What are migraines?
Migraine is a common type of headache that affects about 15% to 20% of the population. It can be debilitating for some people. Migraine headaches occur when blood vessels in your brain become inflamed or constricted. This causes pain on one side of your head and behind your eyes. The most severe migraine attacks may last several days. Some people have only mild symptoms, while others experience more frequent but less intense episodes.
What causes migraines?
The exact reason for migraine headaches isn’t known. However, there are some things you can do to help prevent them from happening:
Avoid alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol affects the way your brain works during sleep. It’s best not to drink any alcoholic beverages within six hours of going to bed. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, try taking melatonin about an hour before bedtime. Melatonin helps regulate your body clock so that it will stay asleep longer.
Who is at risk for migraines?
Migraine attacks usually occur two days per month but can happen more frequently. Anyone who experiences frequent episodes of intense, pounding, unilateral head pain lasting 4-72 hours could experience migraines. Two women tend to get them about twice as often as men do. Children under the age of 12 rarely suffer from migraines. However, children between ages 13 and 18 are just as likely to develop migraines as adults.
What are the symptoms of migraines?
The most common symptom of a migraine is an intense feeling of pressure behind your eyes. This usually starts gradually and builds up until it becomes unbearable. It feels like someone is pressing down on your eyeballs. Other symptoms include:
How are migraines diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and do an exam. They will look for any problems related to your eyes, ears, nose, throat, teeth, mouth, neck, back, chest, abdomen, genitals, skin, muscles, joints, nerves, blood vessels, heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, bladder, kidneys, liver, spleen, pancreas, thyroid gland, pituitary gland, brain, spinal cord, bones, and reproductive organs.
How are migraines treated?
Treatment options for migraines
The goal of treatment is to relieve your symptoms so you can lead an everyday life. Treatment includes:
Your doctor may recommend lifestyle adjustments, including avoiding some things that seem to trigger your migraines. For example, they may tell you to avoid alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, MSG, fermented products, aged cheese, and tobacco.
Treating nausea and preventing vomiting
If you’ve had a migraine recently, try to avoid triggers such as stress, caffeine, alcohol, smoking ,spicy foods, and certain types of food. Try eating small meals throughout the day instead of three large ones. Avoid strenuous exercise if you know you’ll be stressed later. Take over-the-counter antiemetics such as Dramamine or Benadryl 30 minutes before going to bed. Ask your doctor what other treatments might help.
Treatments used to treat migraines. Treatments used to treat migraine headaches include:
Over-the-counter medicines include ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen sodium, caffeine, and other nonsteroidal anti inflammatory agents. Triptans, which work by blocking serotonin receptors in the brain medications, are taken orally, including beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids, tricyclic antidepressants, etc.
The following tips will help prevent migraines:
Get plenty of rest. Sleep deprivation increases your chances of getting a migraine. Try not to go to bed too late or get up early.
Eat regularly throughout the day. Avoid skipping meals. Eat smaller portions and avoid heavy food.
Stay hydrated. Drink water frequently throughout the day. It helps keep your body well-hydrated and reduces swelling around the eyes.