What are the causes of frequent migraines?

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Migraine is a common affliction today. Sometimes the headache becomes so annoying that we are unable to function. This neurological ailment occurs primarily in women. What are the causes of recurrent migraines?

What is a migraine?

It is estimated that today 15% of the entire population struggles with migraines, and in Poland probably 8% of the population. The first migraines usually appear before the age of 40. However, this is not the rule, as it happens that migraines bother the youngest children. 

Migraines are primarily divided into: those occurring with and without aura

Migraines with aura are conditions characterized by paroxysmal pain. Attacks occur relatively frequently and last from a few hours to as long as a few tens of hours. Migraines with aura are sequences of recurring symptoms such as heraldry, aura and headache. Doctors distinguish between typical auras, which are associated with various visual disorders, and atypical auras, which are associated with neurological disorders (each patient’s is an individual variation). Migraine auras generally appear tens of minutes before the immediate migraine attack. However, the symptoms subside in a fairly short time. Sometimes the aura itself, which is a harbinger of a migraine, occurs completely independently of the migraine and does not end with a headache attack at all.

The attack of a migraine headache is divided by doctors into several phases. The first phase is the prodromal phase, followed by the aura, the pain phase and the postdromal phase. The duration of each phase varies greatly. Often it is an individual issue. A person whose migraine pain begins may not be aware of going through its various phases. In the prodromal, or heraldic phase, one can sometimes experience increased anxiety, cravings. Some patients experience hypersensitivity to noise, smell or light. It is in this phase that visual, sensory or motor auras usually appear. Pain, the least pleasant of all phases, is the most noticeable. The last of the phases, postdromal, is associated with feelings of fatigue, restlessness and hypersensitivity to external stimuli.

There is also a division into migraines related to menstruation, ocular migraine and abdominal migraine. 

Causes of migraines

Migraine is a common disease entity. Nevertheless, scientists still have not clearly established its exact causes. Persistent headaches are caused by many factors. Researchers indicate that genes and the environment may influence the problem.

Genetic conditions cause pain in more than half of patients. The results of a study on twins show that if pain occurs in one child, the risk of the condition occurring in the other child is more than fifty percent.

The causes of migraines are related to environmental factors, otherwise known as triggers; they are linked, for example, to sex hormones. People who struggle with frequent fatigue, stress or sleep disorders are especially prone to migraines. In many people, migraines can also arise from a poor diet. Triggers can be primarily highly processed foods, meat and salt. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks also increase the risk of migraines. 

In addition, interestingly, pains can develop due to atmospheric factors. Changes in pressure, intense exertion or even sexual intercourse can intensify persistent pains.

main photo: unsplash.com/Anthony Tran

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