Migraine (Headache)

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Image of migraine. Courtesy wikimedia.

Image of Migraine Development. Courtesy wikimedia.

What Is Migraine?

Migraine is a neurologic disorder characterized by reduced cerebral blood flow that causes a severe headache. The pain is usually on one side of the head, pulsates, and is aggravated by bodily exertion that increases blood pressure.

The type of migraine can be classic with an aura or non-classic without an aura.

Classic migraine begins with an aura that develops over minutes and may last up to an hour before, during, or after the headache. Some people can tell when they are about to have a migraine because they see flashing lights or zigzag lines or they temporarily lose their vision.

Q: What does the aura signify?

A: According to the International Headache Society, an aura signifies an area of brain dysfunction. An aura is different from a trigger. A trigger brings on a migraine while an aura is a response to decreased blood flow.

A study investigating what triggers a migraine found these statistics in 1027 participants of whom 75.9% reported triggers (40.4% infrequently, 26.7% frequently and 8.8% very frequently).

The trigger frequencies were stress (79.7%), hormones in women (65.1%), not eating (57.3%), weather (53.2%), sleep disturbance (49.8%), perfume or odour (43.7%), neck pain (38.4%), light(s) (38.1%), alcohol (37.8%), smoke (35.7%), sleeping late (32.0%), heat (30.3%), food (26.9%), exercise (22.1%) and sexual activity (5.2%).1

Migraine affects about 12% of the U.S. general popululation. It is three times more common in women than in men.

What Is Migraine In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. Kelman L. The triggers or precipitants of the acute migraine attack. Cephalalgia. 2007 May;27(5):394-402. Epub 2007 Mar 30. []