Are you having intense headaches too many times each month? Wondering why your headaches last too long? That could be a migraine attack. Find out what causes migraines in females in this article and what you can do to lessen the occurrence of migraine attacks so you will be able to function well in your day to day life.
As a medical condition, migraines are intense and throbbing headaches that are usually felt on one side or both sides of the head. The symptoms of migraines affect millions of people, most of which are women. In this post, we will discuss what causes migraines in females? Let us begin by understanding what migraines are, their causes, and the various types of migraines.
What are Migraines?
Many people who experience migraines have headaches that are severely painful. The headache you feel because of a migraine can be felt in the temples, behind the eyes or ears, and other parts of the head. Other than the pain, migraines may also cause you to feel nauseous. Consequently, vomiting may ensue. Apart from vomiting and nausea, you may also be more sensitive to sound and light. People suffering from migraines may also experience seeing flashing lights, spots, and sometimes lose their vision temporarily.
Migraine attacks can happen any time. However, studies show that most of the attacks happen in the morning. Migraine pain can last somewhere between a number of hours to a few days. There are people who experience migraine attacks one to two times every week. There are also others who only suffer from it a few times in a year. Most cases of migraines are not serious and do not pose a threat to a person’s overall wellbeing. However, migraine attacks can greatly affect how you function in your everyday life.
The causes of migraines are usually not known. Nevertheless, here are some of the common factors of people suffering from migraine attacks are the following:
• The ages of people affected by migraines are from 15 to 55.
• Family history of migraines is a huge factor if you will also suffer from it.
• Migraines are more common among women.
• As you get older, your migraines become less severe and also less frequent.
What are the Causes of Migraines?
As to what factors exactly cause migraine attacks is not yet known. Many experts think that the attacks are because of abnormal changes in the brain. Some of these changes can be causes of inflammation which then makes the blood vessels found in the brain to become swollen. When this happens, the nearby nerves are pressed which then causes pain. The genes are also a factor why some people suffer from migraine attacks. Those who have migraines may have particular genes that function differently when it comes to how brain cells function.
What experts know is that people suffering from migraines react to various factors called triggers. The triggers can be different from one individual to the next. Not all of the triggers always cause a migraine attack. Rather it is a combination of various triggers that can cause a migraine attack to take place. How a person reacts to the triggers can also be different. In women, some of the common triggers for migraines are the following:
• Foods containing tyramine like Chianti wine, smoked fish, fava beans, hard sausages, soy products, and aged cheeses.
• Foods containing monosodium glutamate or MSG which is used to enhance the flavor of food.
• Foods with nitrates like lunch meats and hot dogs.
• Too much caffeine or withdrawal from it.
• Alcoholic beverages such as red wine in particular
• Changes in the weather
• Anxiety, stress, and even relaxation after a stressful event
• Hormonal changes during menstruation
• Strong odors, loud noises, and bright lights
• Skipping meals
• Too much or too little sleep
To determine the triggers of your migraine attacks, it is best to keep a diary so you can record the times when you have a headache. For days that you have a migraine attack, record that in the diary. Along with that, you can also record the following:
• At what time of the day did your headache begin?
• The place and the activity you were doing when the headache started?
• The food or beverages that you consumed within the last 24 hours before the migraine attack.
• The days when you have menstruation so that the doctor may be able to check if the migraine attacks happen at the time that you are having your period.
It is important that you talk to your physician about the triggers you have recorded in your diary so that you will be given the appropriate treatment for your migraine.
Two Types of Migraines
There are many types of migraines. However, there are two most common types. These are migraines with or without aura. Migraine with aura used to be called by the term classical migraine. With this type, the individual suffering from the attack may have sensory symptoms that are called “aura.” The symptoms may be felt somewhere between ten to thirty minutes before the onset of the migraine attack. Here are some of the symptoms of migraine with aura:
• Having a “fuzzy” mental state
• Abnormal sense of touch, taste, or smell
• Tingling or numbness in the hands or face
• Having blind spots, seeing zigzag lines or flashing lights.
According to statistics, about one in five individuals suffering from migraine experience it with an aura. When compared, women get this kind of migraine less often as those with men.
The second most common type of migraine is called migraine without aura. Before, it was called by the term common migraine. When a person experiences this type of migraine, he or she does not experience an aura but will feel all the other discomforts of a migraine attack.
When to Seek Medical Attention for a Headache?
If you are having headaches often, it may be an indicator that there is an underlying medical problem that should be addressed. It is important that you talk to your physician immediately so you can describe the headaches, the intensity, and frequency of the attacks. Such information is needed so that the doctor will be able to provide you with the appropriate treatment.
If you experience any of the following symptoms while having a headache, do seek medical attention immediately:
• If you used to not have headaches but now experience it often
• You had an accident or blow to the head and then you experience a headache after that
• You have convulsions while having a headache
• You become confused or you can’t focus because of the headache
• The headache is severe and you also have a stiff neck
• There is pain around your ear or eye during the headache
• During a headache, you feel nauseous, experience vomiting, or have sensory problems such as tingling or numbness in some areas of your body
• If your headache is causing you to miss school or work, and you can’t function properly in your everyday life
• If the headache comes often in a month and it lasts for a number of a hours up to a few days
Headaches are more common in females than in males. For example, in four people suffering from migraine attacks, three of those are women. Migraine attacks commonly happen in women aging from 20 to 45 years old. During this time in a woman’s life, she has so much to juggle such as work, family, and other social obligations and responsibilities. This contributes to the triggers that can cause migraine attacks.
Women are more likely to feel headaches that are more painful. The headaches also last longer and there are more symptoms being reported like vomiting and nausea. These factors make it more difficult for women to function and fulfill their roles both at home and at work whenever there is a migraine attack.
These are the things that you ought to know about migraine attacks in women. Females unfortunately suffer from more frequent and more intense migraine attacks as compared to men. There are many factors as to why this is so such as hormonal changes during menstruation and the stresses of numerous social responsibilities.
The migraine attacks do not have a cure. However, it can be treated so that it can be more manageable. Some of the ways that the migraine can be treated is by taking medications such as pain relief meds. But before taking any medicine, it is important that you talk to your doctor first so that you can have the much-needed medical attention for your migraine.
Preventing an attack is among the best ways that you can ensure that you won’t be suffering from a headache too often. You can do this by avoiding triggers, having enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. Also, it is best that you limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption. If none of these work and you still experience terrible migraine attacks, make an appointment with your doctor immediately.
Dr. Tymothy L. Flory graduated from Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Missouri. Before opening Atlas Brain Spine, Dr. Flory practiced Upper Cervical Chiropractic in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Flory completed Board Certification of the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association in 2012 and is currently a Credentialed Instructor for the organization.