Migraine

A migraine is a common, recurrent, disabling headache disorder that can last from 4 to 72 hours. There are a number of characteristics that are typical of a migraine. These characteristics include moderate-to-severe pain on one side of the head that may throb. Exertion during routine physical activities — such as walking or climbing stairs — can make the pain worse. Migraines are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and/or sound1.

Some common triggers that can help bring on a migraine include alcohol (red wine, champagne), too much caffeine, stress, noise, lighting, eyestrain, changes in the weather, foods such as chocolate, aged cheese, nuts, cured meats, onions, and food additives such as MSG, aspartame, and nitrates2. In addition to these triggers, changes in hormone levels may play a role in migraine attacks associated with a woman's period, often referred to as Menstrual Migraine2.

Approximately 21 million women in the United States suffer from migraines2,3,4, and up to 60% of them suffer from Menstrual Migraines4,5.

If you think you may suffer from migraines, you should talk to your healthcare professional.

References

  1. Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society (IHS). The international classification of headache disorders. Cephalalgia. 2004;24(suppl 1).
  2. US Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health. Migraine http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/migraine.pdf. Accessed October 14, 2014.
  3. Lipton RB, Stewart WF, Diamond S, Diamond ML, Reed M. Prevalence and burden of migraine in the United States: data from the American Migraine Study II. Headache. 2001;41(7):646-657.
  4. Lay CL, Mascellino AM. Menstrual migraine: diagnosis and treatment. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2001 Apr;5(2):195-9.
  5. Granella, F, et al. Migraine without aura and reproductive life events: A clinical epidemiological study in 1300 women. Headache 1993;33:385-389.

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