June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. I, Sarah Papamichael, am writing this blog as someone who has suffered from migraines and headaches my whole life. I remember having migraines as a little girl, my earliest memory of one being when I was seven and hospitalized. I had thrown up so much I became significantly dehydrated and had to get an IV. My parents say my migraines had actually started even younger than that. They say they wouldn’t wish migraines upon anyone as it can completely stop you in your tracks and come on with no notice. Nobody in my family had any significant history of headaches or migraines before me, so this was new territory for us all. Throughout my middle school and high school years I would see different doctors from time to time and the severeness of them would come and go in waves. We always decided to avoid any of the prescription medications because my migraines were unpredictable, there would be times where I would have them 4-5 times a month and times where I would go 4-5 months without one. Often times the doctors would ask me to write down the days, times and symptoms of the migraines and then bring that in to see if there were any patterns, but there never were. This went on throughout my college years and early adulthood.
As a 27-year-old adult when I got pregnant, I wasn’t sure if I was experiencing migraines or typical pregnancy headaches and morning sickness at first, it definitely felt different than the migraines I had been having throughout my lifetime. They were less severe and went away quickly compared to the long periods of time they lasted pre-pregnancy. I started researching it and this is what I found through the American Migraine Foundation:
“Between 50 and 80% of pregnant migraine patients actually experience a reduction in migraine attacks during their pregnancy, according to David Dodick, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Arizona. Many doctors believe rising estrogen levels help reduce migraine frequency and intensity.”
Now, with my son about to be turning one, I have only had one migraine since having him, which I am THRILLED to report! I have talked to other friends that had similar experiences growing up and they too have had a reduction in migraines since having children. I am curious to see if they will come back at some point or if I am in the clear, hoping for the second option of course.
With June being the awareness month for this topic, I would like to share some statistics regarding Migraines with you:
How many people are reported to suffer from Migraines?
1 Billion Worldwide, 1 in 4 households, 1 in 5 Women, 1 in 15 Men, 1 in 11 Children.
Source: American Migraine Foundation
If you would like to get involved in any of the awareness events happening in this month, please visit americanmigrainefoundation.org or follow them on Facebook.
Sarah Papamichael, MS