Diagnosing Migraine Symptoms
What is a migraine?
Migraines are uniquely different from headaches. While they are often described as such, a migraine is a far more complex condition affecting the blood vessels surrounding the brain. They are prompted by biochemical changes in the brain that trigger the arteries in the head to become constricted and then dilated. These changes irritate the pain sensing nerves around the brain.
Diagnosing a migraine
Common medical tests involving the brain are unsuccessful when it comes to diagnosing a migraine. Instead, physicians consider a combination of symptoms that together provide a migraine diagnosis. If you suspect you might be experiencing migraines, track your symptoms with a migraine journal. This will be helpful not only when speaking to your physician, but also in providing insight into patterns and trends that may be contributing to the frequency and severity of migraine pain. Download the Advil Migraine Tracker and start tracking your symptoms as early as now.
|Migraine risk factors||Migraine symptoms||Migraine causes|
There are a number of migraine risk factors that may make you, or someone you know, more susceptible to experiencing a migraine.
Migraine risk factors include:
- Hormonal changes – Typically occurring in women throughout different life stages
- Family history – If your parents had migraines, it’s likely you will too
- Age – The onset of migraines usually occurs during adolescence
- Gender – Women are three times more likely than men to get migraines
Migraines often begin to occur during adolescence. The symptoms are varied and unique to each individual. You may experience all of them, some of them, or sometimes, none of them.
The following symptoms may occur as a sign of an oncoming migraine.
- The onset of a Migraine Aura
- Location, type and duration of pain
- Sensitivity to light, odour, noise and sometimes touch
- Changes in mood, including depression
- Gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea, constipation and/or cramps
- Changes in behaviour that can include any of the following symptoms: depression, irritability, hyperactivity, passivity, feelings of euphoria, increased creativity or even loss of control
While the causes of migraines are not fully understood, there are a number of common triggers that are known to incite the condition. Migraine triggers vary widely between people and can include physiological, emotional and environmental factors.
Common Migraine Triggers
- Fatigue/lack of sleep/too much sleep/changes in sleep patterns
- Hormonal changes such as estrogen fluctuations in women as a result of oral contraceptives, pregnancy, periods, and menopause can result in migraine pain
- Missing a meal
- Physical exertion
- Increased stress levels
- Sensory stimuli including strong odours, bright lights and loud noise
- Changes in environment like barometric pressure can trigger a migraine
- Certain medications can aggravate migraine pain including nitroglycerin and oral contraceptives
- Foods that have been known to cause migraines include alcohol, chocolate, aspartame, aged cheeses, over-consumption of caffeine, and processed foods
A Migraine aura acts as an early warning sign for people who experience migraines. Auras are visual effects that may include shimmering or flashing light, double vision, or blind spots. Some people also experience nausea, weakness and occasionally, slurring of words in more severe cases. Auras typically disappear within 15-30 minutes and are followed by a migraine. Treating symptoms before they become severe may help to reduce the severity of your migraine.
Headache or Migraine? Know the difference
You may also be interested in
Advil Liqui-Gels - proven migraine relief
Advil Liqui-Gels is the doctor recommended, non-prescription pain reliever in Canada that relieves both migraine pain and the accompanying migraine symptoms including nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Advil Liqui-Gels also work fast to head off a developing migraine before it starts.
Save $3 off your next purchase
Liqui-Gels® is a trademark or registered trademark of Catalent Pharma Solutions.