Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast

Migraine Symptoms

BY READERS DIGEST

1st Jan 2015 Health Conditions

Migraine Symptoms
Are you suffering from a migraine? Migraines are characterised by throbbing, excruciating pain that is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light or visual disturbances. They come on like a bushfire, forcing you to retreat until the worst is over. Find out the causes and symptoms.

What is a migraine?

Doctors aren't sure what causes migraines, but they suspect an association with abnormal constriction and dilation of the arteries that supply blood to the brain. The problem tends to run in families.
There are many possible triggers, including sensitivities to foods or food additives, stress, hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, oral contraceptives, caffeine withdrawal, changes in the weather or season, bright lights, and certain smells. Migraines are also more common in women than in men. There is no single definitive cure for migraines, but several remedies you can try.

Initial symptoms

About 60 per cent of sufferers experience some symptoms in the hours or days before the headache occurs (this is called a ‘prodrome’). These symptoms may include the following.
  • Mood alterations
  • Sensitivity to light or smells
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal disturbance
  • Increased thirst.

During a migraine

A migraine may announce itself with an aura affecting sight. Scientists aren't sure why; it could be that an electrical or chemical wave moves across the visual parts of the brain, causing hallucinatory disturbances such as squiggly lines or a small blind spot that gradually gets larger. Other common symptoms include the following.
  • Pain on one or both sides of your head which lasts, untreated, for hours, even days
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sensitivity to light and sound.
Many patients also experience symptoms after the headache has passed. These may range from fatigue and irritability to euphoria. If you have symptoms of migraine, speak to your doctor who will be able to rule out other potential causes, and try some of these remedies.

This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit ipso.co.uk