Migraines are a recurring type of headache of varying intensively (from moderate to severe) it is characterized with throbbing pulsating pain and often affects only one side of the head. It is usually accompanied by nausea, fatigue, sensitivity to intense light and sound. It can last from2 hours to about 3 days. The pain is usually worsened by any physical exertion of any kind. It is a long term condition caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
The underlying causes of migraine are not fully known. They can be hereditary in about 65% of cases. Depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder are the physiological conditions that are associated with migraines. Some certain foods, odor, fatigue, and weather are often reported as triggers for migraine through the significance of these triggers to migraine are not yet ascertained. However, stress, hunger, fatigue are physiological triggers to migraine. Hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause also play a significant role. Other causes include lack of or too much sleep, overexertion and stress.
These include eye pain, throbbing or pulsating pain, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea or vomiting. The symptoms of migraines occur in phase though not all these phases are experienced.
Prodome: This starts about a day before the migraine occurs. There are signs like unexplainable mood swings, yawning, food craving and increase in urination.
Aura: This is characterized by flashing or bright lights. There is also muscle weakness. It usually interferes with normal activity and it immediately happens just before a migraine occurs.
Headache: The migraine starts with a headache which increases intensity with time. It causes the throbbing or pulsating pain usually on one side of the head. It can also occur bilaterally i.e.on both sides of the head. It is worsened by physical activity and is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, smells, weakness, and irritation. Acephalgic migraine is the migraine with no subsequent headache.
Postdrome: This is the computation of symptoms such as weakness, exhaustion, confusion after the headache has passed. It can include head pain, mood swings, depression, and a sore feeling in the head. It may last up to a day or two.
Diagnosis is to be done by a specialist based on the symptoms and signs. Medical history or family history are also taken into consideration. Some other tests like blood tests, MRI or CT scan can also be taken.
Migraine can be prevented in different ways e.g. avoid stress, avoid triggers, maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, and hormone therapy. Also, take proper medication in time to prevent further migraine attacks.