Migraine:Migraine and other types of headaches, such as tension headache and sinus headache, are painful. Migraine symptoms include a pounding headache, nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity and are treated with antinausea drugs and abortive or preventive medications. Headache remedies include pain relievers.
- Hormonal changes in women:Hormonal medications, such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, also may worsen migraines. Some women, however, find their migraines occur less often when taking these medications.
Fluctuations in estrogen seem to trigger headaches in many women. Women with a history of migraines often report headaches immediately before or during their periods, when they have a major drop in estrogen.
Others have an increased tendency to develop migraines during pregnancy or menopause
- Foods: Aged cheeses, salty foods and processed foods may trigger migraines. Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger attacks.
- Stress:Stress at work or home can cause migraines.
- Physical factors: Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, may provoke migraines.
- Drinks: Alcohol, especially wine, and highly caffeinated beverages may trigger migraines.
- Food additives:The sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG), found in many foods, may trigger migraines.
- Medications: Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can aggravate migraines.
- Mood changes, from depression to euphoria
- Food cravings
- Neck stiffness
- Increased thirst and urination
- Frequent yawning
Many medications have been designed to treat migraines. Some drugs often used to treat other conditions also may help relieve or prevent migraines. Medications used to combat migraines fall into two broad categories:
- Pain-relieving medications: Also known as acute or abortive treatment, these types of drugs are taken during migraine attacks and are designed to stop symptoms.
- Preventive medications:These types of drugs are taken regularly, often on a daily basis, to reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.
Some medications aren’t recommended if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. Some medications aren’t given to children. Your doctor can help find the right medication for you.