If you suffer from migraine headaches, you’re not alone. About 12 percent of the U.S. population gets them. Migraines are recurring attacks of moderate to severe pain. The pain is throbbing or pulsing, and is often on one side of the head. During migraines, people are very sensitive to light and sound. They may also become nauseated and vomit.
Migraine is three times more common in women than in men. Some people can tell when they are about to have a migraine because they see flashing lights or zigzag lines or they temporarily lose their vision.
Many things can trigger a migraine. These include:
- Lack of food or sleep
- Exposure to light
- Hormonal changes (in women)
Doctors used to believe migraines were linked to the opening and narrowing of blood vessels in the head. Now they believe the cause is related to genes that control the activity of some brain cells. Medicines can help prevent migraine attacks or help relieve symptoms of attacks when they happen. For many people, treatments to relieve stress can also help.