JUNE 1, 2011
When I was a senior in high school, I worried my parents with my headaches during my last semester in school. I was working hard towards some projects that would hopefully lead to a scholarship. I was intent on keeping my standing in my class and worked hard to make sure my grades remained high.
I was bewildered that I was suffering from headaches that acetaphetamine didn't seem to touch.
My mother made appointments with doctors who x-rayed my head, took my temperature, tested my blood and listened to me describe my headaches.
I was prescribed some medications that I couldn't take except at night because I needed to stay awake while driving back and forth to school - and I needed to be awake for my classes!
I limped through the semester, received the scholarship I was after, graduated from high school and discovered the following week I was headache free. No meds. No aching.
Even now, years later, I discover that when I'm under stress, even stress I choose for myself, I suffer from headaches that do not go away until the stressful situation is behind me. I purposefully plot "calm" into my projects in an attempt to keep the headaches away.
How about you? Do you suffer from headaches? Have you discovered what is the root of your pain?
In this month's issue we are exploring the headache and migraine with some helpful tips for you.
Here's to pain free days for you!
Your Pounding Headache
JUNE 1, 2011
For those who suffer from migraines, you know they are the ultimate headache and the pain can last for what feels like a day past forever!
Symptoms can range from the little guy hammering in your head to a bomb going off inside your brain. The pain is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitively to light and sound. Some people have auras alerting them to a coming headache; others do not. When a migraine does explode, a dark cool room in the deepest dungeon sounds peaceful--as long as it is quiet!
There are several types of migraines including Hormonal, Classic, and Basilar, and each one requires unique treatment. MAGNUM, The National Migraine Association: Migraine Disease, Treatment, and Management shares information about a wide range of migraines that can be very informative when learning what type of migraine(s) you have and what solutions might work for you. Working with a neurologist can be essential for pinpointing the type of headache and the best treatment option for you.
The same treatment options will not work for each individual, so it can take some trial and error to find the most successful regime for you. Keeping detailed notes can be critical for discovering your headache type, triggers, and best treatment plan. Treatments can range from medical intervention and pharmaceuticals to life style changes and alternative options. The key is learning which type of migraine you are having and which treatment option will work to minimize your occurrences and symptoms.
The first step to controlling migraines is keeping a headache log. This can help you and your doctor pinpoint triggers and monitor how frequently your migraines occur. ReliefInsite has a comprehensive online pain diary that can be helpful. There are also free headache diaries that can be downloaded, ranging from charts and graphs to fill in the blank styles. Additionally, phone apps are now available to help track migraines.
For some sufferers, dietary changes such as avoiding MSG, chocolate, cheese, or alcohol can help. For others, scents, stress, or a lack of sleep can be the trigger. Knowing if there are specific triggers you can avoid can be a big step toward taking control of your pain.
Depending on your situation, pharmaceutical options could include a prophylactic medication taken every day to try to prevent migraines, an abortive medication to be used during a migraine, over-the-counter medications such as Excedrin Migraine (especially if taken at the onset of the headache), and/or narcotics.
Alternative treatments can include the supplements Feverfew, Magnesium, and CoEnzyme 10, nasal sprays like MigraSpray, Acupuncture, Biofeedback, or Chiropractic Care. Some find a combination of therapies to be successful, while others find only a single option is necessary. It is important to work with your medical provider regarding all options to determine which are safe for you. Always remember that pain medications (including Tylenol, Aspirin, and Advil) can cause rebound headaches when taken in large quantities.
In general, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, getting plenty of rest, and managing stress well can help prevent migraines along with any prescribed prophylactic medications.
A Woman Is More Than the Sum of Her Parts
JUNE 1, 2011
We're talking about you. And the other approximately 600,000 women in the United States who have had, or are going to have, a hysterectomy this year. A hysterectomy can be seen as the first step in your new journey. And the next step will be your recovery.
Physically, you're most likely feeling sore. It may take four to six weeks for you to recuperate. Work with your doctor to plan your return to normal activities (although right now that's probably the furthest thing from your mind.) A hysterectomy can be a very emotional experience. It's not uncommon for women to have an emotional response to the loss of their uterus and/or ovaries—to feel as if their femininity has been taken from them. This should pass after a few weeks. If it doesn't, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider.
If your hysterectomy involved the removal of both your uterus and ovaries, your body has stopped producing estrogen, resulting in surgical menopause. The symptoms associated with surgical menopause—hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness and atrophy—are the same as those experienced during natural menopause, but can be more intense because of your body's sudden drop in estrogen levels. Whether you're considering estrogen therapy for the first time or switching your current treatment, you will want to talk to your doctor about your options. If you need treatment for just vaginal dryness and atrophy, your healthcare provider can suggest topical vaginal products.
5 Things You Can Do For Migraines
JUNE 1, 2011
You never know when it is going to happen. You've planned your day, your schedule is laid out before you. You are in the middle of a work project. You are at the grocery store. There is never a good time to deal with a headache.
When a headache seems to explode, here are the top 5 ways to take control of a migraine:
Use any medications which have been prescribed. It's best to try to take your prescribed medication at the first sign of a migraine. Carry your medications with you so that no matter where you are, you can get started on your first line of defense while you are working on the next steps!
2. Drink Water
Drink a glass of water. Often at the core of a headache is lack of hydration.
3. Lie Down
Lie down in dark, quiet room. Close the blinds. Put on a sleep mask. Do what is necessary to take a break from the day and lay down.
4. Cool Cloth
Place a cool cloth or ice pack on the forehead and/or back of the neck. It's a cooling comfort.
Massage the scalp and feet. It's relaxing. It's comforting.
Finding personal treatments for your migraines can ease the pain and help get you back on your feet to finish your day faster.
JUNE 1, 2011
You may love chocolate and your favorite perfume, but did you know that these things you enjoy may be the cause of your headache pain?
If you suffer from headaches or migraines on a regular basis, keeping a diary may help you determine if after a certain food or a certain activity, your pounding headache returns. Everyone's triggers are different, which makes understanding yours both more challenging and more important.
Here is a list of common headache triggers for you to consider:
Foods: Included in the list of offenders are aged cheeses; chocolate; aspartame; monosodium glutamate — a key ingredient in some Asian foods; salty foods; and processed foods. Add alcohol and beer to the list along with too much caffeine or doing without caffeine after excessive daily use.
Hormonal changes: The HysterSisters know all about hormone fluctuations. Fluctuations in estrogen can be an especially tricky trigger. Some women with a history of migraines often report a migraine as the estrogens drop off during a typical monthly cycle or during menopause. HRT can also contribute to the migraine if the dosage isn't the correct amount or if the HRT is not taken regularly.
Stress: Who lives without stress? Know when you need to take a break and notice if particular stressful situations cause a headache.
Sensory stimuli: Here's that favorite perfume or the perfume of your co-worker. If you work with chemicals like paint thinner or some cleaning products, these can be high on the migraine list. Bright lights and sun glare can produce migraines, as can loud sounds.
Physical factors: Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, may provoke migraines.
Changes in sleep pattern: Either missing sleep or getting too much sleep may serve as a trigger for migraine attacks. If you travel, you may find jet lag is a culprit.
Changes in the environment: A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
Medications: Certain medications can aggravate migraines.
Lack of hydration: Drinking plenty of water is essential to your body. Many migraine sufferers find that drinking a large glass of water on the onset of a migraine helps to deter the pain.
Knowing what causes your migraines can help you to keep them away.
From the HysterSisters Forums
JUNE 1, 2011
Is there a certain HRT that is better than others to prevent migraines? Anyone have any opinions? Thanks :-)
Join the Discussion
More Discussions to join about headaches:
Acute Migraines from Surgical Menopause
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JUNE 1, 2011
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