Managing Your Migraine

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
One in Seven people in the UK have migraine. Take our short quiz to discover whether you are one of them

1 in 7 people in the UK have migraine. Are you one of them?

Take our short quiz to discover whether you are a migraneur.

 
 
 
 
 

Migraine Action can help you
We can help you to identify your trigger factors and recognise early warning signs. We can also provide you with information on treatments to help bring your condition under control and keep you informed about the latest research. Migraine can be an isolating condition and we know that it is important for you to have support and understanding.

 
 
The World Health Organisation has classified headache as a major health disorder and has rated migraine amongst the top 20 most disabling lifetime conditions. 1 in 7 people in the UK suffer from migraine. It affects twice as many women as men and can affect people from all age groups (even young children) and all social classes.
There is a great deal of help available to relieve the symptoms and reduce the severity and frequency of migraine attacks, but, as yet, there is no cure for migraine. Our Managing Your Migraine leaflet looks into what migraine is, the triggers that can start an attack and an overview of the various treatments available - including over the counter painkillers, prescriptive medication, long term preventative treatment, complementary treatments and self help measures.
 
 
  Causes and Triggers
      More Information  Treatments...

Exactly what triggers a migraine is very individual to each person. For most people it is rarely just one trigger but a combination of factors which individually can be tolerated but when several occur together or accumulate, a threshold is passed and an attack is triggered.

Keeping a migraine diary can help you understand your triggers.

For more information about triggers, click here.

  There is a wide range of treatments available, both orthodox and complementary, which can be very effective. However, migraine is a complex condition, and a treatment that is successful for one person may have no effect or produce unacceptable side effects for another. It is important to persevere until you develop a management plan that works for you. Please click here for information about acute, preventative and complementary treatment options for migraine.
 
  Who Gets Migraine?
Click on the links below to find out more about managing your migraine:
             
Migraine in Children and Young People   Migraine in Pregnancy   Migraine and Hormones   Migraine in the Over 65s
             

Effects of hormones
Over twice as many women as men suffer from migraine, which is mainly due to hormonal factors.  Many women tend to experience their first migraine in the same year as their first menstrual period. This often leads to a recurring pattern of migraines occurring around the time of menstruation. Menstrual migraines often occur on 2 days either side of the first day of a period.

Hormonal treatments are sometimes considered for menstrual migraine but normally the usual treatments are effective. Magnesium (500 mg daily) and Vitamin B2 (400 mg daily) have also shown to be helpful as preventatives. Before commencing any over the counter medications, please check with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure these medications will not interact with currently prescribed medications.

For more information on migraine and hormones, click on the link provided.

Hormonal influenced migraine
Oral contraceptives can influence migraine, sometimes triggering it for the first time (check with your doctor if this happens), making it worse or even bringing an improvement.  Women who experience migraine with aura have a slightly increased risk of stroke and should discuss oral contraception carefully with their doctor especially if they have other risk factors (e.g. if they smoke or are overweight).

Many women find that their migraine gets worse as they approach the menopause. Hormone replacement therapy can be helpful for some. Please click here to find out further information about headache, the menopause and HRT.

 
 
  Version: 2
  Last Reviewed: November 2011
  Next Review: November 2014