A small study in Germany (published last month) of 39 women was conducted to see if there was any relationship between oral contraceptives, migraine, and pain thresholds. The findings suggest that oral contraceptives do make a difference.
The study checked on pain thresholds using cold, heat, pressure, and electric current, and detection thresholds (cold, heat, electric current). First of all, when migraineurs did or did not use oral contraceptives, it made no difference in any of these thresholds. In other words, patients on oral contraceptives did not seem to be more "sensitive" to pain.
In fact, during the actual migraine attack these women were found to be less sensitive to certain types of pain.
But the connection came at the end of menstruation. At this point, migraineurs taking an OC had much more severe migraine attacks than migrainuers not taking an OC. Migraineurs also tended to have lower estrogen levels, especially those taking OCs.
This study is another confirmation that women migrainuers need to take a close look at estrogen levels and the use of contraceptives when they’re looking for answers.