Does anyone suffer from migraines?

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I suffer from chronic daily migraines, and am curious who on NC also gets migraines regularly. I've been a migraineur since I was a teenager - I'm 40 now. They didn't become chronic until I was in my 20s, and didn't become as frequent until I was in my mid 30s. They're daily now, sometimes not always excruciating, but always there.

I have to be very careful about fragrances in products, because I'm hypersensitive to smells. If I can smell something in a product - hair products, lotions, even deodorant - more than a few minutes after I've put it on I can't use it. It'll set off a bad headache that if I leave untreated, will turn into a migraine 9 times out of 10.

Anyone else get migraines, and have their migraines triggered by smells?
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My mom is like this! She's 48 and has had them since around her late 20s or early 30s. The perfume/makeup department in Macy's is a nightmare for her, they always bombard her with random fragrances haha and then she gets the worst migraines. Hers have gotten less frequent since she changed her diet, though -- after she stopped eating chips, cookies, chocolate and other excessively processed food, and quit drinking tons of soda, they are much less frequent. It's odd, but she's very happy about it! I doubt it would cure migraines for everyone, but hey, it worked for her.
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I get them, but thankfully not daily. Mine are triggered by a few different things, including smells. The worst scent for me is lavender but they're also triggered by many perfumes, rosemary, and cleaning products. It sucks because you never know when some random person at work is going to spray lavender everywhere.
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Aww, I'm really sorry Auntie Bubbs, migraines are horrible. I don't get them daily, but for several days in a row every couple months. Mine seem to be hormone related (just before or during my period, like my asthma these days), but smells will definitely trigger them even outside of that time. I've been getting them since age 16, complete with auras, I'm now 39. I have lots of allergies and asthma and other immune disorders (crohn's disease, reynaud's syndrome, hives...) plus depression and anxiety. I've tried one of the serotonin treatments, but have found all that's really safe for me given other meds I'm on is popping tylenol (can't take advil or anything stronger otc cuz it irritates the crohn's) and turning off all the lights and trying to sleep. My HG hair product has no scent added. People's perfume and hair products on the train or on the street can set off migraine, asthma, sneezing, and/or hives. I wouldn't be able to go home in the dark as often as needed if I still worked full time. Hugs to you, I can't imagine dealing with migraines every day!!
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I don't usually get them more than once or twice a. Month but I've got one now.
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Many things can trigger mine, but by far scent is the worst. I don't get them daily but probably around twice a month.


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I've dealth with migraines, varying in severity, since I was 16. Smells aren't a major trigger but do contribute.

I started taking magnesium glycinate daily for muscle pain and I've had fewer migraines. Read the IV magnesium is frequently used in the ER to treat an acute migraine. Magnesium also helps to prevent migraines.

. A Comprehensive Medicine Approach to Migraines | Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum
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I started with frequent migraines when I was still a toddler (according to my parents I was diagnosed at age 2). They were horrible for a really long time (I still remember nights I slept on the bathroom floor because the nausea was so bad) and smell was a definite trigger for me. The worst was definitely watermelon scented gum/candy. And I'm still hypersensitive when it comes to that. I can smell someone eating a watermelon flavored Jolly Rancher from across the room. Thankfully I seemed to get better control over them as I got older and I only get about 3-4 truly debilitating migraines a year (I'm in my 30s now). But fake watermelon scent will still throw me into a nearly instant migraine.

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Last edited by Corrina777; 05-01-2012 at 05:11 AM.
Yup I get them. I've always had really bad headaches. Usually at least once a week or a couple a month. I finally decided to go to my doctor about when I was in college because I would have to skip class because the pain was so bad. I got a pill you are supposed to take right when it hits, but it actually made the pain worse do about four hours - like it was all concentrated on top of my head and just POUNDING - before it finally cleared the headache so I was always scared to take it unless it was the worst migraine. So now I'm on a low dose antidepressant that is supposed to prevent migraines because you take it daily. However yesterday I had a migraine after accidentally taking my pill after having some wine the night before (which you aren't supposed to do so it was totally my fault).

I have never gotten a headache from smells before. They've never bothered me. Usually nothing triggers them at all but sometimes it's my eyes - bright lights, too much screen time.

Last edited by vanek07; 05-01-2012 at 06:03 AM.
Sorry for rambling but I understand how horrible migraines can be and maybe one or more of these options could help..

I rarely get migraines, maybe 4 times a year, but my BFF has suffered from them since age 10. He is now 37. Everything sets him off and I think 60% of the time he stresses so much about getting another migraine that he brings it on. His are vicious. In the past I've seen him rarely leave his room or eat for weeks, and he would often vomit from the pain. He recently started seeing a new doctor who has put him on a special diet, migraine med's, and blood pressure med's. He does not have high BP at all. It's strictly for migraine therapy. They are also discussing oxygen therapy but he does not have insurance and it would be $70 a month for tank rental. I wish he could give it a try because it is supposed to be very effective. Since getting in with a doc who is working with him/getting him free to cheap med's through a program, he is suffering less. He still has migraines that last 3 or 4 days in a row, but only once every 3 months compared to every week or 2. It's a vast improvement for him.

I also have a cousin who has suffered with them her entire life. She had allergy tests done and found she is allergic to... everything. Dairy, nuts, gluten, you name it... The allergy symptoms had strictly came out in the form of migraines. Since drastically changing her diet 3 years ago, she has had none.
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I've suffered from migraines since I was 18. I'm 40 now. About a year ago I changed my diet and added several supplements including vit. D. Whereas I used to get them daily I now haven't had one in at least 4 mos. I attribute it to the change in my diet but I'm not sure. Loud noises and chaos were my triggers. Perfume just makes me sneeze and light doesn't affect me. I can see how those might be triggers though for a lot of people.

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I've been a migraine sufferer since I was a preteen. They probably started with the onset of puberty. I tried so many doctors, techniques and medicines over the years. For a while my headaches consumed 3-4 days each week. Early on I went to Bill Speed of the Speed Headache Clinic in Baltimore, affiliated with Hopkins and the one really important habit that came from that was keeping a journal about what I ate, slept, felt, etc, etc.

My life changed drastically when I was in my early thirties and went to a new doctor and she diagnosed me with food allergies (and I am not talking about the migraine trigger foods.) I had to stop eating many of my go-to foods but miraculously 85% of my headaches stopped almost immediately. It was that way for almost 20 years and then I started reading this blog Headache and Migraine News

I typically wake up with my migraines and there was an article about hot head causing headaches and how if you keep your head cool at night that can be avoided. I started sleeping with an ice pack in a pillowcase on my neck or head and I haven't had a headache since September. I've stopped getting my Imitrex because I use it so infrequently that I was afraid it would be expired.

My advice is to keep seeking help, go to new doctors, research and be open to changing your life. When the food allergy diagnosis first came up, I thought this doctor was nuts but she wasn't. She gave me back my life and I will always be grateful to her. Good Luck!
Yes I get them. I have so many random triggers its crazy. One type of cheese, not another, one type of wine, not another. Its like Russian Roulette.
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I suffer from occipital neuralgia, which is similar to migraines.

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Wow, I had no idea there's be so many responses!

I actually have to cover my nose walking through Macy's - the perfume counter kills me

I am very, very careful about what I eat. I stopped drinking any kind of alcohol about 5 years ago. It helped alot. I see a nuerologist regularly. Actually, I've been seeing a nuero since I was diagnosed, in my 20s. Not the same one, though. I've had problems with them; eventually when they realize they can't "cure" me they get mad at me, think I'm not following their advice, or something. I'm on my third one one now, I've been seeing him for about 4 years or so, and I can kind of tell he's reaching that point with me. I hope not, but we'll see. I've been to a headache/pain specialist as well, he was worse than the nuero. He acted like it was a personal affront when my migraines didn't get better.
I've been on an anti-siezure med/preventative (triptan) combo for a while, and it's effective in reducing intensity, but not frequency. I have a rescue medicatio for when the triptan fails. My body builds up a tolerance to what I'm on though, and I can't convince my dr. to switch it up. Or when he does, what he switches it up with doesn't work - I've had bad reactions to meds before. I tried the low dose of antidepressants before, and that didn't work for me.

I totally understand the reasoning behind food allergies maybe being behind migraines. You can totally control migraines to a huge extent by controlling your diet - and for alot of people, that's the battle. I am hypervigilant about what I eat, even though it means cutting out things I love.

Stress is a HUGE, HUGE trigger, and the dr. says I have to get a handle on that. I just think, really? No! Its hard to do, easy to say. We live in stressful times now, telling anyone not to worry about their lives, finances, the economy, whatever, is like telling them not to breathe, you know? I guess doctors are immune to that kind of stress. Since somehow I doubt that, I can't imagine he doesn't know what I mean. But I try not to let stress give me migraines. Easier said than done. And of course, hormones are a huge trigger too, and I can't do a thing about those!

I keep hoping that when I get older, they'll be easier to deal with. I hoped that when I was in my mid-30s and I'm 40 now, so I'm waiting patiently!
That's me with FSG as my styler!!

3b. fine & thick, coarse, dry, medium porosity. Sucks up product and loves ACVs! FSG is my HG!

Currently using:
Low Poo: TJ's Refresh No Poo: CoWash w/VO-5; Sonoma Soap Company sulfate-free poo
RO: Yes to Cuc; SSC Lavender Condish; Sally GVP LI: Donna Marie Miracle D&C
Style: FSG w/Aussie Instant Freeze & CIAB

Last edited by Auntie Bubbs; 05-01-2012 at 10:52 AM.
I was diagnosed at about 14, but I've had them since I was a kid. I get a terrible aura...well before I have any pain I have a lot of visual symptoms. You know how if you look at the sun, or a bright camera flash, and then you can't see what you're looking at? That's what it's like for me. It's like I'm blind...I can't possibly drive, or type, or read anything.

I only have 2 triggers I know of...dehydration, and coming down from stress. I've been on propranolol daily since I was a kid. It's amazing for me. I barely get them anymore. Actually, I'm going to try asking about lowering my dosage. However, preventative medicines are really my only choice, because none of the medicines to take for the migraines once you have it work for me. Every one I've tried (imitrex, topomax, etc.) just make it worse.


Oh, and I have a HUGE pet peeve about people who have a headache saying they have a migraine. A migraine is a totally different beast than a headache. Yes, they both involve your head, and they both are unpleasant, but that's where the similarities end! A bad headache is bad, but it is not a migraine.
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Had them starting about third grade then they subsided until about 16 lasting for about 5 years.

Started up again mid-30's, now also with visual auras, specifically, scintillating scotomas. That went on once every few months for about 10 years, then they became much more frequent - I could definitely see a hormonal relation during this time.

Now with menopause, they've subsided somewhat again, though I still get both headaches and auras, sometimes together, often separately.

Smells have always contributed, but I've never been able to pinpoint any food that seemed to play a role except wine, of any kind. Bright and/or pulsing lights make them much worse, if not actually trigger them.

Of my mother's 10 brothers and sisters, at least 4 have them - mostly females, though none with aura. One of my sisters, and now her teenage son, have them, neither with auras - I seem to be the only one in the family who gets that added pleasure
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Last edited by WurlyLox; 05-02-2012 at 08:57 AM.
I was diagnosed at about 14, but I've had them since I was a kid. I get a terrible aura...well before I have any pain I have a lot of visual symptoms. You know how if you look at the sun, or a bright camera flash, and then you can't see what you're looking at? That's what it's like for me. It's like I'm blind...I can't possibly drive, or type, or read anything.

I only have 2 triggers I know of...dehydration, and coming down from stress. I've been on propranolol daily since I was a kid. It's amazing for me. I barely get them anymore. Actually, I'm going to try asking about lowering my dosage. However, preventative medicines are really my only choice, because none of the medicines to take for the migraines once you have it work for me. Every one I've tried (imitrex, topomax, etc.) just make it worse.


Oh, and I have a HUGE pet peeve about people who have a headache saying they have a migraine. A migraine is a totally different beast than a headache. Yes, they both involve your head, and they both are unpleasant, but that's where the similarities end! A bad headache is bad, but it is not a migraine.
Originally Posted by Who Me?
I get an aura as well. It travels from my lower left quadrant to my upper right. As soon as it disappears I get a horrible pounding headache coupled with nausea. The aura lasts 15 minutes with no pain. The pain only comes when my vision returns to normal.

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Another one here. I don't know how old I was when I first started getting them, but I know I was quite young, maybe 4 or 5. I can remember laying in my parents' bed (because they had room darkening drapes) and my mom laying cool, damp cloths on my forehead.

The majority of my triggers have always been scent related. The main three were cigarette smoke, certain perfumes and onions.

Other, less frequent triggers were from watching tv in a darkened room (my sister used to like to re-create a movie theater atmosphere), and of course, stress.

The height of my migraines (between 1 to 3 a week) occurred during my late teens through mid-20's.

They've since subsided in frequency, and now that I'm 41, they've changed. No more nausea, but definitely auras - and like wurlylox, the headaches and auras can show up separately or together. Thankfully at this point in life they're a rarity, maybe 3 or 4 times a year.
I was diagnosed at about 14, but I've had them since I was a kid. I get a terrible aura...well before I have any pain I have a lot of visual symptoms. You know how if you look at the sun, or a bright camera flash, and then you can't see what you're looking at? That's what it's like for me. It's like I'm blind...I can't possibly drive, or type, or read anything.

I only have 2 triggers I know of...dehydration, and coming down from stress. I've been on propranolol daily since I was a kid. It's amazing for me. I barely get them anymore. Actually, I'm going to try asking about lowering my dosage. However, preventative medicines are really my only choice, because none of the medicines to take for the migraines once you have it work for me. Every one I've tried (imitrex, topomax, etc.) just make it worse.


Oh, and I have a HUGE pet peeve about people who have a headache saying they have a migraine. A migraine is a totally different beast than a headache. Yes, they both involve your head, and they both are unpleasant, but that's where the similarities end! A bad headache is bad, but it is not a migraine.
Originally Posted by Who Me?
I get an aura as well. It travels from my lower left quadrant to my upper right. As soon as it disappears I get a horrible pounding headache coupled with nausea. The aura lasts 15 minutes with no pain. The pain only comes when my vision returns to normal.

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Originally Posted by Kilajo
I don't have pain until the aura starts to go away either! Although my aura can last anywhere from 10 minutes to hours. Usually if I catch it really quick and drink an ENORMOUS amount of water and take a bunch of advil I can get fend it off and not get the pain at all.
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