The first migraine that I experienced was at the age of nineteen, approximately 2-3 weeks following the birth of my first child. It was quite horrible as I recall it... although worse migraine episodes occurred in the years to follow. My guess is that hormone changes were the onset factor in this episode. My first migraine was not looked upon with compassion by some of my family. My husband (we have since divorced) was less than sympathetic as he was unfamiliar to pain himself and did not understand how to relate to other people's pain. I also received the wrath of my then mother-in-law. She was angered that my husband was unable to escort his younger brother as planned that evening to a local baseball game because my husband was forced to stay home to care for our newborn while I was incapacitated. USA Today survey regarding Family Reaction to Migraine Sufferers indicated that our loved ones'reactions when migraines occur often range anywhere from understanding to resentment. Severe, frequent headache can have an impact on the well-being of the family as well as the individual.
I would like to point out first off that I have been migraine free for several years due to several factors. Overtime I have learned what my triggers are. Also, I try to guard myself against certain stress factors. I was officially diagnosed with migraines from Dr. Baustian, MD. in the 80s. When Dr. Baustian moved his practice from the area I started up a doctor-patient relationship with Dr. Baldwin, D.O. (now deceased). Dr. Baldwin was a bit skeptical of the diagnosis "Migraine" and labeled my head pain as "Stress Headaches." I believe I suffered from both migraine and headaches and that often a stress headache would escalate into a full-blown migraine. Regardless, I didn't much care what the "diagnosis" given was. As far as I was concerned the medical community could put whatever label on it they liked just so long as a cure was available to me. It took some trial and error attempts at prescribing meds before a combination was found that proved helpful in easing my pain. The problem was that I often felt overly drugged and the side effects could be annoying. For example, one particular prescription tended to dull my senses somewhat, it also made me extremely chatty. This combination made for some pretty embarrassing moments. Still, the pain was lessened and I felt it was a Godsend at the time.
In recent years, since my headaches have subsided, there are several new drugs available to migraine sufferers. This week I began a course of estrogen therapy as advised by my doctor. It has been documented that estrogen (especially in the form of oral contraceptives) can bring about headaches. This awareness brings me to searching alternative methods of treating and preventing migraines "just in case" the chemical change of estrogen being introduced into my body brings on a headache.
Migraine treatments, diagnosis, and prevention
Article Dateline: June 1998
[Note: For updated information on treatment and prevention of headaches and migraine please visit About Headaches and Migraine Guide Site.