Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cure for a Headache?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Ever had a migraine? I wish I could see your hands going up. I did, years ago, had them all the time and they are awful. They aren’t just headaches. They’re—brutal. (Happily, knock on wood, mine went away.) So I was sad to hear that the brilliant and adorable Kendel Lynn had migraines. Not as sad as she was, of course. But now she’s discovered…well, let her tell you.

Why didn’t someone tell me sooner?
                                by Kendel Lynn

I recently received the cure to my migraines. Maybe not a cure, but an 80% reduction. For someone with migraines occurring 25-27 days per month for the last 2 years, an 80% reduction is a cure. As I marveled over this miracle, I thought, why didn’t someone tell me sooner! Good Lord in heaven, why aren’t people shouting from the rooftops and splashing it all over social media? As a writer, a researcher, and a human with an internet connection, I’ve spent many an hour/day/desperate 2 a.m. effort to find such a cure.

Then I realized, I’m not spreading the word, either. So here I am, sharing it with you. Yes, in my world, a single Jungle Reds post is rooftop shouting.

My headaches started two years and quickly flipped from two or three days with a headache to two or three days per month without. Over the course of 18 months (using my acute detective skills and the help of a handful of doctors), I/we ruled out sinus headaches, tension headaches, stress headaches. Eye strain? (New prescription, I now need 3 different glasses to get through 1 day, but nope.) Teeth grinding? (New mouth guard, I sleep better, but nope.) Then a neurologist promptly and precisely handed down his diagnosis, including the ailment and the origin.
Migraines and perimenopause. Migraines? Really? Wait, what the? I’d never heard of perimenopause. My fingers did their keyboard tapping and there’s so much good news! Frequent fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, hot flashes and warm flushes. (As a matter of fact, I do spend half my day asking if it’s warm in the office.) The best part? It lasts up to ten years! Hallelujah, PTL!

Firstly and foremostly, I tested and eliminated triggers: chocolate (oh how I wish it weren’t so), high doses of sugar (goodbye cupcakes for breakfast), and even went gluten-free (not entirely sure this helps, so I’m gluten-free-adjacent).

 But it was a suggestion from a friend of a friend who suggested the cure: 250 mg of magnesium daily. That’s it. It took about 2 to 3 weeks to replenish my system, and my migraines now only occur about 3 or 4 times per month, and only last a couple days each.

I’m not going to lie. The last 2 years have been a struggle. Along with writing (my latest book came out last week!) and all that goes with it, I also run the editorial department at Henery Press, a publishing house I co-own. Which means all kinds of entrepreneurial and business items must be handled daily. And because a simple 65-hour work week wasn’t enough,

 I started a new chapter of Sisters in Crime (North Dallas), and currently serve as its president. (The 1.5 hour drive to Ft. Worth was way too long, so starting a new chapter from scratch seemed the obvious answer.) I always get my work done (I am a Capricorn), but sometimes it takes a little longer. Some days are 12 hour days instead of 8, some days I just have to go home.

I’ve learned to cut myself slack, let myself off the hook, give myself a break. I can only do so much and I can’t feel guilty or stressed because I don’t feel well and things slip by. Oh yeah, there’s mild forgetfulness and depression wrapped up in perimenopause, too (the hallelujahs just keep on coming).

I find this experience isolating, but I know I'm not alone. I’m surrounded by a village. My partner who often does so much more than his fair share, a bff at the ready to talk me off the ledge, a caring staff to make me feel special when I'm having a particularly bad day (like for my birthday at my favorite PF Chang’s!).

Magnesium may not work for everyone, but it’ll help someone. It helped me and I’m forever grateful and I’m passing it on. So tell me, my peri/post/full-blown menopausal sisters, any miracle cures you'd like to pass on? Advice, tips, tricks? Something to boost my sagging metabolism so I can finally lose these extra 5 lbs I've been dragging around? (Full disclosure: it's closer to 15 lbs.) Fine. (Actual full disclosure: it's damn near north of 20 now.)

Thank you, Reds, for hosting me, and thanks to you and your readers for listening and advising and letting me rooftop shout. Today one commenter wins double: Two (SIGNED!) Board Stiffs for the price of one (free)! The first Board Stiff (an Elliott Lisbon Mystery) is by me, and the second Board Stiff (a Dead-End Job Mystery) is by one of the nicest and most genuinely funny people, Elaine Viets.

HANK: So, Reds. It may be a first ever—but it’s headache day at Jungle Red. Anyone? 

(And my tips? Ah. No "white" food. Bread, pasta,  rice, potatoes. And for me, that meant even no white wine. And water water water. I could tell my migraines were coming because my shoulder would start to hurt. So weird!)  

Kendel Lynn is a Southern California native who now parks her flip-flops in Dallas, Texas. Her debut novel, Board Stiff, was an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel. It features Elliott Lisbon, a mostly amateur sleuth who has a slight aversion to all things germy and is only five thousand hours away from getting her South Carolina PI license. The latest, Swan Dive, released last week! Along with writing, Kendel spends her days as Managing Editor of Henery Press editing, designing, and reading subs from the slush pile.


  1. Migraines . . . oh, the agony.
    For several years I really had no clue as to what would help; I think I tried every remedy known to man. For me, the answer was Excedrin Migraine; if I take just one as soon as the headache begins, it usually goes away. Hallelujah! Generally, I avoid taking medicine as much as possible, but I’ve learned to make an exception for the migraines.
    I’m so sorry to hear that you are plagued with migraines, Kendel . . . I'm glad you’ve found something that helps.
    [By the way, if you find the answer to how to lose those last five pounds, please share!]

  2. Migraines-- I started getting them as a child, and had them up until my thirties, when I learned to recognize the triggers (no one ever told me about this). For example, I can't be around too much yellow. Guess whose room freshman year in college was yellow. Guess who had migraines all that year.

    Instinct is a good thing. I wound up hanging a blue and white striped bedspread (I had an extra) over one wall (not easy with just masking tape) and tried to face that wall as much as possible. (The girl who got that room the next year said to me, "I never realized it was yellow!")

    When you feel a trigger taking effect, you MUST retreat to a dark room, lie down, take aspirin or something like that, and take a nap. If you do that, sometimes you can stave it off. At least, that's what I've found.

    If I get the start of a headache and it comes with chills, I head for a darkened bedroom. I have successfully warded them off for about 25 years now.

  3. I used to get allergic migraines. Every two years in the spring, then they went away and I started again and detective that I am traced them to chocolate. It could be worse, it could be dairy!

  4. Sorry about your headaches! I get them too--going to try your idea. and thanks!

  5. I've added your magnesium cure to my storehouse of Dr Mom knowledge. Hot flashes? wear layers and stick one foot outside your bedcovers at night.

  6. Welcome, Kendel! So sorry to hear about your migraines.... I get them, too, but not as often. This is going to sound crazy, but my go-to cure is excedrin taken with coca-cola. Something about the pain reliever, plus huge dose of caffeine, plus sugar... In all seriousness, the caffeine is key, I believe.

  7. Margaret: "stick one foot outside your bedcovers at night" -- And I thought I was the only one!

    My heartfelt sympathies to migraine-sufferers.

    The closest I get to migraines are nausea-inducing pounders that accompany drastic weather changes. Fortunately aspirin (if I take it early enough) heads(!) it off.

  8. I got them for many years, starting when I was around 11 years old. When I was in my twenties my doctor had me try out several different kinds of medications but nothing helped. Over the years I sometimes found mild relief from going home and lying down in a dark, cool room; sometimes that didn't help at all. Then I tried just staying at work and trying to work through the pain. If I had something to do, it "almost" took my mind off the pain, which still took a few days to go away. Then, in my fifties, I developed high blood pressure, and was put on beta blockers. I have not had one since, hallelujah! I feel badly for all the people who have not been able to come up with a trigger or a cure. My best friend's daughter struggles with them every single day, and has my deepest sympathy.

  9. I suffer from migraines as well, obviously for a different reason. I have had them my entire life. Not nearly as often as you mention Kendel, but certainly a few times a month (lasting a few days each).

    It's not fun.

    I have found that if I catch it soon enough, a chocolate-covered coffee bean can knock it out. Most of the migraine medications are caffeine based, so this is a nice alternative to pills.

    Triggers for me include: too much chocolate, red wine, MSG (mostly from Chinese food), and not enough sleep.

    I will say that at least for me, they have gotten better as I aged (which is what the doctors always told me), so I am thankful for that.

    Glad that you seem to have found something that works for you. And I can certainly understand how you would call this a "cure."

  10. Susan - I completely agree about the Excedrin and the caffeinated soda. Excedrin is the only medication that seems to work for me - and again, I have to catch it at the right time.

    As for soda, if I don't have some caffeine every day (usually in the form of soda for me), I will get a migraine. I have weened myself off it in the past (painfully), but at some point you just have to embrace what works.

    (Try the chocolate-covered coffee beans).

  11. I am sorry to read this, because migraines are a horror.

    Tips, the 5 pounds. Forget about it. I believe the human body knows what it is doing sometimes, and women get the extra cushion around the middle in midlife/during menopause because the body needs it. And unless it's physically bothering you, worrying over a few pounds is so unimportant in the grand scheme.

    Home headache advice: I can tell when a headache might blow up into a big one, so I pop 4 Advil as soon as I feel a special one coming one. In addition to the lights and sounds going down, an icepack on your forehead and another on the back of your neck does wonders. It's my favorite cure.

    Thanks for writing this. I had debilatatiing headaches for a while and they are a misery. Good luck!

  12. I went through very brief (thankfully) period of intense headaches that, if they weren't migraines, were close enough. Shot-gunning a can or three of Coca-Cola was my trick. Yes, I think it's the caffeine and the sugar. Since I rarely drink soft drinks otherwise, I didn't feel guilty.

    And while I am more than occasionally way too hot at night, I'm pretty sure that's my husband leaving the electric blanket on too long. =)

  13. I hear you on the Excedrin Migraine -- but it has too much caffeine for me (about a full cup of coffee, which for a fun fact: I can't drink that much in one sitting. Gives me that shaky/jittery/skin crawling feeling -- boy I'm full of TMI today!). So I created my own Excedrin Migraine formula: 2 Tylenol, 2 Bufferin (asprin) and half a cup of half caff. It works.

    I admit the prescrption painkillers scared me. When side effects include the words suicidal and homicidal, I'm out. (Though I'm not judging. I know some of those meds are the only things that work for some folks. You do what you got to do.)

  14. Ramona, I forgot about the ice packs! Yes, those help so much. I've got them at home and the office, just in case. Same with Pepsi, keep cans in my home fridge and office fridge, a jolt of sugar and caffeine can ward one off.

    It's all so exhausting, analyzing every movement of the day. What's my next trigger? What did I eat? Is it the weather patterns? Too much Pepsi? Not enough?

    For those of you with the migraines and the meno, how long did they last? I'm happy to have them reduced to only a handful a month, but I'm hoping this doesn't last forever...

  15. Gosh, I haven't had one for 20 years… Knock on every piece of wood available. When my shoulder started to hurt… And I can still remember it… I used to take something called Cafergot. Thing was, you had to take it *before* you got the migraine. Never a dull moment. It was kind of miraculous. I'm sure it has to do with caffeine, right? And yes Diet Coke and aspirin. When I have them, I don't think Advil existed. Can that be?

  16. Try anything. That's my advice. As a lifelong migraineur, the daughter and granddaughter of the same, I feel your pain! An ice pack tied tightly around the head with a nice, long scarf helps (my grandmother used to use a diaper as a wrap). There are also some essential oils like lavender, frankincense, and peppermint that are somewhat helpful. Sometimes you have to go with the prescription meds, whether you want to or not. There are so many different ones, some with no side effects, some that don't work, some that scare the hell out of you… but your doctor would know. In the meantime, I'm glad the magnesium is helping! Feverfew is another natural substance that some people have found helpful. Sending sympathetic hugs!

  17. When I was in my twenties, I started having migraines. I had always had headaches, but as all of you migraine sufferers know, a migraine is Godzilla to the lowly lizard of regular headache. It really didn't seem fair at all that I had suffered from severe menstrual cramps for years and now a new form of pain torture showed up. I can remember one particular instance in my husband and I were on vacation, and, of course, a migraine struck. I had prescription pain medicine, but as Kristopher noted, you really do have to catch the migraine before it becomes a raging bull. I was in so much pain that I was begging my husband to knock me out, which, of course, he wasn't going to do. Not sure how I got through that one, but I did.

    I began to have scotomas as a precursor to the migraines. The first one I had scared me half to death. A scotoma, or scintillating scotoma in the case of a migraine, is quite simply a loss of central vision in your eye(s). For me, it begins with a flickering little line or zig zag that it more apparent when I close my eyes. It progresses into a blind spot in the middle of my vision surrounded by a jagged border. It lasts up to 30 minutes, and you are effectively blind in the sense that you cannot focus your vision on anything. There is some peripheral vision, but it is like background noise, nothing you can grab hold of to see. So, I would know when a migraine was coming after these started. Then, after some years, the headache part stopped, and just the scotoma part would occur.

    So, by my mid to late thirties, I was having the occasional scotoma, which did concern me in driving any distance, since I didn't know when one would show up. Now, I only have a scotoma about 5 or 6 times a year, and they usually only lasts a few minutes. I do have the occasional headache that wants to venture over into the migraine area, but nothing like the ones in my earlier years. Like several of you have mentioned, I was delighted to find Excedrin Migraine about five years ago (?), which, when taken at the beginning of the headache, works wonders.

    Sorry, I kind of got carried away with my migraine history. Oh, Ellen, you are so right about the darkened room and trying to get yourself into a nap to avoid the event (and the Excedrin Migraine is important, too). And, Margaret, thanks for the tip about one foot out of the covers for hot flashes.

    Kendel, thanks for bringing up a topic with which so many here can identify. I so hope that those of you who are struggling with the monster migraine on a frequent basis can gain some helpful information from everyone else's stories. Kendel, so glad that you have found relief. I will be checking into your new book.

    And, I'd love to know if anyone else here has had or has the scotoma, visual loss part of the migraine.

  18. I've been lucky. I've had two in my life. The first time, at the office. I got the flashing lights so bad I couldn't see what I was working on. I was trying to peer around the lights! Went to an eye doctor immediately and he told me I had a classic migraine.
    I don't know if it works but I've heard you should instigate brain freeze by eating ice cream or soeething else super cold. That is supposed to nip it in the bud. Love Henery Press!

  19. Kendel, I'm so, so happy you've found something that works for you! *sigh* I came home and tried it myself, only to find that I immediately suffered the side effects we discussed. Then I read the nutrient info on my typical breakfast (Greek yogurt, blueberries, chia seeds, almonds, and granola) and discovered I'm getting half the magnesium I need for a day at breakfast.

    I guess I'll keep popping the prescription meds when I feel a migraine coming one--though thankfully that's not as often as it used to be.

    Likely because I'm now getting enough dietary magnesium.:)

  20. I can't handle the amount of caffeine in Excedrine, either. I love coffee, but drink it slowly. I can't handle too much caffeine at once.

    When I get a migraine (I got my first one when I was 10), I take Anacin (or Bayer Back and Body, which has the same ingredients). It is Aspirin plus half the amount of caffeine in Excedrine. I usually pair that with a couple ibuprofen.

    Thanks for the tip! I will definitely try it out!

  21. For the sake of all of us who love Henery Press, I'm so glad you have found a solution.
    Quirkily, my migraines stopped with menopause.
    I remember well those days of sitting on the sofa with my head resting on the back and my eyes closed, hoping the kids wouldn't have an emergency.

  22. Kendel, so sorry to hear about your migraines! I've never had an actual migraine--flashing lights, jagged vision--but used to have really severe headaches. Still do, occasionally, and swear by Alleve and a nap. Going to sleep for even a few minutes seems to be essential.

    Red wine and oaked white wines seem to be triggers for me. And MSG. I've been really careful for years about avoiding MSG and other food additives, and white stuff in general, so don't know if that has helped reduce headaches, or if it's just getting older. (There should be some benefits to getting older, right?)

    Congrats on the new book! Oh, and if you find a cure for that stubborn five (or ten) pounds, let me know:-)

  23. I am lucky; I've only suffered a few migraines in my life. I feel for anybody who deals with them regularly, because they knocked the spunkiness right out of me! I was curled up in bed (with one foot out) for the next several hours. And popping Advil by the handful.

    Kathy, I have had that scotoma, or something similar. The first time it happened, I told someone I couldn't see because "my eye just went digital." That sure freaked him out! I didn't know how else to describe it, but it sure was scary.

    Kendel, I hope this cure continues to work!

  24. Gosh, Kendel, so sorry! But now I know more than ever that you truly are Wonder Woman -- doing all you do, with that burden as well.

    I've never suffered migraines, but for several years, got terrible sinus headaches and sacral pain in March and November, when the weather changed. It's rarely an issue now, after a month of weekly cranial-sacral treatments; if I feel the symptoms start, I take a high dose of the homeopathic remedy Rus Tox and it knocks them out. So, more options to explore, if necessary.

    Some of you know Mr. Right is an acupuncturist; acupuncture can help tremendously with migraines and with hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. (Just one more reason I adore him!)

  25. It’s amazing how many people suffer from migraines, and friends! I never knew. So I’m definitely not alone in this. Mine rarely get to the devastating can’t function in light stage, but they tend to be constant, lasting for days. Diane, I didn’t know that about the scotoma! I’ve never had that and hope I never do. And Leslie, I tried acupuncture. Which was crazy radical for me (and daring), but it didn’t help. If it had, I’d still be going.

    As for those stubborn pounds, I try so hard to ignore them, but it’s very difficult. They toy with me, and it’s just one more thing to deal with. I keep hoping someone will pop on here and say, take zinc or green skittles, works wonders for your metabolism...

  26. Migraines. Yikes. I remember getting myself to the doctor with one (I think I went so they could remove the ice pick from my brain) and them not letting me leave. They'll called my husband, told him he needed to come right away, then refused to release medical information. Poor man thought I was dying.

    Dark room, Excedrin, caffeine...and for me, to avoid them in the first place, careful control of hormones.

  27. Sympathy from a fellow sufferer (former). Yes, catching them early seems to be key. Mine seemed to come from a combination of triggers, with changing weather being key.

    A friend recommended mixing coke and pepsi - apparently together they have a whole slew of minerals. Seemed to work. Also at the warding off stage, I found eating an old-fashioned meal of meat and veggies really helped.

    And yes, retreating to a darkened room, however much work you have to do. Nothing is more important than your health, after all. Take care!

  28. Forgive me if this has been mentioned, but I do wonder if writer types may be more prone to migraines ... I get one bad one once a month that lasts for five days. I take prescription meds every night to reduce the severity of them and then prescript meds when one hits (Maxalt) most of the time I can function - somewhat. About once a year I get one where I am in bed all day vomiting and trying not to tear chunks of my hair out of my head!!! I may try the magnesium again .. I remember trying it once before. I'm going to share this post with some migraine suffering friends, such as Terri Bischoff and Dan Malmon. Thanks xx

  29. Great post-- my neurologist put me on magnesium, riboflavin (B2) and butterbur. All are helping. Good luck!

  30. There's something appealing (to the junk food junkie in me) about a mixture of Coke and Pepsi to make a migraine better! I must try that one. I've stayed away from fake sugars (never really drank diet sodas. Why, when a tasty sugary Pepsi is available?), MSG and chocolate. Though I've had people say super dark chocolate helps get rid of a migraine.

    Kristi, please share -- really everyone, share. Magnesium changed my life. Going from nearly daily non-stop pain for two years, to only a few bouts a month has been heavenly!

  31. You have my sympathy, migraines are miserable. When I was pregnant with my son I experienced morning sickness, instead I had migraines. Back then no drugs were allowed during pregnancy and all I could do was lie down in a dark room for the rest of the day. Luckily they stopped by my third trimester. These days I only have to deal with Optical Migraines where my vision is impacted for 10 to 15 minutes but there is no pain. I am glad you found a solution that works for you.

  32. Knock on wood, I've never had a migraine. I certainly sympathize with all of you who suffer with them.

    I had to share how much I love Henery Press and their great authors. They are so much fun.

    And I drink my tea out of a gorgeous Henery mug every morning. You guys rock!

  33. I have a migraine as I type this. I had my first one in graduate school. I had them sporadically, and could never find a trigger. As I've aged I found a trigger and unfortunately, it's hormonal. Ugh. I wish I could quit that! Lately, they've gotten more frequent. I have prescription meds and use essential oils, both of which help. I'm probably in perimenopause as well. I'll have to try the magnesium!

  34. For a few years, my hypoglycemia showed itself in a migraine. I would just have to take pain medicine, find the darkest room, and sleep it off. Now, I only get the eye issues that sometimes precede a migraine. I just drink plenty of water.

  35. I have a friend who has had severe migraines most days of the month for the past three years. She has tried many things but I have never heard her mention magnesium. I will pass your article along to her. Thank you.

  36. Back from my library event in Boca Raton… It was fabulous! And so happy to see you all talking about this…isn't it brave of Kendel to bring this up? And how revealing it is to see how we all share this situation ...

  37. It's very revealing how many share this situation. I never knew perimenopause (existed) caused migraines until my neurologist told me. Next stop, my gyn, who told me I was not perimenopausal, too young (early 40s), until a week later when my blood work came back and she said yep, you're peri. Knowing the source was a relief. Finding out it's a ten year gig, not so much...

  38. I get migraines too. My daughter in law's mother said if you drink a soda with potato chips it would help the migraine. I tried it and it didn't work. I can take 3 Excedrin Migraine and it will help most of the time. If that doesn't work, I have a prescription. I don't like to take it because it makes me feel strange. I too know that chocolate will trigger it and so will cheese. I don't drink wine, but that is supposed to be a trigger too. I will give the magnesium a try.

  39. Thank you all for sharing your stories and remedies with me. I appreciate the Reds, especially Hank, for letting me rooftop shout my magnesium tip. I hope it works for everyone who tries it. And if not, maybe another tidbit came out today that may ease someone's pain. I'm grateful for such a warm and open community!

  40. Kendel, you are fabulous. And thank you all, reds, for a wonderful day… My heart goes out to all of you, and I am so happy to know you.

  41. I missed migraine day with Reds?

    I didn't know that I had migraines until took a neurobiology of disease class. We spent two weeks studying migraines. The course director brought in two specialists who, in turn, brought two specialists of their own for a day during the second week.

    One of the speakers was a migraine specialist from a Boston hospital who'd had migraines, himself, since childhood. He brought in an expert (as if he wasn't enough of an expert) from England.

    By the end of the class that day I knew that my occasional "really bad headache" that kept me in bed for days with my eyes covered with a wet cloth… etc. etc. Well… I realized it wasn't just school.

    I approached the visitors and asked if I could run a case by them. They concurred with my self-diagnosis but gave me good news. Most migraines, at least the headache portion, go away during middle age.

    They were absolutely right for me, as the headache part went away within a few years and never returned (ooh ooh. fingers crossed). I was left, however with visual disturbances that lasted another few years.

    I had always been afraid to bring up these headaches with my doctors, because I had other diagnoses and I stupidly thought that no one could have this much wrong. Besides, I was sure they were just due to school.

    Immediately, however, they improved when I told my epileptologist who changed my seizure med to one that was also used to treat the type of seizures I have.

    My triggers are bright light and bright colors. I didn't have to give up chocolate or anything good. I just had to throw away my neon Post-Its.

  42. Kendel, I'm even more amazed at all you do while suffering with migraines! And you're always so supportive of us hens at Henery. My first headache came when I saw jagged lights running down the newspaper I was reading. I thought I had a detached retina and called the doc. After asking me a few questions she said, "Typical migraine," and proscribed two Advil and sitting in the dark. It worked (most of the time) and became my remedy the minute I saw the lights (hadn't heard of scotoma.) A dark mask over your eyes is crucial. The migraines started when our cottage at the lake was flooded with seven feet of water. For two years, I was chief contractor (with no knowledge of contracting) to restore an old house 40 miles away. Once the house was completed, the headaches came less often until they were gone. Wish I'd known about magnesium. I think stress is a major trigger, but once you know the cause, it's less stressful. Just know that the headaches will come less often and they will go away. Thank you for sharing. You've helped a lot of people.

  43. Wow! THanks for the tip. Since I started on the lovely journey of perimenopause, I do get what I call "baby" migraines. They aren't nearly as bad as what you describe or as what most people with migraines suffer. But they're headaches for which the only fix is Excedrin (just extra-strength, it doesn't have to be labeled migraine!), so I figure it's the caffeine. And I do have to catch it at the start. If I decide I'm going to "see how it goes" during the day, the headache just gets worse & if I wait too long, even the Excedrin doesn't help. They're worst during "that week." I will look into the magnesium thing. Thanks!

  44. I don't have migraines, but I've found magnesium works great for leg cramps. Every once in awhile I would wake up in the middle of the night with a bitch of a charley horse in my calf along with cramps in my feet. I read it could be a magnesium deficiency. I started taking magnesium and haven't had a problem since (except for when I get lazy and don't take it!).

  45. My two cents. I started with headaches at hot flashes/night sweats during perimenopause, continued through menopause and just as they were fading away, I ended up on cancer meds that threw me right back into it. Lots of good advice here but one of my biggest triggers is red wine. Which breaks my Italian heart, but there it is.

  46. I feel for anyone who has had migraines. I've had sinus headaches for many years (confirmed as such), but never migraines which I hear are much worse.

    I sailed through perimenopause but as soon as menopause hit, the proverbial sh*t hit the fan. Hot flashes, cold flashes, gastrointestinal issues. Magnesium helped quite a bit. Some forms of magnesium are harder on the stomach than others. Some also absorb into the body better. After a lot of testing, I've gone with a combination of magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide.

    Hot flash triggers -- dark chocolate. Oh, my goodness! Milk chocolate is okay as well as white so at least I can have those.

    And flaxseed seems to help.

  47. Had the migraines, too, during menopause 'though not one doc connected the two. I thought if I was allowed to kill my boss they would go away. When pain strikes I always go to ice first, lying down next, three ibuprofen if the first two don't work. Thanks for the magnesium reminder.

  48. CONGRATS to Kathy Reel, winner of the double BOARD STIFF giveaway! Please contact me at with your mailing address and I'll get those out to you.

    To everyone, thank you for the support and sharing your stories. I've written down your helpful tips (one leg out of the covers being one I've already tried and now do every night). Looking forward to see you around JRW!

  49. Wow. I'll suggest it to a friend who suffers from migraines. I eat lots of oats during my time of the month to ease cramps- because they are rich in magnesium.