Not all migraines are created equal. While most migraines are typical, distinguished only by whether they are accompanied by aura or not, there are actually some less common migraine types that you should be aware of.
The basilar migraine, also known as basilar artery migraine, is very rare, but potentially very dangerous. It was previously thought to occur almost exclusively in teenaged girls and young women, but later was acknowledged to occur in both sexes and all ages. With the possibility of leading to strokes or transient ischemic attack (TIA), symptoms include partial vision loss, double vision, dizziness, vertigo, severe vomiting, slurred speech, loss of coordination, numbness (on one or both sides of the body), weakness, and general confusion. These symptoms generally subside with the onset of the actual headache, though it is also possible that they can last for several days after the pain goes away.
This is a rare type of migraine, also known as a retinal migraine, noted for repeated vision disturbances that includes loss of vision in just one eye. This loss of vision can be partial or complete and usually lasts less than an hour. Once these visual disturbances go away, you may be left with a dull ache behind the eye that lost vision. In some cases, your entire head may feel pain.
Hemiplegic migraines are usually genetic in nature, but they have been known to occur in people with no family history of migraines a all. Symptoms include temporary paralysis, or arm and leg weakness on one side of the body, followed within the hour by the actual headache. Unfortunately, the paralysis or weakness does not necessarily subside when the head pain does. Hemiplegic migraines usually develop during childhood.
Ophthalmoplegic migraines cause pain around the eye and paralysis in the muscles that surround the eye. Other symptoms include droopy eyelid, double vision and vision problems. Actually, ophthalmoplegic migraines are considered an inflammation of the nerve, and therefore a type of neuritis, which makes them suspect as even being a true migraine.
Usually diagnosed in children, these migraines often last for extended periods of time, sometimes as long as months at a time, therefore a complete physical exam is necessary to eliminate the possibility of the symptoms are caused by something more serious.
Status migrainosus is a description of a migraine attack that lasts longer than seventy-two hours and can often lead to more serious problems such as dehydration. The pain and nausea associated with status migrainosus can reach such a high level of intensity that patients often require hospitalization.
Certain medications, or even medication withdrawal, often cause this type migraine syndrome. Should you find yourself at this level of migraine suffering, the best step is immediately get to the emergency room where treatment will consist of fluids through an IV and pain medication.
Abdominal migraines are a breed apart from traditional migraines because they also cause pain in the stomach as well as the head, resulting in nausea and vomiting. Quite often abdominal migraines are diagnosed in children who often outgrow the abdominal part, but remain afflicted with traditional headache migraines. Abdominal migraines are often treated with anticonvulsant drugs like propranolol, also known by the brand names Inderal and Deralin.
While the majority of migraine sufferers are women, some migraines are specifically associated with the hormonal oscillations only experienced by women. Migraines are commonly linked to menstruation and, in addition, many women only suffer migraines when they are taking an oral contraceptives.
Hormone replacement therapy has been linked to migraines in women who are undergoing menopause or are already past menopause. Paradoxically, many older women have hormone replacement therapy related headaches, while other women who suffered through pre-menopausal migraines report their cessation following menopause.
Most of these migraines should be considered very rare and highly unlikely to develop, yet the seriousness of all of them is enough to cause an immediate physician exam should you feel you are indeed suffering from them.
photo by Rebecca Lehmann- CreativeCommons Attribution