When Migraines Attack: How to Stop Them Before They Start

The word is out: Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann suffers from occasional migraines and she’s not alone. Millions of people have to deal with the pounding, pain and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines not only cause pain and suffering but also can cause people to miss days at work- bad news for Miss Bachmann, because the President doesn’t get sick days.

The letter released from her doctor states that she is aware of her triggers. Examples of migraine triggers can be hormone-related (pre- or post-menopause), stress, too much exercise, warm weather and strong smells. Food and drink triggers included things like aged cheeses such as blue cheese, feta, mozzarella and Parmesan, red wines and certain liquors. Tyramine is the culprit and is a chemical substance that is contained in both. You might also be able to blame your migraines on your Mom or Dad because they are sometimes hereditary. There has also been a possible link drawn between obesity and increased occurrence of migraines.

Congresswoman Bachmann was diagnosed with “migraines with aura”, which are  migraines accompanied by spots in vision and possibly temporary vision loss. The aura usually appears 20 minutes to an hour before the migraine itself. Patients usually experience throbbing pain in one or both temples, have difficulty dealing with strong odors, like perfumes or cologne, and excessive light or noise, accompanied by some form of nausea, vomiting, or dizziness.

It was revealed by her doctor that Miss Bachmann’s treatment of choice is Sumatriptan and Ondansetron. Sumatriptan is considered an abortive medication to help stop the migraine which is taken at the onset of a headache. Other drugs that are considered abortive are the Triptan drug class, Migranal and over-the-counters like Tylenol, Excedrin migraine and Advil. Ondansetron is a medication used to help treat nausea and vomiting. Other options to help with nausea and vomiting symptoms include Compazine, Reglan or Phenergan.

If you suffer from migraines, there are a few things you can do to prevent them. Know your triggers and avoid them if possible. There are currently some preventative prescription options you can try including Topamax, beta-blockers like propranlol and calcium-channel blockers like verapamil. There are some supplements that claim to prevent migraines including feverfew, coenzyme q-10 and buterbur. As with many supplements, most studies were very small and inconclusive.

Whether you want to be the President of the United States or just not be balled up in a dark, quiet corner, no one should have to experience a migraine. Know your options and choose the best remedy for you.

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