Learn More About Migraines
Most frequent questions and answers about migraines
The cause of migraines are not fully understood. Headaches are often thought to be caused by narrowing of blood vessels in the brain, followed by dilating soon afterwards. A chemical cause is also a recently explored cause.
There is most likely a genetic factor involved in developing migraines.
There are a variety of treatments available for migraines, and you should consult with your doctor to discover the best treatment for yourself.
The most common forms of medication include painkillers and triptans.
Paracetamol and aspirin are both common painkillers used to treat migraines.
Triptans are used to narrow blood vessels and manage chemicals released during a migraine attack.
Migraine attacks can have a series of symptoms. These can include:
- Headache starting on one side of the head
- Bright lights/loud noises hurting
- Blurred vision
- Poor concentration
- Stuffy nose
- Tummy pain
- Passing lots of urine
- Going pale
Migraine attacks may occur for no apparent reason, but others can be caused by specific triggers.
Dieting too fast, eating lots of certain foods or not drinking enough water can all cause headaches. Other triggers can include smoky environments, VDU screens, loud noises or strong smells. Psychological triggers can consist of depression, anxiety, anger etc. Some medications can increase the risks of migraine attacks, such as the contraceptive pill
Migraine attacks have four phases:
- Premonitory phase – Can last for a few hours or days, and may feel irritable, depressed or tired.
- Aura phase
- Headache phase
- Resolution phase
Headaches can last 4-72 hours, depending on the severity of the attack.
Diagnosis of migraines is usually through the typical symptoms, as there is no specific test to confirm migraines.
Non-typical headaches usually require some form of testing to rule out other causes.
Cluster headaches are a series of short, but extremely painful headaches for a long period of time. These usually also occur at the same time each year.
A tension headache is the most common type of headache. These can be individual cases or episodic, and are the most common type of headache.
Migraine aura is a name given to the symptoms that occur before or during a migraine headache.
Menstrual migraine occur in women around the time of her period.
Abdominal migraine occurs mainly in children, and consists of painful abdominal pain. Often this switches to a regular migraine upon becoming a teenager.
Ocular migraine causes the temporary loss of vision, with or without a headache.
Hemiplegic migraines are rare, and include paralytic like symptoms along with a headache.
Vestibular migraine causes repeated episodes of severe dizziness.