Nearly Half of Women with Migraines are Undiagnosed

A migraine brings on an intense, almost unimaginable pain. This throbbing sensation becomes so intense that sufferers may not be able to work or do normal household chores. Although the throbbing, debilitating pain affects all aspects of daily life, an estimated 45 percent of women who have migraines are never diagnosed. For the most part, these migraines are dismissed by doctors as simple sinus headaches or tension headaches. According to the National Headache Foundation, a migraine is diagnosed wrongly about as much as it is diagnosed correctly.

Preventing Migraines

In total, roughly 18 percent of American women have migraines. Compared to men, women are three times as likely to get a migraine. To reduce associated with this condition, women can use a number of preventative measures.

Initially, women should stop using excessive headache medicine. Over-the-counter medicine can actually cause a headache if it is used too much. Instead, women should ask their doctor about the options that they have available.

A migraine may develop in relation to the onset of puberty or pregnancy. When hormonal changes are at their highest, the woman is most likely to experience a migraine. Women are most likely to suffer from migraines from the age of 30 to 55. Certain foods like soy, alcohol, overripe fruit, dairy or processed meat may increase the chances of someone having a migraine. Among headache sufferers, many have linked specific dietary foods to the onset of a migraine.

Other than dietary and hormonal triggers, individuals may find that medications, caffeine and smoking are related to migraines. The body is extremely sensitive to caffeine withdrawal, so an influx or decrease in caffeine levels could trigger a headache. Odors like cigarette smoke, perfume or gas can also trigger the onset of a migraine.

What Is the Difference Between a Bad Headache and a Migraine?

To accurately treat a migraine, women need to learn how to recognize that they are having a migraine. This type of headache is generally a reoccurring event. It may worsen during activities like walking, climbing or doing chores. While the migraine is going on, the individual may feel increasingly sensitive to light, smells and sounds. Some individuals feel nauseous or a need to vomit. Even when treatment is not available, the migraine will normally go away on its own. It may take up to 24 hours to feel normal again after a migraine.

A migraine is basically a physical process that is often linked to anxiety or depression. Some people seem to have a genetic predisposition to migraines, but there are also indications that this condition is triggered by stress. As many as one out of three women develop migraines, and 70 percent of these women have a family history of the illness.

Preventative Care and Treatments

Individuals who get severe migraines have several treatment options available. If the sufferer has a migraine for at least eight days every month, then they may be given Botox injections near their head, neck and shoulder muscles. Exercise, yoga or cognitive behavior therapy may also be recommended by a physician since they help the individual lower their stress levels.

When to Visit a Doctor

About 50 million Americans experience migraines, but many of these people never get proper treatment. Anyone who experiences nausea, throbbing pain, vomiting, light sensitivity or concentration problems should talk to their doctor. Often, a migraine will be accompanied by vision or language problems, numbness or dizziness. The individual may experience heightened pain if they are involved in any physical activity or movement. For the half of women who have undiagnosed migraines, the appearance of any two of these symptoms is a sign to get help from a qualified medical practitioner. With treatment and preventative care, women can reduce the number of days that they have to deal with having a migraine.


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