What Causes Menstrual Migraine
There is a link between migraine and falling levels of the hormone oestrogen. The natural drop in oestrogen levels before your period starts is linked to menstrual migraine. Women who have heavy and painful periods have higher levels of prostaglandin , which has also been identified as playing a role in a menstrual migraine.
Symptoms Of Migraine And Seizure
On the surface, the symptoms of a migraine attack and a seizure may not seem to resemble each other very much.
But a variety of symptoms are common to both disorders. Both are episodic conditions, meaning they occur as episodes with a beginning and an end, within otherwise normal periods of time.
Probably the most common shared symptom is a headache. Migraine with aura is one of three types of headaches associated with epilepsy in the International Classification of Headache Disorders .
Headaches can occur both before, during, or after a seizure. Sometimes a headache is the only symptom of a seizure. This type of headache is called an ictal epileptic headache , and it can last from seconds to days.
Epilepsy and migraine often share other symptoms, especially in the aura that precedes either a migraine attack or a seizure. These shared symptoms can include:
- flashing lights and other visual distortions
- light and sound sensitivity
Having both disorders is called comorbidity. Its thought to occur because both epilepsy and migraine are episodic disorders associated with electrical disturbances in the brain.
There are also apparent genetic links between the two disorders. Researchers are studying genetic mutations common to both seizures and migraine.
The connection between seizures and migraine can depend on the specific type of migraine that you have. Read on to learn how seizures may relate to the various types of migraine.
How Common Is Migraine
About 36 million people in the US have migraine. It affects men and women of all ages and across every socio-economic group. About 4 out of every 100 people have some form of daily headache, with migraine accounting for the largest part of that.
Migraine is more common in women than in men. About 18% of women have migraine compared to 6% of men. Worldwide, migraine is the 2nd leading cause of disabled days in men and women. It causes more disabled days than stroke, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.
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Learn More About Each Stage Of A Migraine:
One or two days before a migraine, you might notice subtle changes that warn of an upcoming migraine, including constipation, mood changes from depression to euphoria, food cravings, neck stiffness, increased thirst and urination or frequent yawning.
For some people, aura might occur before or during migraines. Auras are reversible symptoms of the nervous system. They’re usually visual, but they also can include other disturbances. Each symptom usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes and lasts 20 minutes to one hour.
Examples of auras include:
- Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
- Vision loss
- “Pins-and-needles” sensations in an arm or leg
- Weakness or numbness in the face, or one side of the body
- Difficulty speaking
- Uncontrollable jerking or other movements
A migraine usually lasts from four to 72 hours if untreated, and the frequency varies by the person. Migraines might occur rarely or strike several times a month.
During a migraine, you might have:
- Pain, usually on one side of your head, but often on both sides
- Pain that throbs or pulses
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and sometimes smell and touch
- Nausea and vomiting
After a migraine attack, you might feel drained, confused and washed out for up to a day. Some people report feeling elated. Sudden head movement might bring on pain again briefly.
Learn more about headaches:
What Tests Are Used To Find Out If I Have Migraine
If you think you get migraine headaches, talk with your doctor. Before your appointment, write down:
Your doctor may also do an exam and ask more questions about your health history. This could include past head injury and sinus or dental problems. Your doctor may be able to diagnose migraine just from the information you provide.
You may get a blood test or other tests, such as CT scan or MRI, if your doctor thinks that something else is causing your headaches. Work with your doctor to decide on the best tests for you.
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How Is Chronic Migraine Treated
Treatment of chronic migraine is focused on managing lifestyle choices and headache triggers, managing migraine attacks and providing preventive treatments to reduce migraine attacks.
Lifestyle changes include:
- Beginning treatment for any existing mood disorder or sleep problem.
The typical treatment plan for managing migraine attacks includes:
- Treating migraine attacks early when pain in mild begin with a simple pain killer and slowly increase the dose as needed to the max tolerated dose, unless the headache is severe at the start or will become severe. In such cases add a triptan to the above medication to improve efficacy. Avoid use of opiates if possible. Your doctor will devise a treatment plan to avoid worsening chronic headache by overusing medications.
- Treat associated side effects, such as nausea.
- Consider other treatment techniques, including transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcutaneous supraorbital nerve stimulation.
Preventive treatment is aimed at reducing the number of headaches. Preventive treatments include:
- Beta blockers, such as propranolol , atenolol and metoprolol
- Angiotensin blockers, such as candesartan
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as nortriptyline , amitriptyline
- Anticonvulsants, such as topiramate , sodium valproate
- Calcitonin gene-related peptide , such as galcanezumab , fremanezumab , erenumab
Performing A Medical Exam
During your exam, the doctor will do neurological tests to check your reflexes and see how you respond to sensations. They might also test your short-term memory. Youll have your blood pressure and pulse taken. A doctor will also check your head, shoulders, and neck.
For many people, this is enough to diagnose migraine. Generally, youll be diagnosed with migraine if youve had at least five headaches that have lasted between 4 and 72 hours and your headaches have at least two of these four characteristics:
- are located primarily on one side of the head
- cause pain thats pulsing or throbbing
- cause pain thats moderate to severe
- are made worse by normal physical activity
Your headaches will also need to cause you nausea or sensitivity to light and sound to be categorized as migraine. A physical exam and thorough medical history allow a doctor to make the migraine diagnosis.
However, in some cases, the doctor might not be certain that your symptoms arent being caused by something else. In this case, you might need to move on to the next step.
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Living With Migraine Headaches
You may have fewer migrainesâand less pain when you do get themâby trying to:
- Find and avoid triggers for your headaches.
- Keep a headache diary to find out what triggers your migraines.
- Take medicine as your doctor advises to prevent and stop migraines.
- Take your medicine right away when you think that you are getting a migraine.
- Reduce stress with relaxation and positive-thinking methods.
- Get help from your doctor and a counselor if you think that your migraines may be linked to depression or anxiety. Treating these health problems may reduce how often you get migraines.
Does The Va Recognize Migraines As A Disability
VA recognizes migraines as a service connected disability, so long as the veteran can prove a connection with military service. In other words, if the veteran can prove that the migraines began in service it is service connected. Another way is a secondary service connection. If the migraine relates to other service-connected conditions, then she may obtain service-connected disability for this condition.
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How Are Migraines Diagnosed
To diagnose a migraine, your healthcare provider will get a thorough medical history, not just your history of headaches but your familys, too. Also, they’ll want to establish a history of your migraine-related symptoms, likely asking you to:
- Describe your headache symptoms. How severe are they?
- Remember when you get them. During your period, for example?
- Describe the type and location of your pain. Is the pain pounding? Pulsing? Throbbing?
- Remember if anything makes your headache better or worse.
- Tell how often you get migraine headaches.
- Talk about the activities, foods, stressors or the situations that may have brought on the migraine.
- Discuss what medications you take to relieve the pain and how often you take them.
- Tell how you felt before, during and after the headache.
- Remember if anyone in your family gets migraine headaches.
Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests and imaging tests to make sure there are no other causes for your headache. An electroencephalogram may be ordered to rule out seizures.
How Is Migraine Diagnosed
Too often, migraine goes undiagnosed. But a correct diagnosis can lead to better treatment and improved quality of life.
Many people try to deal with migraine on their own, which can mean lots of hours in a dark, quiet room while trying to manage the pain and other symptoms with over-the-counter medications. The condition can often go undiagnosed for years, meaning the person who has it may miss out on effective treatment.
Although some people use the term migraine interchangeably with headache, a migraine is more than that. Its actually a neurological disease. A headache is usually one part of a migraine attack, which includes other bothersome symptoms, such as visual disturbances, nausea, and dizziness.
If you regularly experience headaches and other symptoms of migraine, it may be time to seek a diagnosis. Your primary care doctor can usually evaluate your symptoms and decide what treatment will work best for you, but in some cases, you may be referred to a neurologist.
Once you have a migraine diagnosis, you can begin the treatment you need.
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When To Call A Doctor
911 or other emergency services if:
- You have a sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.
- You have symptoms of a stroke, such as:
- Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
- Sudden vision changes.
- Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
- Sudden problems with walking or balance.
- You have a fever and a stiff neck.
- You have new nausea and vomiting, or you cannot keep food or liquids down.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- Your headache does not get better within 24 hours.
- Your headache wakes you up at night.
- Your headaches get worse or happen more often.
- You develop new symptoms.
- You have any problems with your medicine, or your medicine isn’t helping your headaches.
- You have new, different, or more frequent headaches.
- Your headaches occur after physical exercise, sexual activity, coughing, or sneezing.
- Your life is disrupted by your headaches .
How Is Menstrual Migraine Diagnosed
There are no tests available for menstrual migraine. The most accurate way to tell if you have menstrual migraine is to keep a diary for at least three months recording both your migraine attacks and the days you menstruate.
For menstrual migraine to be diagnosed migraine should occur predominately between two days before and up to three days into menstruation, in at least two out of three consecutive menstrual cycles.
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Are There Different Kinds Of Migraine
Yes, there are many forms of migraine. The two forms seen most often are migraine with aura and migraine without aura.
Migraine with aura . With a migraine with aura, a person might have these sensory symptoms 10 to 30 minutes before an attack:
- Seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots
- Numbness or tingling in the face or hands
- Disturbed sense of smell, taste, or touch
- Feeling mentally “fuzzy”
Only one in five people who get migraine experience an aura. Women have this form of migraine less often than men.
Migraine without aura . With this form of migraine, a person does not have an aura but has all the other features of an attack.
How Are Headaches Treated
Provided one of the serious conditions noted above is not present, relatively simple treatment options can be considered. To treat symptoms and prevent the frequency and severity of headaches, physicians may try to identify headache “triggers,” such as stress or certain foods, and recommend treatment options including:
- preventive medications and treatments.
- lifestyle changes, including stress management and relaxation techniques.
- pain-relieving medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Children and adolescents should avoid taking aspirin. In rare cases, aspirin can cause Reye Syndrome, a serious and potentially fatal condition.
If your headache is the result of an underlying medical condition or injury, your physician will discuss treatment options with you.
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What Are The Stages Of A Migraine
The Migraine Research Foundation says that migraine is a neurological disease that affects 39 million people in the U.S. Migraines, which often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood, can progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome. Not everyone who has migraines goes through all stages.
How Do I Get The Highest Rating
As stated above, the highest schedular rating for migraines is 50%. However, this not the highest for a veteran who feels her migraines make her unemployable. Veterans who are unable to work due to migraines may be eligible for Individual Unemployability . IU requires specific evidence from a veteran to qualify for IU benefits. Even though VA doesnt provide a 100% schedular rating for migraines, a veteran could still get 100% through IU.
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Are Migraines A Disability
This disease is one of the 20 most disabling medical conditions globally and the 12th most disabling disorder in the United States. Over 90% of people with this ailment are unable to function correctly during a seizure. In spite of these statistics, the impact of the condition remains underestimated and overlooked for the following reasons:
- Stigma of disability
Disability often wrongly carries a sense of stigma, especially when the disease is something that no one can see like headaches. People who are bedridden or confined to their homes due to illnesses such as migraines, fibromyalgia, depression, or chronic fatigue syndrome are often categorized as lazy, fanciful, or simply less than. They can explore their chance ofSSI eligibilityby discussing their concerns with a legal professional.
- It affects all aspects of life
It can keep you from fulltime employment or performing normal activities of daily living such as cleaning the house, taking care of the kids, and attending a friends special event. The fear that this pain will become unbearable is reason enough to cancel previous plans due to worry that you will have another attack.
- Being sick for an indefinite period of time
A migraine condition can often change the course of your life. This includes admitting to yourself that your career options are limited. Occasional migraines are a downside, but people who have severe pain more frequently may find it difficult to function daily.
Is This Test Really Necessary
While an MRI is not critical to diagnose you with migraines, it can help your doctor see your brainâs structure. This is because there are primarily two different categories of headaches:
- Primary headaches are those that donât have a structural cause and include migraines
- Secondary headaches are caused by a disease
There are also some times when a doctor discovers something with a physical exam that prompts them to suggest an MRI. If your doctor discovers any abnormalities, he may want to take a better look at your brainâs structure. These abnormalities may include things like:
- Swelling of your optic nerve
- Double vision
Research studies using MRIs also show that some patients who suffer from migraines have a reduction in their cortical thickness and the surface area in their brainâs pain-processing regions compared to patients who donât have migraines. While there are many possible reasons for this difference, it is important in helping doctors diagnose migraines.
If youâre suffering from headaches or migraines and think you may need an MRI scan, BASS Medical Group can help. Their elite team is made up of doctors who are experts in their respective fields. BASS Medical has many convenient locations in the greater San Francisco area. Call 350-4044 to learn more or schedule an appointment.
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What Symptoms Must You Have To Be Diagnosed With A Migraine
Migraine with aura . This is a headache, plus:
- Visual symptoms or vision loss.
- Sensory symptoms .
Migraine without aura . A common migraine is a headache and:
- The attacks included pain on one side of your head.
- Youve had at least five attacks, each lasting between four and 72 hours.
Plus, youve experienced at least one of the following:
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Lights bother you and/or you avoid light.
- Sounds bother you and/or you avoid sounds.
Ahda Alliance For Headache Disorders Advocacy
The Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy is comprised of nonprofit organizations who are vitally concerned about the health of patients with headache disorders including migraine disease, cluster headaches, chronic daily headache, new daily persistent headache, tension-type headaches. All headache disorders.The AHDA is dedicated to advocacy efforts that can result in better treatment for all headache disorder patients.
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