Severe Pain Migraine headaches are easily misdiagnosed and often are incorrectly treated. Their causes may be environmental, dietary or stress related. They are more common in women and their occurrence may be related to estrogen levels since they are often seen with greater frequency during the premenstrual period. Migraine headaches may disappear completely during pregnancy when estrogen levels are continuously high.
Is your headache a Migraine? Migraine is a unique condition with specific biologic causes and distinctivephysical symptoms. About 15% of Americans suffer from migraine headache, which tends to run in families. A migraine is different from other types of headaches, like tension or sinus headaches, or the headache associated with a cold or the flu. The symptoms below may indicate that your headaches are migraines:
Throbbing or pulsating headaches.
The pain is worse on one side of your head.
Your pain is severe enough to disrupt normal activities.
Pain is aggravated by moving around or performing other physical activities.
Your headache is accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting.
You are unusually disturbed by light or sounds.
Migraine attack typically occur one to three times a month and last from four hours to three days. Most (75%) migraine sufferers are women. Attacks often occur at the time of menstruation; they may lessen during pregnancy and disappear after menopause. Oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy may increase the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.
Migraines are believed to be caused by cranial blood vessels that have become distended and inflamed, possibly because of an imbalance of serotonin, a naturally occurring chemical in the brain. There are treatments available now that act directly on serotonin to relieve migraine headaches within an hour of taking them.
If you think your headaches may be migraines, call your doctor to discuss your symptoms and ask for detailed information about prevention and treatment.
For more information about migraine headache, ask your pharmacist!