Managing migraines and menopause

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Migraines occur in 28 million people throughout the United States, with three times as many women than men suffering from them.

Unfortunately, migraines are extremely underdiagnosed and/or misdiagnosed. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, migraines can significantly decrease quality of life, especially for women going through menopause, as hormone fluctuations are the most common trigger for the condition.

Signs of a migraine include pain, sensitivity to light, sounds and smells, nausea and/or vomiting and a desire to be still. In some cases, individuals will experience migraines with aura, which are visual, sensory, motor or verbal disturbances. Migraines with aura can be extremely debilitating, as they most commonly cause changes in vision.

Women should not experience sudden onset migraines for the first time during menopause. This is a condition that should be evaluated by a physician as separate health-related issue.

Fortunately, there are exciting treatment advancements for women who are experiencing more severe and/or frequent migraines due to menopause. Preventative medications are being used to treat patients who experience at least two to three migraines a week. One form of preventative medication, in particular, has been shown to successfully decrease the frequency of migraines, as well as other common symptoms or conditions associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, depression and anxiety.

If you or someone you know is experiencing migraine symptoms, and over-the-counter medicines are no longer working, it is time to seek the help of a headache specialist. The exceptional team of medical providers at Cone Health Centers for Women’s Healthcare at Stoney Creek and Kernersville are dedicated to treating women who suffer from migraines, and restoring their quality of life.

Spokesperson Background:

Linda Barefoot is a women’s health nurse practitioner at Cone Health Centers for Women’s Healthcare at Stoney Creek and Kernersville.  She has specialized in headaches since 2001.  Barefoot received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from California State University Fullerton in 1995.  She earned a Master of Science in Nursing from UNCG in 1996 and a postgraduate degree in women’s health from UNC Chapel Hill in 2005.