A migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head.
Many people also have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound.
Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around one in every five women and around one in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood.
There are several types of migraine, including:
Some people have migraines frequently, up to several times a week. Other people only have a migraine occasionally. It's possible for years to pass between migraine attacks.
However, be careful not to take too many painkillers as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time.
You should also make an appointment to see your GP if you have frequent migraines (on more than five days a month), even if they can be controlled with medication, as you may benefit from preventative treatment.
You should call 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone you're with experiences:
These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a stroke or meningitis , and should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.
Some people find they need to stay in bed for days at a time.
However, a number of effective treatments are available to reduce the symptoms and prevent further attacks.
Migraine attacks can sometimes get worse over time, but they tend to gradually improve over many years for most people.
A migraine is usually a severe headache felt as a throbbing pain at the front or side of the head. Many people also have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound. Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around one in every five women and around one in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood.
The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache that occurs at the front or on one side of the head. Other symptoms commonly associated with a migraine include: nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and sound which is why many people with a migraine want to rest in a quiet, dark room. Some people also occasionally experience other symptoms, including: sweating, poor concentration, feeling very hot or very cold, abdominal (tummy) pain, diarrhoea.
The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but they're thought to be the result of abnormal brain activity temporarily affecting nerve signals, chemicals and blood vessels in the brain. It's not clear what causes this change in brain activity, but it's possible that your genes make you more likely to experience migraines as a result of a specific trigger.
There's no specific test to diagnose migraines. For an accurate diagnosis to be made, your GP must identify a pattern of recurring headaches along with the associated symptoms. Migraines can be unpredictable, sometimes occurring without the other symptoms. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis can sometimes take time.
There is currently no cure for migraines, although a number of treatments are available to help ease the symptoms. It may take time to work out the best treatment for you. You may need to try different types or combinations of medicines before you find the most effective ones. If you find you can't manage your migraines using over-the-counter medicines, your GP may prescribe something stronger.
Migraines are associated with a small increased risk of ischaemic strokes, and a very small increased risk of mental health problems. Studies have shown that people who experience migraines (particularly migraine with aura) have about twice the risk of having an ischaemic stroke at some point compared to people without migraines.
There are a number of ways you can reduce your chances of experiencing migraines. One of the best ways of preventing migraines is recognizing the things that trigger an attack and trying to avoid them. You may find you tend to have a migraine after eating certain foods or when you're stressed and by avoiding this trigger, you can prevent a migraine.
Debbie was 12 years old when she first began having symptoms of migraine. For the next 10 years, Debbie battled with her regular headaches. She went back to the doctor several times but nothing seemed to work.