Loudoun Walk In Medical Center
Internists & Urgent Care located in Ashburn, VA
Migraines affect 39 million children and adults in the United States alone, the Migraine Research Foundation reports. Dr. Fuad Alykhan, MD can treat this neurological condition in both pediatric patients and adults so you can finally get the relief that you need. If you struggle with frequent headaches or migraines, come to Loudoun Walk In Medical Center in Ashburn, Virginia.
Migraine Q & A
Why do I have migraines?
Migraine causes aren’t well understood, although medical researchers do find some common abnormalities among migraine sufferers.
For instance, migraines tend to run in families. If you have a close relative who struggles with migraines, your chances of developing this neurological disorder are higher.
You’re also more likely to have migraines if you’re female, because of regular hormonal fluctuations.
For some migraine sufferers, certain foods, drinks, or additives are known for causing migraine attacks.
It’s believed that migraines stem from an imbalance in your brain chemicals. Your serotonin — which regulates pain sensations in your nervous system — could be lower than it should be if you have migraines. During an attack, your serotonin levels drop.
This causes your trigeminal nerve, which is a cranial nerve, to release neurotransmitters called neuropeptides. As these neuropeptides travel to your brain’s outer covering (meninges), your nerves become overly sensitive, and you experience agonizing migraine pain.
What are the symptoms of a migraine?
Migraines are a lifelong condition that often develop in childhood or adolescence. In many cases, attacks progress through four distinct phases.
In the prodrome stage, you could experience subtle changes throughout your body, including increased thirst, food cravings, and constipation.
Then as you move into the aura stage, you’re likely to experience visual disturbances, such as flashes of light. These initial stages are early warning signs that a migraine attack is imminent. Once the attack hits, you could notice:
- Pain on one or both sides of your head
- Sensitivity to light and smells
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision or lightheadedness
A migraine attack can last for anywhere from 4-72 hours if left untreated. After its peak, the final postdrome phase is what you experience afterward. You’re likely to feel run down, confused, and weak for 24 hours after an attack.
How are migraines treated?
Dr. Alykhan is able to recognize migraine symptoms. He may order a blood test, CT scan or MRI to evaluate your brain or nervous system. Once you have a positive migraine diagnosis, your treatment could include:
- Pain relieving medication
- Caffeine combination drugs (ergots)
- Triptans, anti-nausea medications, or glucocorticoids
The goal of Dr. Alykhan’s treatment is preventive care. It might take some trial and error to see what works for you, but he strives to ensure your migraines don’t control your life.
Before struggling through another migraine attack, visit Loudoun Walk In Medical Center to get started on treatment.