A migraine headache is typically a pulsating or throbbing pain that ranges from moderate to severe. It can affect one or both sides of the head. It is worsened by physical activity, light, sounds, or odors and is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to sounds, light, and/or odors.
Migraines may be triggered by lack of sleep, changes in the weather, hunger, excessive stimulation of the senses, stress, or other factors.
They can be made worse by physical activity, light, sounds, or odors.
Doctors base the diagnosis on typical symptoms.
There is no cure for migraines, but drugs are used to stop the migraine as it is starting, to relieve pain, and to reduce the number and severity of migraines attacks.
Although migraines can start at any age, they usually begin during puberty or young adulthood. In most people, migraines recur periodically (fewer than 15 days a month). After age 50, headaches usually become significantly less severe or resolve entirely. Migraines are 3 times more common among women. In the United States, about 18% of women and 6% of men have a migraine at some time each year.
Migraines may become chronic. That is, they occur 15 or more days a month. Chronic migraines often develop in people who overuse drugs to treat migraines.
Migraines tend to run in families. More than half the people who have migraines have close relatives who also have them.