Migraine Headaches: Symptoms, Triggers & Treatment

Dec 4, 2021

Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world. It is a neurological disease that typically causes one side of the head to be throbbing with recurring pain. The excruciating pain has incapacitating neurological symptoms. Migraine disproportionately affects women so much that every one in third person of the total migraine-affected population is a woman. Sadly, migraine is a disease that affects everyone, including children.

To highlight the reasons, symptoms and ways to tackle this serious disease, we spoke to Dr. Priyanka Lakhani (MBBS), General Physician from Dhani.

Before we deep dive into all of that, let’s look at what Migraine actually is:

Migraine is a type of headache that occurs recurrently and can be sometimes accompanied with other symptoms. It can be an intense, pulsating headache which occurs from time to time, usually on one side of the head. Some people may be able to gauge an oncoming migraine attack as their bodies give them some warning signs and this is called an Aura. Auras are reversible symptoms of the nervous system.

Depending on whether people get an aura or not, migraines can be classified as

  • Migraines with aura
  • Migraines without aura

Some people may have auras where, before the headache starts, they may see flashes of light or bright spots or can have unusual sensations such as tingling in their arms and legs. Some people may also have weakness in their arms and legs.

You may experience some of the following symptoms a day or two before your attack:

  • Constipation
  • Mood swings - from depression to euphoria
  • Cravings
  • Stiff neck
  • Increased urination
  • Fluid retention
  • Frequent yawning

A migraine attack can be short lived or may last for 2-3 days. The severity varies from person to person.

Top Migraine Triggers:

Even though the exact reason(s) cannot be pointed out that aids in a migraine attack, people with migraine usually have some things that can set it off. These are called triggers and they may vary from person to person but commonly include:

  • Hormonal changes or fluctuation in estrogen levels in women can lead to migraines occurring cyclically
  • Alcohol (wine) and also and too much caffeine (coffee)
  • Stress
  • Bright or flashing lights, loud sounds, string smells (perfumes, smoke) can all be triggers.
  • Changes in sleep routines
  • Intense physical exertion or exercise
  • Changes in weather
  • Certain medications like OCP
  • Some foods like certain cheeses or processed food and preservatives; also change in diet patterns and schedules

Treatment and prevention of migraine attacks:

If you experience an unbearable headache on regular basis, it is ideal that you identify the root cause and treat it. In case you are diagnosed with migraine, here are some things you can do to prevent or control the intensity of these attacks:

  1. Consult a doctor
  • It is very important to have the correct diagnosis. Visit your doctor to rule out other causes of headache and get a proper diagnosis. Today, there are multiple medications available that can be given for managing an acute attack. If the migraine attacks occur very frequently, your doctor may suggest being on prophylactic medications to prevent an attack. To find out about this, you may be asked to keep a headache diary.
  1. Keep Yourself Warm
  • While this may seem like a no-brainer, the truth is, a lot of people don’t dress appropriately for cold weather. Stress on your body from being too cold can trigger migraines. So be sure to bundle up!
  1. Rest in a Quiet, Dark Room
  • Many people with migraine report sensitivity to light and sound, which can make headaches worse. Go to a room that’s dark and quiet, and you may be able to sleep.
  1. Hydrate Yourself
  • About one in three people with migraine says dehydration is a trigger for their headaches. Staying hydrated between attacks, therefore, may help to prevent some.
    Once you feel a migraine coming on, hydrating may help shorten the length of your attack.
  1. Lifestyle changes
  • Regular exercise can also help with reducing stress and improving sleep
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule: Changing your sleep timing on day to day basis could hamper sleep cycle
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal just before sleep

If you’re facing frequent headaches or have any health-related queries, do reach out to top doctors on the Dhani app where you can speak to any of our doctors who will be able to help you with your health concerns. Get connected to a Dhani doctor in just 10 seconds, available 24x7. Download today to try free consultation for 30 days.

In case you have any medical requirements, you can always visit Dhani Pharmacy and SAVE up to 35% on every order.