What is a migraine?

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A migraine is considered as a severe form of headache that is accompanied by other symptoms. These are often linked to vision although might also include other symptoms such as dizziness, nausea or sensation of pins and needles.

Migraines are severe headaches and can be categorized as with or without aura. An aura is one or more other symptoms that typically occur prior to an onset of a migraine. Individuals who suffer regularly from migraines will learn to see this as a warning signal. To recognize and manage the symptoms of migraine, enroll in a course on first aid today.

Stages of a migraine

It is important to note that there are 5 stages of a migraine, but not everyone will go through all of them.

  • Prodromal stage is the pre-headache stage that has symptoms such as tiredness, mood swings and appetite loss. This can start a few hours or several days before the migraine manifests.
  • Aura occurs just before the headache appears. This is often visual such as floaters in the vision or flashing lights. Other signs such as dizziness or nausea might also be present.
  • Headache stage involves throbbing pain on one side of the head. There is sensitivity to light and dislike for loud noises. Oftentimes, the individual prefers to stay in a darkened room and can last between 4-72 hours.
  • Resolution stage is where the symptoms typically fade away and sleep often helps.
  • Post-dromal stage involves feeling of weakness or tiredness after the headache has subsided.
Aura occurs just before the headache appears. This is often visual such as floaters in the vision or flashing lights. Other signs such as dizziness or nausea might also be present.

What are the causes?

A migraine is thought to be triggered by a change in the level of the hormone serotonin. A reduced level of serotonin can cause constriction of the blood vessels in the brain that might cause an aura. They will later on expand, resulting to the rush of blood to the brain and the subsequent headache.

Since there is a connection with hormones, women often experience migraines before, during or right after their monthly period. There are also other factors that have been identified as triggers for hormones such as emotional factors, stress, muscle tension, tiredness, dehydration, menopause, hunger, alcohol and caffeine. In addition, certain medications are also linked with migraines.

Treatment of migraines

There is no cure for migraines, but various forms of treatment have been shown to either ease once they occur or reduce the frequency.

  • Pain medications can be used in order to ease the headache. If not effective, the doctor might prescribe stronger pain medications.
  • Some will find that anti-inflammatory medications are more effective in easing the symptoms.
  • Anti-nausea medications can be given if the individual suffers from feelings of sickness.
  • The individual should avoid the known triggers.

Those who suffer from regular migraines or those who have frequent attacks must be properly assessed by a doctor. Further tests such as CT scan, MRI or blood tests might be requested by the doctor in order to check for other conditions.

When it comes to hormonal migraines, treatments such as estrogen patches and contraceptive pills are highly effective in maintaining the balance of the hormones.

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