Endometriosis and Migraine

I need to confess, I never made it easy for the doctors. There I came along, talking about dizziness, visual disturbances, sensory disturbances and word finding disturbances, especially shortly before the period - without any headaches at all. That's not what the textbooks say. No pharmaceutical representative talks about this. There is only one logical conclusion that someone with a scientific degree can draw:
It is all in her head!

Or to put it in the words of my neurologist:

"You read too much".

It was the biography of the English writer Hilary Mantel, Giving up the Ghost: A memoir, which had enlightened me. Mantel is an endometriosis patient herself. And she too has always suffered from migraines without headaches. It took years to find out. Years in which she for instance was put into a psychiatric ward because of the symptoms and pumped full of strong psychotropic drugs until she couldn't take it any more.

When Hormones are falling

I suspect charitable causes that led my body to eventually co-develop the headache - probably out of empathy with the doctors... It was an ENT that brought migraine on the plate from the doctors' side for the first time. And then I had the unspeakable luck to be able to deliver something "solid": visual disturbances. The family doctor examined for stroke what she could quickly rule out. When I called her the next day and said that the vision problems were gone, but now I had a headache, she also concluded: "Sounds like a migraine". In a subsequent MRI, thank God, no tumor or the like was found.

I still do not have an official diagnosis of hormone-induced migraine from a neurologist. I operate rather on the basis of astonished assumptions made by doctors from other disciplines. I know it for myself, however, because the attacks - with or without headaches - either occur in the middle of the cycle or shortly before menstruation. So I digged into the topic and found a very worth reading article, in which among other things it states:

The natural premenstrual decrease of the serum estrogen and serum progestin levels seems to act as a trigger. (2.)

As an experienced endometriosis patient, there was of course one question that kept me busy:

Is there a connection between Endometriosis and Migraine?

In 2004, a study found that women with Endometriosis had twice the risk of developing Migraine as women without Endometriosis. (1.) It is suspected that a genetic factor may be responsible for the regulation of Nitric Oxide. This acts on the blood vessels in such a way that inflammation occurs and widens them. Nitric Oxide is also produced in endometriotic lesions.

A study on Migraine and Endometriosis in adolescents was published in 2018. It was found:

  •     Nearly 70% of adolescent patients with Endometriosis also suffered from Migraine
  •     30.7 % of female subjects without Endometriosis suffered from Migraine
  •     There is a relationship between the intensity of pain of Migraine and the likelihood of Endometriosis.

The following recommendation of the scientists makes me chuckle:

Endometriosis patients should be examined for signs of migraine and migraine patients for signs of endometriosis in order to detect and treat concomitant diseases earlier.

Yes, sure. Talk to your doctors about it. I bet it's only a matter of time before the next patient is told:

"You read too much" ...

This article does not replace the advice of a doctor!

1. Deutsche Apotheker-Zeitung: Endometriose und Migräne hängen zusammen. www.deutsche-apotheker-zeitung.de. 07.11.2004. https://www.deutsche-apotheker-zeitung.de/daz-az/2004/daz-46-2004/uid-12927 (last accessed: 17. August 2019).
2. https://www.dr-nabielek.de/gynaekologie/gutartige-erkrankungen/migraene (last accessed: 17. August 2019).

3.Deutsches Gesundheitsportal: Gibt es einen Zusammenhang zwischen Migräne und Endometriose bei Jugendlichen? 18.06.2018 https://www.deutschesgesundheitsportal.de/2018/06/18/gibt-es-einen-zusammenhang-zwischen-migraene-und-endometriose-bei-jugendlichen-2/ (last accessed: 17. August 2019).


Image made with Canva