Headaches During Periods

Headaches at Period Time - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Headache occurring at period time is an extremely common problem. When chronic headache is linked to the menstrual cycle it must be treated by regulating the menses and the Uterus, plus any other treatment that may be called for.

Headaches at period time may occur before, during or after the period; the incidence is more or less equal. As a rough guide, headaches occurring before the period are due to Qi or Blood stagnation; headaches during the period, to Liver-Yang rising; headaches after the period, to Blood deficiency. However, this is only a rough diagnostic guide and, in practice, there may be deviations from the above rule.


Excessive physical work

Excessive physical work, including sports, may injure the Spleen and lead to Qi and Blood deficiency. Blood deficiency is aggravated after the period because at this time the Penetrating Vessel, which is the Sea of Blood, is in a state of relative emptiness. Deficient Blood fails to nourish the Brain and this results in deficient-type headaches which usually occur during or after the period.

Emotional stress

Anger, repressed anger, resentment, frustration, worry and guilt may lead to Liver-Qi stagnation which may turn into Fire. Liver-Fire has the tendency to flare upwards, all the more so during the periods when the Qi of the Penetrating Vessel may rebel upwards. This causes headaches before or during the period. Another possibility is that emotional strain leads to deficiency of Liver-Blood and/or Liver-Yin and the ensuing uprising of Liver-Yang. This also leads to headaches before or during the period. Yet another possibility is that Liver-Qi stagnation gives rise to Liver-Blood stasis; when this happens, Blood accumulates and does not flow into the Uterus and Penetrating Vessel properly at period time. Since the Liver channel enters the Brain, this condition of Blood stasis may cause headaches before or during the period.


The main pathological conditions causing headaches at period time are:

  • Blood deficiency
  • Liver-Fire blazing
  • Liver-Yang rising
  • Blood stasis.

Blood deficiency and Liver-Yang rising tend to occur in women with a background of deficiency, i.e. deficiency of Blood and/or Yin, while Liver-Fire and Blood stasis tend to occur in women with a Yang constitution and a tendency to Full conditions.

To learn more about menstrual headaches and how to treat them, click here.