Migraine and its symptoms
Migraines affect 1 in 5 women and 1 in 15 men, usually starting in early adulthood. They can last from 4-72 hours and can happen once a year or once a week. Usually diagnosed by a doctor, the types vary between a migraine with aura, migraine without aura and migraine aura without headache (silent headache).
Common symptoms of a migraine include a severe headache that is often on one side of the head, vomiting or nausea, increased sensitivity to light, sound and smells and an aura (seeing flashing lights or opaque spots).
Causes & triggers
Although no clear cause has been established, migraines are thought to be the result of temporary changes in the chemicals, nerves and blood vessels in the brain. Around 1/2 have a close relative with the condition, suggesting that genes may play a role.
There are common triggers that can bring one on. These will vary from person to person, but can include physical and emotional stress, tiredness, missing a meal, drinking caffeine or alcohol, and foods containing tyramine (cured meats, some cheeses and yeast extracts). Also, bright lights, loud noises and changes in climate.
Identifying migraine triggers
Keeping a diary of what you eat, drink and do can help to identify migraine triggers. It could be that a particular smell or food is bringing on the attacks. If you don't keep a diary, try to recall anything that changed or was new in the 24 hours before the attack. It may take some time to identify, but if you can understand your triggers and avoid them, you may find that the frequency of your migraines decreases.
Treatments for migraine
There are treatments available to prevent migraine, but these will need to be prescribed by your GP. An effective way to prevent migraines is to identify your triggers and avoid those.
We can prescribe migraine treatments such as Sumatriptan or Rizatriptan to treat a migraine once it started. Taken with an anti-sickness medicine and an over-the-counter pain reliever, these treatments can help you feel better within a couple of hours. Vydura (rimegepant) can also be taken to treat migraines or can be taken every other day as a prevention.
Finding treatments that work
There is a range of prescription migraine treatments available to treat and even prevent migraines, such as migraine tablets. In addition, there are combinations of anti-sickness and over-the-counter pain relief that can be very effective when taken with prescribed treatment. Finding the right mix for you may take time. You should always check with us, your doctor or pharmacist before taking a combination of medicines, and remember to stay hydrated and be aware of any new side effects.
Doctor's migraine advice
Migraine can affect anyone at any age. If you have a close relative who experiences migraine, you may be more likely to get them too, but there's no way to test for this. The best way to cope with migraine is to identify your triggers and ensure you have treatment available if you need it suddenly. Understanding what your body needs while the migraine passes and the treatment works is valuable too – share this plan with friends and family so they can support you.
While the migraine passes
Many people find it helps to lie still in a dark and quiet place while the migraine passes. This gives your body a chance to relax while the treatment or pain relief works. If this isn't possible because you are at work or travelling, others find that eating something helps.
Our migraine clinic
Request a treatment and complete your consultation questionnaire. We will use this information to assess whether it is safe and suitable for you to take. If approved, we will prescribe a dosage suitable for you. Your treatment will be available for either collection or delivery.