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 Frequently asked questions


Below are some frequently asked questions we get on our helpline.


How do I know if I suffer from migraine?

If you are getting a headache and two or more of the migraine symptoms that are stopping you from carrying on with normal daily activities, it is likely you could be suffering from migraine.  For details about symptoms associated with migraine, click here.


I used to get a migraine once or twice a year, but now I seem to be getting them every month?
If your headache changes in any way, in type, symptoms, severity or frequency, please seek medical advice to confirm the diagnosis and discuss appropriate treatment.

Migraine tends to evolve over your lifetime.  Try keeping a diary to see if there is any reason for this recent change. Click here to download a diary sheet.

I have suffered with migraine since my late-teens. I am now going through the menopause and have noticed that my migraines are getting worse, and the treatment I take makes no difference at all when it used to. Why is this?
Many women report that their migraine gets worse around the time of their menopause. If your current treatment is no longer providing relief you should consult your GP to discuss other options.
Click here for information about treatment options. For leaflets about migraine and hormones, click here.
  I've heard that if I stop eating chocolate I should be able to control my migraines?
It is a well known myth that if you avoid chocolate, cheese and red wine, you won't get migraine.  There are many different triggers for migraine and what may affect one person does not necessarily affect another.  For most people it is not just one trigger but a combination of factors which can trigger an attack.  Click here to read more about triggers.
My mum has always suffered from migraine for as long as I can remember; does this mean I will too?
There may be a genetic predisposition to migraine, as it does tend to run in families.
However, not everyone in the family will get it. If you are concerned please click here to see a list of the most common symptoms associated with migraine.
  I prefer not to take pills to help relieve my migraine pain: are there any complementary treatments I could try?
There are many alternative approaches to migraine management, which do not necessitate taking pills and other medications.  These include simple lifestyle changes to avoid known triggers and complementary treatments.

My 8 year old often complains of bad headaches, do children also get migraine?
Yes, children can also get migraine, although theirs can be different to adults.
Children normally report a headache that is more in the forehead or the middle of the head rather than on one side and their migraines are shorter.  Sometimes in younger children the predominant symptoms are abdominal pain. For more information about migraine in children, click here.


My doctor has suggested that I try a course of preventative treatment, but I don't really understand what they are and how they will work?
If you are experiencing more than 4 migraine attacks every month, a preventative treatment may be suggested by your GP. This type of medication is taken every day to reduce the severity and/or frequency of attacks.  For more information on preventative treatments, click here.

My family and work colleagues think I use my migraine to get out of doing things at home or at work. This is not true but how do I make them understand what I go through?
Because migraineurs are normally quite well between attacks, non-sufferers find it difficult to understand how you can be well one minute and then really unwell the next. 
It is important for them to understand more about the condition and how it affects you. At Migraine Action we have numerous leaflets available to help increase awareness of this much misunderstood condition. Please click here to find out more.
Employers and colleagues can be sceptical when you are off sick because of a migraine. Please click here to find an information booklet about the support you can recieve from your employer.

I have always suffered from migraines; does this make me prone to having a stroke?
Migraine sufferers have a very small increased risk of stroke, if they are female, under 35 years old and suffer from migraine with aura. It is the aura itself which is the risk factor amongst this age group. It should also be noted that women who have migraine may also increase their risk of stroke if they take oral contraceptives.

For other migraineurs smoking, high blood pressure or being overweight are also considered important risk factors. By being aware of the potential risks, you can make lifestyle changes to help you lead a healthier lifestyle. Click here to read more about migraine and stroke.

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