Migraine Relief Headache Relief in Pregnancy Head Pain Causes to Headaches Treatments

Migraine Relief Headache Relief in Pregnancy Head Pain Causes to Headaches Treatments


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Top 10 Causes of Migraine Headaches in Pregnancy If you’re pregnant, you’re no doubt experiencing
new aches and pains. If you’re also one of the millions of pregnant
women who experience migraines, you might be glad to know that pregnancy eases migraine
headache symptoms for many women. But even if it doesn’t for you, the information
in this article can help you cope. Causes of Migraine Headaches
Exactly what causes migraine headaches isn’t known. But migraines appear to involve changes in
nerve pathways, neurochemicals, and blood flow in the brain. Researchers believe that overly excited brain
cells stimulate a release of chemicals. These chemicals irritate blood vessels on
the brain’s surface. That, in turn, causes blood vessels to swell
and stimulate the pain response. Estrogen is thought to play a role in migraines. That’s why pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause
often change a woman’s pattern of migraine headaches. The neurotransmitter serotonin also appears
to have a key role in migraines. Top 10 Tracking Triggers With a Migraine in
Pregnancy Hormone changes during pregnancy are not the only thing that can trigger migraine headaches. Most women have a combination of triggers. For instance, stress, skipped meals, and lack
of sleep may all trigger a migraine. And something that triggers a migraine one
day may not bother you at all the next. Some migraines last a few hours. Others, if left untreated, could last a full
day or even two. Migraines are quite unpredictable. So while pregnancy may make them worse for
one woman, they might completely disappear for another. A headache diary can let you track your particular
triggers. This will help your doctor decide on what
treatment will work best to relieve your specific symptoms. It may also help you recognize a pattern that
tells you which triggers to avoid while you’re pregnant. Each time you have a headache, write down:
• Your specific symptoms: where you feel the pain, what the pain feels like, and any
other symptoms such as vomiting or sensitivity to noise, smells, or bright light
• The time your headache started and ended • Food and beverages you had during the
24 hours before the migraine • Any change in your environment, such as
traveling to a new place, a change in weather, or trying new kinds of food
• Any treatment you tried, and whether it helped or made the headache worse
Common headache triggers include: • Chocolate
• Caffeine • Foods that contain the preservatives MSG
(monosodium glutamate) and nitrates • Aspartame, the sweetener in NutraSweet
and Equal Self-Care and Tests for Migraines Headache
Headaches can be caused by a pregnancy complication called preeclampsia. So your doctor may evaluate you for that condition
before making a diagnosis of migraine. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the
medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter products and natural supplements. Also let your doctor know whether anyone in
your family has had migraines. The doctor often can diagnose migraine from
a headache diary and your medical history. CT scans and other radiology tests to rule
out other causes of your headaches aren’t usually advised in pregnancy. That’s because of the potential risks to the
fetus. Self-Care of Migraines
Your first line of defense against migraine headaches is a healthy lifestyle and self-care. Here are some tips to help you manage migraines
during pregnancy: • Avoid your known triggers, such as specific
foods, as much as possible. • Keep a predictable schedule of meals and
snacks. • Drink plenty of water. • Get plenty of rest. • Consider taking a class in biofeedback
or other relaxation techniques. • When pain strikes, try ice packs, massage,
and resting in a quiet, darkened room. Top 10 Acute Migraine Treatment During pregnancy
Medications for Migraines If you’re pregnant — or planning to get pregnant
soon — your doctor will generally advise you to stay off medications unless they’re
absolutely needed. Together, you’ll have to weigh the potential
effects of a drug on your unborn baby. In some cases, a decision will need to be
made based on scant or inconclusive research into a particular drug. Many of the anti-migraine medications to treat
or prevent migraine headache and its symptoms should be avoided during pregnancy. That’s because they’ve been linked to birth
defects in babies. Other medications are associated with pregnancy
complications. For instance, some have been associated with
bleeding, miscarriage, or intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), a condition in which the
uterus and fetus don’t grow normally. Acute Migraine Treatment
Acute treatment aims to stop a migraine attack after its first signs appear. Pain relievers, also called analgesics, may
help ease the intense pain of migraines. These general pain-relieving drugs, though,
aren’t specific to the migraine pain pathway: • Acetaminophen is generally considered
low-risk during pregnancy. • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
including aspirin, may carry a risk of bleeding and miscarriage if taken near the time of
conception. There is also a possible risk of blood pressure
complications in the baby if they are taken in the third trimester. Aspirin taken near delivery may lead to excess
blood loss in mothers during birth. • Most NSAIDs, including ibuprofen — sold
over the counter under the brand names Advil and Motrin — and naproxen — sold as Aleve
and other brands — don’t have enough controlled human research studies to assess all their
risks in pregnancy. • Narcotic pain relievers should generally
be avoided. There is a dual risk of addiction in both
mothers and babies if they are used for prolonged periods of time. Ergotamines work specifically for migraine
pain. But doctors advise against taking these drugs
during pregnancy. They carry a risk of birth defects, especially
if taken in the first trimester. These drugs may also stimulate labor contractions
and premature birth. Triptans work specifically on the migraine
pain pathway. Triptans aren’t known to cause birth defects. But most research to date has focused on animals,
not humans. In 2008 The Journal of the American Medical
Association renewed its warning against combining triptans with two common classes of antidepressant:
• selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
• selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
The combination carries the risk of a life-threatening condition called “serotonin
syndrome.” Other medications may be prescribed for relief
of specific symptoms of a migraine during pregnancy. For instance, antiemetics help soothe the
vomiting and nausea that can accompany a migraine. But many of the drugs typically used for migraine
haven’t been adequately studied in pregnancy, so their safety or risk to the fetus has not
been determined. Top 10 Preventive Migraine Treatment in Pregnancy
If you have severe, recurring attacks, preventive treatment may stop future attacks or reduce
their severity. Many of the drugs used for prevention were
originally used for other conditions, such as high blood pressure. See a neurologist experienced with treating
pregnant women. She’ll prescribe a medicine in the lowest
dose needed to help you and likely recommend some kind of talk therapy. Relatively safe medications for migraines
include beta-blockers, such as propranolol and labetalol, as well as calcium channel
blockers such as verapamil. When you’re pregnant, always talk with your
doctor before taking any drug, herbal product, or natural medicine. If you can’t take medications or wish not
to, a device might be worth considering. Cefaly is the first FDA-approved device for
preventing migraines in people over age 18. The portable headband-like device gives electrical
impulses on the skin at the forehead. This stimulates a nerve associated with migraine
headaches. Cefaly is used once a day for 20 minutes,
and when it’s on you’ll feel a tingling or massaging sensation. If you’re seeing a headache specialist, double-check
with your obstetrician or certified midwife about the safety of any medications during
pregnancy. While migraine pain may be excruciating, taking
a risk with your baby’s health could cause lifelong health problems for your child.

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