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Migraine - FAQs

How do I know if I suffer from migraine?

If your headache is accompanied by two or more of the migraine symptoms and the conditions are hampering your daily activities, it is likely that you have migraine.

I used to get a migraine once or twice a year, but now I seem to be getting them every month?

If your headache changes in any way - in type, symptoms, severity or frequency — you need to seek medical advice to confirm the diagnosis and discuss suitable treatment. Migraine tends to evolve over time. Try keeping a diary to see if there is any reason for the recent change.

My mother has always suffered from migraine since as long as I can remember. Does this mean I will get it too?

There often is a genetic predisposition to migraine. However, not everyone in the family will get it.

Are there any alternative treatments that I could try to relieve migraine pain?

If you want to avoid taking pills, alternative approaches to migraine management that include homeopathy and simple life style changes to avoid known triggers will certainly help.

My eight-year-old often complains of bad headaches, do children also get migraines?

Yes, children can also get migraine, although their conditions can be different from those of adults. Children normally complain of aches around the regions of forehead or at the crown, rather than on one side of the head, and their migraines last for shorter durations. Sometimes, in younger children, the predominant symptoms are abdominal pain.

I have been suffering from migraines for a long time. Does this make me prone to having a stroke ?

Migraine patients do have a risk of brain stroke, if they are suffering from a migraine with aura. It is the aura itself that poses threat. Women who are suffering from migraine with aura, and particularly if they are on oral contraceptives, are also at a risk of developing a stroke. Other risk factors of stroke for migraine patients are smoking, high blood pressure or being overweight.

My family and colleagues think I use my migraine problem as an excuse to neglect my responsibilities at home as well as at work. As this is definitely not true, how do I make them understand what I go through?

Sure, that is quite unfortunate. Perhaps, you could explain to them that because migraine patients are capable of functioning normally and quite well between the attacks, it is difficult for others to understand how you can be well in one minute and then really unwell in the next. Also, you would really appreciate their understanding and support in this matter.

I have been suffering from migraine since my late teens. With my menopause, now, I have noticed that the attacks are getting worse and the treatment I take makes no difference at all. Why is this so?

Many women report that their migraine gets worse around the time of their menopause. If your current treatment is no longer providing relief you should consult your doctor for other treatment options.

I have heard that if I stopped eating chocolates I would be able to control my migraines. Please confirm whether it is true.

It is not necessary that if you avoid chocolate, cheese and red wine, you will not get migraine. There are many different triggers for migraines, and what may affect one person does not necessarily affect another. For most people, it is not one but a combination of factors that trigger an attack. Hence, you should consult a doctor to find out your exact trigger of causing you migraine.

Quick self-help tips

  • Get good sleep for six to eight hours every day.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Practise stress management techniques.
  • Avoid foods that may trigger migraine attacks, such as old cheese, alcohol, chocolate, yeast, stale meats, red wine, soya bean and coffee.