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Stages Of A Migraine

From Aetnas Womens Health Programs

Some people get signs of a migraine hours or days before the headache actually starts. This is called the prodrome phase and it can include:

  • Feeling of extreme happiness (elation) or energy
  • Cravings for sweets
  • Thirst
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability or depression

In about 15 percent of cases, people have warning signs before the migraine headache pain starts. These signs are called auras, and they can appear 15 to 30 minutes before a headache begins. Auras can include flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in an arm or leg.

The period after a migraine is called the postdrome phase. During this time, people may have symptoms such as:

  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Scalp tenderness
  • Mood changes

If untreated, migraine headaches – from prodrome to postdrome phases – can last from 4 to 72 hours. The frequency of these headaches varies from person to person. While migraines are not curable, they are manageable through lifestyle changes and medicines.

Last updated August 16, 2007




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