Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do I get sporadic migraines?"
I am a 29 year old female and every so often I get debilitating migraines. These pains are so severe that they put me to bed because nothing will help with them except sleep and no light or noise. There does not seem to be a and discernible pattern to them and they do not happen every week or month, just a few times a year.
Migraine headaches can be a very frustrating experience for patients. The good news is that there are treatments available to help treat migraine headache pain once it starts and to help prevent them from occurring. However, it is important for anyone with debilitating headaches to be evaluated by a physician specializing in headache management, often a neurologist, to make sure that the headaches are in fact migraines and not something else, and to help appropriately manage medical treatment.
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There are many different things that can trigger migraine headaches, and for this reason it is often helpful to keep a headache journal to help reveal patterns in daily life that may be exacerbating headaches. In women, hormone changes can often play a role, leading to migraines at particular times in the menstrual cycle. Certain types of foods including alcohol, red wine, aged cheeses, chocolate, preservatives, and caffeine can also trigger migraines. In addition, changes in daily routine, increased stress level, disruption in sleep-wake cycles, changes in the barometric pressure, or general changes in stimuli in the environment (loud noises, perfumes/scents, bright lights) have all been associated with triggering migraines. Treating migraines effectively depends on both identifying and avoiding triggers and appropriately tailoring different medication options.
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