DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My daughter, who is 41, has been getting really bad migraine headaches just before her periods. Is it due to menopause? – V.M.

Her headaches are not due to menopause. They come from her menstrual cycle, and they’re called menstrual migraines. A migraine sufferer often can identify things that give rise to a headache – foods, alcohol, physical exertion, too little sleep, too much sleep, hunger, bright lights and loud noise. For quite a few women, menstrual periods trigger the headache. The sudden drop in the female hormone estrogen that takes place at the time of a menstrual period precipitates headaches in these women.

Your daughter can take medicine prior to her anticipated menstrual period to prevent the headache. Naprosyn or one of the many other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, taken two days before the period begins, often can avert menstrual migraines. They should be taken for as long as the headache has lasted in the past.

Another approach is birth-control pills. The ones that stop periods for six months to a year are particularly useful. Seasonale and Lybrel are two such preparations.

Most migraine sufferers are aware of the triptan drugs, medicines that have had a huge impact on migraine treatment. There are seven such drugs, and I won’t mention them all. Maxalt and Relpax are two of these drugs. The triptans should be used as the anti-inflammatory drugs are used – two days before onset of periods and continued for the length of the usual migraine.

The headache booklet describes the common kinds of headaches and their treatment. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue – No. 901, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Can. with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have a plantar wart. What do I do for it? – C.R.

A plantar wart is wart on the bottom of the foot (the planta). It’s the work of a virus from the same virus family that causes all warts.

Try one of the proprietary remedies found in all drugstores: DuoFilm, Trandermal patch, Mediplast, Sal-Acid and Compound W. They contain salicylic acid, a fairly reliable wart remover.

Or you might want to try the duct-tape remedy. Cover the wart with duct tape and leave the tape on for six days. Remove it and soak the foot in warm water to soften the wart. Then file the wart gently with a pumice stone or emery board, both drugstore items. Repeat the sequence until the wart is gone.

Are you certain this is a wart? If you’re not, get a doctor’s opinion.

Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Readers may also order health newsletters from

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I was recently diagnosed with the swallowing disorder Zenker’s diverticulum. I am scheduled for surgery. Can you discuss it and its treatment? I am interested in the recovery process because I am a teacher and use my voice all day. My doctor has chosen surgery that involves going through my mouth. – B.H.

A Zenker’s diverticulum is a pouch that bulges from the lower part of the throat. The pouch can cause swallowing problems. Food can get caught in it and remain there. When it finally leaves the pouch, it has a most unpleasant odor.

There are many surgical procedures to remove the pouch and shore up the throat tissue. Scopes are used by some doctors. Recovery is quicker with the scope. After surgery, you will not be allowed to eat or drink for a day or so, longer for the standard operation. The results are almost always excellent. The voice is not commonly affected.

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