Birth Control, Migraine, And Headaches : What’s The Link?

birth control and headaches

Most women experience headaches during certain parts of their menstrual cycle. The headaches increase when certain hormones in their body increase or drop. The connection between birth control pills and headaches is also quite the same. All birth control pills work to prevent pregnancy. The way these pills function could be different in each case. In some cases, the pills prevent the egg from being released from the ovaries. In other cases, the eggs are prevented from combining with the sperms. The hormone released in each case could be different and so the effect of these birth control pills on the user would also be different.

Migraine and Birth Control Pills

Women who suffer from migraine issues may have problems when they use birth control pills that contain oestrogen. The increased levels of oestrogen are known to cause attacks of migraine in sufferers. This is the reason why contraceptive pills need to be selected based on your health condition.

It has been observed that women who consume combination birth control pills are more susceptible to headaches and migraine attacks. The combination birth control pills include active hormone pills for 3 weeks and inactive pills for one week. When the woman is consuming the inactive or placebo pills, the oestrogen levels in her body drops suddenly. This can cause a migraine attack. This could be the body’s reaction to hormonal swings.

What to do when Combination Birth Control Pills Cause Headaches?

Combination pills cause headaches when the placebo pills are taken by the patient. A good option would be to avoid taking placebo pills completely and take active pills continually. If the combination pills do not suit you, you may also consider taking some other kind of contraception instead.

There are mini pills or progesterone-only contraceptive pills that you may consider as an alternative. Since this pill does not release any oestrogen, the chances of headaches are reduced when you are on these pills.

There are certain pills referred to as 3 months pills that cause the drop in hormones only once in hormones. Choosing these over the combination pills can help you delay the hormone swings for 3 months and thus reduce the frequency of headaches caused by the swings.

Birth control pills are not the only alternatives to prevent pregnancy. There are several other options in birth control and you need to explore the best alternative that suits your health.

Do Contraceptive Pills Also Help to Relieve Headaches in Some?

In some cases, contraceptive pills have also been observed to relieve headaches in women. Contraceptive pills contain a regular dose of hormones. Women who have contraceptive pills, therefore, have a steady amount of hormone in their bodies. This prevents swings in hormone levels that may occur naturally during each menstrual cycle. Since the swings cause headaches in women, the hormone pills can help to relieve symptoms of headaches and migraines in some women. Understanding how a birth control pill will affect your health is the key to choosing the right birth control measures.

Women with Migraines should Know the Risks Involved in Using Birth Control Pills

There could be many side effects of birth control pills. Some of the side effects are more prominent in women who have migraines. You need to be aware of these and then decide whether you must use the pill to prevent pregnancy:

  • Researches have revealed that women with migraine have a higher chance of getting a stroke if they use birth control tablets. The risk is particularly increased for women who have migraines combined with aura.
  • Women who have migraines with aura and use birth control pills that contain oestrogen stand a higher chance of stroke if they are obese.
  • Age is another factor that may increase health risks, particularly if the woman is above 40 years of age.
  • Women with a family history of stroke also stand a higher chance.
  • Women with issues of high blood pressure also stand a higher chance of getting a stroke if they use birth control medicines that contain oestrogen.

Women who encounter such side effects may choose oestrogen free or low oestrogen medicines to reduce the adverse effects while helping to prevent pregnancy.

Severe headaches and migraines are different. Migraines usually occur along with a host of other symptoms like visual auras, sensitivity to light, nausea, and vomiting. You may have to consult a doctor if you are not sure whether it is a severe headache or a case of migraine.

Other Birth Control Methods to Rely On

If birth control pills are not suiting you, you may rely on other birth control measures. There are many different ways in which you can prevent the occurrence of unwanted pregnancy. Here we have listed out the different alternatives for you to choose from:


Condoms are available for men as well as women as birth control measures. Female condoms resemble a sheath and have one end closed like a cup to cover the cervix. The other end is open to allow the penetration to happen. These are convenient options when you wish to prevent pregnancy.

Birth Control Patches

Birth control patches also release hormones into the body. These need to be changed every week. They work effectively to prevent pregnancy.


Women who are seeking long-term birth control options should choose IUD (Intra-Uterine Device). These need to be inserted into the vagina in order to prevent pregnancy. Copper IUD and Hormonal IUD are the two variants in these.


Women who have already had the necessary number of offsprings may consider sterilization as an effective method to prevent pregnancy. The problem with this method is that you can never get pregnant once your organs have been sterilized. So, you need to make your choices wisely.

Birth control choices need to be made after a lot of trial and error. You may not arrive at the best birth control option instantly. You need to check the different options available and pick the one that best suits your health.