest a non-hormonal way of suppressing ovulation.
I'd consider an ovariectomy/ovariohysterectomy since I don't want children, but my hormones are already borked; removal of the ovaries carries serious risks in that regard. I doubt I'd be able to find someone willing to do it anyway, for this reason.
I haven't talked to an endocrinologist or a gynaecologist yet (that's next, when I get back from a trip to my Former City), but I'd love to know of any possibilities that I can ask them about. So does anyone know of a viable solution, or am I stuck between a non-ovulatory rock and a horribly headachy hard place?