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How Surgery Cured Me of Migraine Headaches

Excedrin, Excedrin Pm, Migraine Headaches, White Pants

Migraine headaches have for years disrupted my quality of life. I have vivid memories of the excruciating pain that overcame me, especially during the summer on hot, humid days. Later on, as I became an adult, the migraine headaches relentlessly continued on. They were especially disabling during my menstrual cycle, as according to my doctor, the migraine headaches are hormonally fueled. Sure enough, every month, like clockwork, they would come. Unremitting pain, light sensitivity, nausea and dizziness. It was all I could do, just to open my eyes. Between my disabling menstrual cramps coupled with the migraine headaches, I dreaded my periods more than anything.

Taking medication took the edge off somewhat to the point where I didn’t feel like I was having a stroke, every time I got a migraine headache, but the pain, nevertheless, was still present. I feared the heavy duty prescription drugs that were offered to me – the same ones that my friend took which caused her to immediately throw up after taking it, because of all the side effects. She did experience great relief from her migraine headache after the initial throwing up from the medication stopped, however. I still preferred a more conservative approach to my headaches. Over the counter pain medication was my preferred treatment for my migraine headaches. I must say that my discovery of Excedrin Migraine made a big difference in how my pain was managed. After taking the recommended dose of 2 tablets, the pain, after about 30 minutes subsided enough that I could get on with my activities of daily living in a semi-normal fashion. The migraine headaches along with horrific menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding from my periods continued on for years. The heavy bleeding from my periods caused me to become anemic. I pressed on though with migraines and bad periods for years. My doctor suggested a hormonal patch to curtail the bleeding, but I declined. I would tough it out. Anyway, the bleeding continued and got so bad that one day at work, in front of about 10 of my colleagues, I bled all over my chair and white pants. I am a nurse and where white pants everyday to work. To say that I was totally mortified is an understatement. Back to the doctor I go. We decided that since I was in my forties and I was not planning on having any more children, I would have a total hysterectomy, including removal of my ovaries.

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As I waiting on my gurney to go into the operating room scared to death that I would have a heart attack and die on the table, I small talked with my surgeon. I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was talking about because I was paralyzed with fear. He was talking about dogs or something, as he knew I was a dog lover, having a St. Bernard and Newfoundland. He did ask me how I was feeling though. As luck would have it, I had a migraine headache that morning, due in part because I was not able to drink any coffee that morning because I was having surgery, and coffee contains caffeine which is one of the active ingredients in Excedrin Migraine and usually helps take the edge off my painful migraines. Anyway, after I told him that I had a migraine headache, he said, “guess what, you’ll probably never get another migraine headache again after your hysterectomy.” What!
I thought I heard him wrong, seeings that I was in a preoperative drug induced, anxiety ridden fog. Why in the world would I never get another migraine headache after my hysterectomy? He explained that the ovaries produce the body’s main source of the hormone estrogen. When the ovaries are removed, estrogen production is greatly decreased. What fuels migraine headaches? In my case it was the hormones. So you see, no hormones, no migraines. I thought it was too good to be true. Now some migraine headache can be triggered from certain foods like chocolate, red wine or aged cheeses, but in my case it was purely a hormonal thing since I only got migraine headaches during the time of my menstrual cycle.

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My doctor was right. It’s been over 2 years since my total hysterectomy and I have not, I repeat Have Not had a single migraine headache. Not one. This is not to say that all types of hysterectomies will alleviate migraines. Unless the ovaries are removed during the procedure and not just the uterus, estrogen production will still be in force.

I would never have dreamed that having my ovaries removed would have alleviated my migraine headaches. It did, and I don’t miss them – the ovaries or the migraines.