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Headache & Migrane

What Is a Migraine?

A migraine is a strong headache that often comes with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. It can last hours or days.

Migraine Symptoms

Migraines are different in everyone. In many people, they happen in stages. These stages may include:

Prodrome

Hours or days before a headache, about 60% of people who have migraines notice symptoms like:

  • Being sensitive to light, sound, or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Food cravings or lack of appetite
  • Mood changes
  • Severe thirst
  • Bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhea

Aura

These symptoms stem from your nervous system and often involve your vision. They usually start gradually, over a 5- to 20-minute period, and last less than an hour. You may:

  • See black dots, wavy lines, flashes of light, or things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
  • Have tunnel vision
  • Not be able to see at all
  • Have tingling or numbness on one side of your body
  • Not be able to speak clearly
  • Have a heavy feeling in your arms and legs
  • Have ringing in your ears
  • Notice changes in smell, taste, or touch

Attack

A migraine headache often begins as a dull ache and grows into throbbing pain. It usually gets worse during physical activity. The pain can move from one side of your head to the other, can be in the front of your head, or can feel like it's affecting your entire head.
About 80% of people have nausea along with a headache, and about half vomit. You may also be pale and clammy or feel faint.
Most migraine headaches last about 4 hours, but severe ones can go for more than 3 days. It’s common to get two to four headaches per month. Some people may get migraine headaches every few days, while others get them once or twice a year.