Migraine headaches can affect a woman’s life in profound ways. It may lead to depression, relationship problems, and even stroke, says women’s health pioneer Marla Ahlgrimm. Today, Ahlgrimm offers information on migraines and suggestions on home care, which is often overlooked during treatment.
Q: What is a migraine headache?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Migraine headaches transcend the dull, aching pain many people associate with tension or cluster headaches. Migraines cause an intense throbbing sensation that is typically concentrated in one area of the head. Women who suffer from migraines often find their pain is accompanied by nausea, partial loss of vision, and an intense desire to seek quiet, dark solace.
Q: How are migraines diagnosed?
Marla Ahlgrimm: A doctor will diagnose a patient with migraine headaches based on self reported symptoms. Typically, a migraine sufferer will describe four distinct stages of discomfort beginning with subtle changes in the days before the headache begins. Women may experience visual phenomenon or speech issues just prior to the onset of pain. During a migraine, pain on one or both sides of the head as well as blurred vision and nausea are common. The final phase begins when pain subsides, leaving a woman completely drained and occasionally a bit euphoric.
Q: Who is at risk for migraine headaches?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Women with a family history of migraines are most at-risk of suffering themselves. However, hormone changes related to age may also trigger migraines. Most people report having their first migraine between the ages of 11 and 15 or at the onset of puberty.
Q: Are there natural methods to combat migraine pain?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Although migraine sufferers require medical attention, self-care measures may offer some relief and insight. Muscle relaxation techniques as well as adequate sleep will keep the body in its best shape to handle the pain. Keeping a headache diary may also help a woman understand what triggers her migraines and which treatments are most effective.