Statistics from the Malaysian Ministry of Health show that 1 in 4 women have experienced migraines sometime in their lives. These usually start from our adolescence and increases in prevalence into our adulthood.
Lisa has also been experiencing migraine attacks from time to time, since her age transition from being a girl to being a woman, not to mention now that she has become a mother, too.
Generally, the occurrence of migraine attacks reduce after the age of 45-50. However, some of us may still experience migraine attacks throughout our whole lives, usually a sign of chronic migraine problems.
Migraine isn’t an easy topic to discuss about, since it can be intermittent and is usually viewed as a common problem, rather than a chronic disease. However, how do we know if we have serious migraine issues?
What is Migraine?
Although the formation of a migraine attack is still unable to be explained medically, what we know is that it involves the contraction and expansion of the blood vessels connected to the brain.
Migraine pain happens when the blood flow at the back of the brain is reduced, causing an increase of blood flow at the front part of the brain.
Types of Migraine
There are typically 2 types of migraine:
- Migraine without aura: Patient experiences a headache without aura (without warning)
- Migraine with aura: Headaches come after an aura (warning signs)
Migraines without aura happen 5 times more often than those without one. These auras mean the signs or symptoms before a migraine attack.
4 Likely Causes of Your Migraine
Psychological and mental states like depression, anxiety, rage, exhaustion, and stress affect our prevalence of migraine attacks. These can be caused by stress related to work, family, financial or personal problems.
In Lisa’s case, it’s usually due to her stress of being a first-time mum. It is a big challenge for her because she used to be so pampered by her dad, too!
Due to a lack of sleep, Lisa experienced changes in her psychological cycles and suffered from frequent migraine attacks.
The case is different for Romeo. As a doctor, he is constantly burdened with work-related stress instead.
Did you know that migraine attacks don’t happen when you are stressed, but only after you’re calm? This is also known as the weekend migraine.
To avoid this:
- Wake up at the regular hours during the weekend as you do on weekdays. You can take a nap 2-3 hours later.
- Make sure you maintain stable stress levels throughout the week. Don’t create your own mental, physical, or emotional stress.
- Drink plenty of plain water
- If you are out during the weekends, wear sunglasses with UV protection to avoid exposure to direct sunlight.
If your psychological problems affect your daily productivity, you may want to consider some psychological clinics available in Malaysia.
2. Diet and food intake
“I love cheese! But I get headaches after I eat them!”
Can foods also be one of the causes of migraine? What are these foods? Let’s hope they aren’t the foods that I love…
Alcohol contains phenol, a photochemical ingredient. The ingredients in beer or whiskey increases the production of serotonin that causes migraine. Alcohol also contains a high content of tyramine.
Caffeine like tea and coffee have stimulating effects. The intake of caffeine will stimulate the blood vessels and cause a migraine. If you intend to take caffeine, take it slowly.
- Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, tangerines and mandarin oranges can cause migraines because
- Foods high in tyramine
These include cheese, yogurt, and beans. These foods are high in amino acids that can lead to headaches.
3. Environmental factors
Prolonged and frequent exposure to bright lights like the screens of televisions, laptops, and smartphones are among the causes of migraines. The light that enters the sensory of your eyes will affect all the way to your brain.
Besides that, noise is also an environmental disturbance that can cause migraine. This includes noise from vehicles, loud music and others.
Did you know that smell or odour from your environment can also cause migraines? Strong perfume smell or cigarette smoke can cause discomfort and lead to migraines.
Sometimes, the catalytic factor of a migraine attack may be our own reproductive system.
Statistics have also shown that women are more prone to migraine attacks, mainly due to our reproductive system in relation to hormonal changes, menstrual periods, or menopause.
If you have any enquiries about female reproductive or gynaecological issues, you should find a women specialist clinic near you.
Thinking back, Lisa also started having her migraine attacks during puberty, especially during her menstrual periods, due to the hormonal changes.
Now, she suffers frequent migraines during the night when she loses sleep over taking care of Lemon.
Does sleep affect migraines?
Yes, migraine attacks can happen due to changes in sleep and rest behaviour and habits. Generally, we need about 8 hours of rest per day. Any lesser than that would impact our mental health.
Migraine attacks should be taken seriously as it is not a common headache as you think. It may be worse if left alone! Migraine is not a lethal disease but if you have no precautionary measures it can be painful as well.
For a young mother like Lisa, take a vigilant step on migraine attacks on yourself. There is nothing that can not be cured as long as there is effort!
If you have ever had a problem with migraine attacks and want to share with others do not forget to share with us by posting comments in the comments section below.