Over 10% of people in the United States suffer from migraines, and 90% of those people are unable to go about their day-to-day lives when they have a migraine. But what exactly is a migraine? There are many different elements that define a migraine, but in general they are characterized by severe, recurring headaches. Common symptoms of migraines include:
- Throbbing pain on one or both sides of your head
- Sensitivity to light, sounds and/or smells
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Feeling lightheaded
While not much is known about the causes of migraines, genetics and environmental factors are thought to play a major role. Certain people may also have triggers that are associated with migraines. Some of these common triggers include: salty or processed foods, alcohol, highly caffeinated beverages, sleep irregularity, stress, bright lights, intense physical activity, and changes in weather.
And while some migraine onsets can be unpredictable, there are some preventative steps you can take:
Stick to a schedule: Try regulating your bedtime, meals, and exercise habits.
Avoid triggers: To do this, you may need to track your migraines to then identify causes. Once you know your triggers, you can work to avoid them.
Remember your hormones: Sometimes changes in estrogen can trigger migraines in women. This is why many women experience migraines before or after their periods, as well as during pregnancy and menopause.
Consider medications: For people who experience recurring migraines, there are some medications that can help prevent migraines and ease some of the discomfort when they do happen.
Talk to a doctor: Doctors on Amwell are available 24/7 to help you manage your migraines and any other health-related concerns you may have.