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Migraine (cont.)

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What self-care treatment measures work for migraines?

Individuals who experience migraines can play a significant role in managing their headache frequency and severity. Keeping track of when migraines occur by using a headache diary can help identify patterns which precede a migraine, as well as help identify factors which contribute to the development of the headache. Once these contributing factors are known, lifestyle modifications can lessen their impact. These modifications may include maintaining a regular schedule for eating and sleeping, as well as avoiding certain foods that might trigger a migraine. Keeping well hydrated may be beneficial, since dehydration has been identified as a migraine trigger for some patients. Regular exercise has been shown to be helpful to prevent migraine headaches. Relaxation strategies and meditation have also been recognized as effective strategies to prevent migraines and decrease headache severity.

How are migraines managed during pregnancy?

Many women find that their headaches stabilize or even resolve during pregnancy. This may be related to more consistent hormone levels that occur during pregnancy. To decrease the risk of birth defects, certain medications used to prevent migraines may need to be discontinued prior to a pregnancy.

There are limited studies of medications which are used to treat migraine headaches during pregnancy. Acetaminophen is relatively safe when used in recommended doses. If a patient is experiencing frequent headaches, there are some treatment alternatives that may be provided by the patient's health care professional. Many migraine medications, including the triptans, are not well studied in pregnancy; the potential benefits to the patient need to be weighed against the risks to the fetus before these medications are prescribed.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/31/2014


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