Saturday, June 29, 2013

National Migraine Awareness Month

June is National Migraine Awareness Month- a time to inform and increase awareness of Migraine and Headache Disorders. Roughly 36 million people in the United States suffer from migraines , and three out of every four migraine sufferers are women typically ages 18 through 35. I turn 35 this year so this means I will magically stop getting them soon, right?! Haha. Don't I wish it was that simple! The pain of a migraine is some of the most severe and debilitating there is, and yet I find it amazing that there isn't more known about this disease- yep, that's right. Migraine is a disease, not just a headache. Symptoms can include an intense pounding or throbbing; without any bit of exaggerating, I can describe the pain as feeling like my brain is swelling up so large it is going to make my skull explode. Gross visual I know, but it is true. In the midst of a migraine, I am not only in pain but honestly am afraid that major damage is being done to my head- even though I know it isn't the case, it truly feels like it. Migraines are typically associated with nausea and sensitivity to light and sound and the pain is usually felt on one side of the head.

While fatigue and stress can trigger headaches in some people, migraines also have additional unique triggers:

Diet: Certain chemicals in food and beverages can cause migraines. Eating more fresh and fewer processed foods can also help rid your body of toxins or chemicals that could be causing your headaches.

Hydration: Dehydration can lead to migraines. Drinking plenty of water can help prevent this, and also helps rid your body of chemicals and toxins.

Weather changes: Changes in weather or barometric pressure can trigger migraines.

Menstrual cycle: Women with a history of migraines often report headaches immediately before or during their periods, when they have a drop in estrogen.

I am lucky enough that I can eat or drink what I want and not be affected by migraines.  Foods are not one of my triggers.  But really I wish they were! My own personal triggers are weather changes (hello storm- hello headache!) and my menstrual cycle.  Without fail, I get at least a migraine a month due to my cycle.  Unfortunately I can't control the weather or the fact that I was born a woman! So it looks like my migraines are here to stay. 

As there are numerous potential migraine triggers, and these triggers vary from person to person, tracking these potential migraine triggers is key for helping to manage migraines.  In fact, a recent survey conducted by Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., the makers of Excedrin® Migraine found that an overwhelming majority of female migraine sufferers (93%) wish they knew more about their migraine triggers, while only 11 percent of women who suffer from migraines track their triggers regularly.

I've told you about the  FREE My Migraine Triggers iPhone App before and if you aren't using it yet, go download it now!!  (it is available for android as well as iPhone). It is an invaluable resource in discovering what it is that is your own personal trigger.  It can be anything from chocolate, red wine, the smell of cologne, MSG, flashing or florescent lights, weather, and hormones... the list goes on and on! It isn't the same for any two people, so seeing what causes you pain can help you steer clear of those things and stop a future migraine attack from starting. 

With the use of this app, I was able to discover that birth control pills were actually contributing to my migraines! I stopped taking them in January, and guess what- my migraines have reduced enormously! At first I didn't put two and two together, but the app helps keep track of everything you can think of and helps to discover the common denominator to the problem.  And as I look back into my medical history, I can see that yep, the times when I was Birth Control free I had much fewer migraines. 

I am over the moon that I have paired up with Excedrin Migraine and get to work as an Ambassador, spreading awareness and offering information to all of my fellow sufferers. If I help one person, I did my job!  Another lucky perk is I get to host yet another Giveaway! 

One lucky winner will receive A Prize Package to help you relax, hydrate and stop a migraine before it starts!

Aero Snooze:
Three-piece set includes TSA-compliant carrying pouch with soft nylon eye mask and foam earplugs to help travelers drift off to sleep.

Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow:
This u-shaped travel pillow is made of memory foam to provide support that correctly aligns your neck and spine, while supporting your head in sumptuously soft comfort.

Tritan from Eastman Water Bottle W/ Straw:
This 25 oz. bottle is made of durable Tritan material, BPA free and meets FDA requirements. This bottle is impact and shatter resistant and does not retain odor and/or taste.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!!


Katie Johnson said...

I also have menstrual and weather triggered migraines. Ugh! Have a great day! :)

Crystal @EatDrinkClev said...

Stress is my biggest trigger - tight neck, pounding head, ugh!

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J Ross said...

Weather and stress. Menstrual cycles used to be a trigger before my hysterectomy. perfumes and aerosols do it also!

Stacy said...

Flashing strobe type lights if they are close by, especially if accompnied by loud noise

Anonymous said...

I haven't pin pointed my trigger I usually wake up with one

Cameron Von St James said...

Hey I have a quick question about your blog, could you email me when you have a chance? Thanks! -Cam

Agnes Lawson said...

Thanks for supporting the National Migraine Awareness Month, and for sharing some tidbits for your fellow migraine sufferers. It’s true that there are a lot of factors that could trigger a migraine, and so it goes to follow that there is a different cure for each case. Yours is seemingly environmental and hormonal, and therefore it’s only wise you stopped taking those, pills which obviously were the major culprit for it.

Agnes Lawson @ MedWell Spine

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