Relief for women suffering migraines

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)- Women suffer with migraines, three times as much as men.  And while there are many triggers, hormones can play a leading role.  It's why a neurologist and gynecologist are teaming up at the new Norton Suburban Marshall Women's Center, to help area women tackle what's too often tackling them.

With some guidance, these experts say it is possible to find migraine relief, even without a prescription.  Six months ago, Stephanie Hillner would have found that hard to believe.  After the birth of her second child last spring she suffered migraines almost weekly.  

"I was in bed 2 days, pretty much every week, while I was on maternity leave" Hillner said.  She'd tried numerous prescription medications with no relief, when she turned to a new Neurologist at Norton Neuroscience Institute.

Dr. Brian Plato specializes in headache pain.  Here less than a year, he estimates 85% of his practice is now headache patients.  He says anyone who's suffering debilitating headaches and either not getting relief through prescription medications or wanting relief without prescription medications can likely benefit from working with a headache specialist.

While there is a genetic component to migraines, for women, hormones are a common trigger along with other factors like weather, scents, foods and stress.

He will first rule out anything serious causing the pain, through an MRI scan of the brain.  After that's clear, "many times I will begin with my patients just looking at diet changes" Dr. Plato said.

When needed, he'll work with gynecologists for patient care.
"It's not uncommon for me to recommend the use or disuse of birth control pills" said Dr. Plato.  Stories like Stephanie's aren't uncommon, with migraines getting worse after a delivery.  But Stephanie had tried the birth control treatment in the past and it made her headaches worse, so this round she started eliminating foods, some of the main food triggers, like aged cheeses, red wine and anything with MSG or nitrates found in processed foods.

Since she started last September, she's only had one migraine and she blames that on cheating and eating cheese at Thanksgiving.

She also credits more recommendations from Dr. Plato.  A combination treatment of magnesium and Vitamin B2.  

"Magnesium is one vitamin that certainly has good data to support it use in the prevention of migraine."  

Butterbur and feverfew are also on Dr. Plato's safe-alternatives for migraine prevention-list.

Dr. Plato is teaming up with Gynecologist, Dr. Karen Reed with Norton OB/GYN Associates for a free seminar, "A Woman's Guide to Migraines, Causes and Options for Treatments."  It's Tuesday, February 28th from 6 to 8 p.m. At the Marshall Women's Health and Education Center at Norton Suburban Hospital.  Norton Medical Plaza III- Suburban Suite 1A, 4121 Dutchman's Lane.

To register, call (502) 629-1234
or go to