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Why do migraines occur? What to do if it hurts

by Afonso
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Migraine is a neurological disorder that causes severe headaches. This is a problem that you often experience. But sometimes it becomes serious due to neglect. Which interferes with your daily life. Migraines are caused by abnormal constriction and dilation of blood vessels in the brain. Particularly notable in this case are migralepsy or migraine-induced seizures, familial hemiplegic migraine or migraine-induced physical paralysis.


60 percent of people can detect the symptoms before the onset of migraine. For example: throbbing pain on one side of the head, nausea, frequent vomiting, loose stools, blurred vision, sensitivity to light or loud noises. The ‘aura’ lasts from the first five minutes to an hour after the onset of a migraine. At this time there are black dots in the field of vision, crooked lines, flashes of light or nothing, slurred speech, ringing in the ears and heavy feeling in the body. Migraine headaches can last from 4 hours to 3 days. Depending on the individual, these headaches occur consistently two to four times a month or once or twice a year.

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A study has shown that when the brain’s neurotransmitter serotonin is less released, the brain’s blood vessels dilate abnormally, leading to migraines. According to the depolarization theory, when waves of electrical depolarization spread to the brain’s hypothalamus (a gland in the brain, which secretes hormones), the trigeminal nerve is activated and causes a severe headache.

Family history shows that 50-75% of children are genetically susceptible to migraines. In addition, chocolate, cheese, coconut, alcohol, caffeine, dairy products, birth control pills, insomnia, fasting, anxiety and depression increase the intensity of migraine. Migraines occur before menstruation in women.

1. Classical Migraine: At this time, in addition to the throbbing pain in the head, various colored crooked lines of light can be seen in the field of vision.
2. Common Migraine: One to two days of intense headache along with disorientation and nausea.
3. Hemiplegic migraine: In this particular migraine, in addition to the headache, one side of the body or face is temporarily paralyzed.
4. Cluster headache: In this case the headache is unilateral and lasts for a long time. Its severity increases with alcohol consumption.
5. Ophthalmologic Migraine: It is seen in children below 10 years of age. Oculomotor nerve palsy is the main cause in this case.

Relation to the eye
In retinal migraines, the blood vessels in the eye narrow, reducing blood flow to either eye. As a result, flashes of light or crooked lines of light appear in the field of vision. Headache may not occur at this time. But other symptoms, such as: dizziness, seeing one object as two objects, and even seizures can occur. In addition, basilar migraine is usually observed in adolescents. In addition to temporary blindness in both eyes, ringing in the ears, dizziness and headache occur.

When to see a doctor
1. If you have a severe headache.
2. If the headache lasts more than 3 days.
3. If there is a crooked line of light or a flash of light in the field of vision for more than 1 hour.
4. In addition to headache, stiffness in speaking, fever and convulsions occur.
5. If the face and any part of the body becomes paralyzed.
6. Headache during pregnancy and after childbirth.

Migraine is a complex problem. Lifestyle changes are very important in the treatment of migraines. For example:
1. Avoiding alcohol and excessively caffeinated foods.
2. Avoiding certain foods that trigger migraine sensitivity.
3. Use umbrellas and polarized sunglasses when outdoors to protect against reflected sunlight and reflections or glare from car windows.
4. Drink more water and eat regular meals to prevent dehydration.
5. Avoid strong light and noise.
6. Opt for other methods of birth control instead of taking birth control pills as advised by gynecologist.
7. Exercise and yoga to relieve anxiety and depression.

Author: Physician, Safeway Eye and Dental Hospital, Mugda, Dhaka


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