A migraine is a headache disorder characterized by recurrent headaches that are moderate to severe. Typically, migraine affects one-half of the head in pulsating nature, and last from two to 72 hours.

Associated symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell.The pain is generally made worse by physical activity.

Migraines are believed to be due to a mixture of environmental and genetic factors.Changing hormone levels may also play a role.The risk of migraines usually decreases during pregnancy. The underlying mechanisms are not fully known. It is, however, believed to involve the nerves and blood vessels of the brain.

The types and symptoms of a migraine

Yes, Like ice cream, Migraine comes in a different type of  “flavors,” and it “tastes” different to each of us. However, the base ingredients are the same, but symptoms and severity can vary person to person.

The two major types of migraine are:

Migraine attack without aura (a common migraine)

Migraine attack with aura (a classic migraine)

  • A migraine without aura is the most common type of a migraine. A headache is usually on one side of the head, typically at the front or side. Sometimes it is on both sides of the head. Sometimes it starts on one side and then spreads all over the head.the pain is moderate to severe and is often described as throbbing or pulsating. Movement of the head may make it worse.Typically it gradually gets worse and peaks after 2-12 hours, then gradually ease off. However, it can last from 4 to 72 hours.

Migraine symptoms that are very common

  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light and sound

Other symptoms that sometimes occur

  • Being off mood
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor concentration
  • Stuffy nose
  • Hunger
  • Diarrhea
  • Tummy (abdominal ) pain
  • Passing lots of urine
  • Going pale
  • Sweating
  • Scalp tenderness
  • Sensation of heat or cold

Phases of a typical migraine attack

A migraine attack can typically be divided into four phases

  1. A warning phase occurs in up to half of the people with a migraine. You may feel irritable, depressed, tired, have food cravings, or just know that a migraine is going to occur. You may have these feelings for hours or even days before the onset of a headache.
  2. The aura phase (if it occurs)
  3. The headache phase.
  4. The resolution phase when a headache gradually fades. During this time you may feel tired, irritable, depressed, and may have difficulty concentrating.

Other types of a migraine include the following:


Menstrual migraine-For some women, migraine attacks occur during periods, or just before periods. The cause or trigger is thought to be the fall of the level of estrogen. The blood level of this chemical (hormone) falls just before a period. 

The strict definition of a menstrual migraine is for the migraine attack to start at any time from two days before, to three days after the first day of a period. Also, that a migraine attack occurs around most (or all) periods. There are two types of patterns:

  • Pure menstrual migraine occurs when migraine attacks happen only around periods, and not at other times. This occurs in about 1 in 7 women who have a migraine.
  • A menstrual-associated migraine occurs when migraine attacks happen around periods, but also happen at other times too. About 6 in 10 women who have a migraine have this type of pattern.

An abdominal migraine– This form of a migraine seen mainly in children. It is most common in children ages five-nine years old but can occur in adults as well. Instead of headaches, the child has attacks of tummy (abdominal) pain which last several hours. Typically, during each attack, here is no headache or only a mild headache. There may be associated with sickness (nausea),  vomiting, or aura symptoms.Commonly, children who have an abdominal migraine switch to develop a common migraine in their teenage years.

An ocular migraine– This is sometimes called retinal migraine, ophthalmic migraine or an eye migraine. It causes temporary loss of all or part of the vision in one eye.You can have them along with or after a migraine headache. Each attack usually occurs in the same eye. There are no abnormalities in the eye itself and vision return to normal.This problem is rare. It affects about 1 out of every 200 people who have migraines.

A hemiplegic migraine- This is rare. In addition to a severe headache, symptoms include weakness (like a temporary paralysis) of one side of the body. This may last up to several hours or even days, before resolving. Therefore, it is sometimes confused with a stroke. you may also have other temporary symptoms of

  • Severe dizziness (vertigo)
  • Double vision
  • Visual problem
  • Hearing problem
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing

Basilar type migraine– Basilar migraines are headaches that start in the lower part of the brain, called the brainstem.The basilar artery is in the back of your head. Symptompt typically included a headache at the back side of the head ( rather than one-sided as in a common migraine)

They also tend to include some aura symptoms such as

  • Temporary blindness
  • Double visioN
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Jerky eye movements
  • Trouble hearing
  • Slurred speech

These changes, called an aura, can happen about 10 minutes to 45 minutes before your head hurts.

See a doctor urgently if you develop any symptoms described above.

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