Migraine : Top questions answered
5 mins read

Migraine : Top questions answered

Contributed by

Dr. Vipul Agarwal

M.B;B.S  MD(Internal Medicine)

Consultant physician ,Department of Internal Medicine

Yenepoya medical college, Mangaluru

You can find me at-

E-mail: vipul.msrmc@gmail.com Online consultations- 7204094071

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A disease hampering the lifestyle of a big population all over the world, commonly a disease in women but also not uncommon in men. People of almost all age groups, ethnicity and background suffer from this illness which usually starts in adolescence.

What is a migraine?

It’s a syndrome of headache with few typical features like-

·        Type of headache –

Usually, but not necessarily, involves one half of the head with predominant involvement of the forehead and eyeballs. The headache gets worse over several hours and is usually throbbing.

·        associated with Nausea and sometimes vomiting

·        Feeling sensitive to light and noise – Lying down in a quiet, dark room often helps.

·        Aura – Some people have something called a migraine “aura.” An aura is a symptom or feeling that happens before or during the migraine headache. Each person’s aura is different, but in most cases the aura affects the vision. You might see flashing lights, bright spots, or zig-zag lines, or lose part of your vision. Or you might have numbness and tingling of the lips, lower face, and fingers of 1 hand. Some people hear sounds or have ringing in their ears as part of their aura. The aura usually lasts a few minutes to an hour and then goes away, but most often lasts 15 to 30 minutes.

·        triggers- headache is precipitated by certain triggers like skipping meals, sunlight, chocolate, menses etc.

 How is migraine diagnosed?

It is a clinical diagnosis. There is no test to label a patient as having ‘migraine’. whenever you have a headache which is similar to the description above or is persisting for a long time or is recurrent, consult a physician. your physician may ask for a few tests like MRI etc. to rule out other causes of headache.


What lifestyle changes can I adopt to control my migraine attacks?

1. headache diary-  In the diary, note down when you had a headache, for how long and which medication you took for it. Most importantly what precipitated the headache, what were you doing before the headache started. identifying the trigger and avoiding it is the most important part of migraine management

2. Avoid triggers- Common migraine triggers include:


●hormonal changes like menses

●Skipping meals or not eating enough

●Changes in the weather, cold breeze

●Sleeping too much or too little

●Bright or flashing lights

●Drinking alcohol

●Certain drinks or foods, such as red wine, chocolates, coffee, legumes like kidney beans etc. any food can trigger it. you need to find your trigger food and drink.

3.Yoga and pranayama are found to be very useful.

4. Some women get migraines just before or during their period. Medicine can help with this, too.

How is    migraine treated?

There are many different medicines that can help with migraines. Your doctor can help you find the best treatment for your situation.

For mild migraines, your doctor might suggest an over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen (common brand name: Dolo/ calpol), ibuprofen (common brand names:brufen), or naproxen (common brand name: naxdom/ naprosyn).

For more severe migraines, there are prescription medicines that can help. Some, such as medicines called triptans, help to relieve the pain from a migraine attack. Other prescription medicines can help to make migraine attacks happen less often. If you have severe nausea or vomiting with your migraines, there are medicines that can help with that, too. Always be in touch with your doctor regularly. If your headache frequency or intensity has increased recently, immediately consult your doctor.

Do not try to treat frequent migraines on your own with non-prescription pain medicines. Taking non-prescription pain medicines too often can actually cause more headaches later and can also have certain side effects.

What if I want to get pregnant?

If you want to get pregnant, talk to your doctor about it before you start trying. Some medicines used to treat and prevent migraines are not safe during pregnancy, so you might need to switch medicines before you get pregnant.

Some women notice that their migraines actually get better during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is related to hormonal changes in the body.

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