The lowdown on migraines

Migraines are severe, recurring and painful headaches that affect every person differently. About 20% of the population suffers from migraine at some stage in their lives and more women are affected than men. There are many ways to prevent migraines and to lessen their severity.

Migraine symptoms

Migraines are different from other headaches, causing more intense pain typically on one side. They can be experienced from as little as once or twice a year, to as often as two or three times a week. Migraine symptoms can include:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Affected vision, such as an aura
  • Sensitivity to smell and touch
  • Numbness of the face or extremities (hands and feet).

Migraine triggers

The most common risk factor for migraines is family history, otherwise, the cause is unknown. However, there are a few common triggers that are likely to set off migraines:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Emotional triggers such as stress, depression, anxiety, excitement and shock
  • Physical causes such as tiredness, physical overexertion, shoulder or neck tension, low blood sugar and jet lag
  • Dietary triggers such as alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and cheese
  • Medications such as sleeping pills, hormone replacement therapy medications and the combined contraceptive pill
  • Environmental triggers such as flickering screens, strong smells, loud noises and second-hand smoke.


The home doctor experts at House Call Doctor recommend talking to your GP or healthcare professional as treatment plans depend on a variety of factors. There is not one single treatment option or cure for migraines, but there are a few things that can be done to prevent a migraine or lessen the severity.

  • Lifestyle adjustments such as stress management and avoiding migraine triggers
  • Prescription migraine medications
  • Hormone therapy if migraines occur in relation to your menstrual cycle
  • Counselling
  • Meditation, acupressure or acupuncture.