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Daily headaches no-one beleives
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yuyi26 posted:
Hello everyone, I'm 26 and I've sufferred from daily headaches/combination migraines for about 5 years now. The weird thing is that I've been pregnant twice, and during each pregnancy my headaches subzided. I still had them, but not daily and they were easily treatable with simple Ibuprofen. But after each delivery, my headaches went right back to being very painfull, and daily (usually after I woke in the morning). I have TMJ syndrome, so I know that that may contribute to my headaches. But, what about when i get them in the middle of the day, with nausea????

I've also started seeing like an aura around all objects in the room. Almost like an outline of light - sometimes blue, sometimes yellow.

I've had MRI and CT scans that turned up normal. And my mother tells me that when I was young (like 6 or 8 yrs old.) I was diagnosed with migraines.

I treat with Fioricet now. And I know that most literature says Fioricet is not intended to be used daily, but it's the only med that at least relaxes my facial muscles, neck and head enough to make the pain barerable.

But, I'm afraid that the Fioricet is loosing it's effectiveness since I also suffer from severe Fibromyalgia and I'm medicating with Lyrica, Cyclobenzaprine, and Cymbalta.!

I don't know, I'm too young to be in so much pain and be taking all these meds. Sometimes I feel like just not taking them anymore and flush them all down the toilet. But then, how would I take care of my 1yr old and 3yr. old when I'm in so much pain!

I almost feel like now i have to choose which pain to treat, head? or muscle/joints?

Any advice anyone?
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nlhjd responded:
I don't know much about TMJ, other than it does contribute to migraines. But I do know a lot about hormones and migraines, as you might notice from some of my other posts. And the fact that your migraines went away during your pregnancy is likely evidence that your daily migraines are probably due to a hormone imbalance. During pregnancy, both your estrogen and progesterone levels increase. After deliverly, they decline again and you start your normal pattern. If yours are naturally too low for your body, you might respond by having daily migraines as I also do.

My ob/gyn never took this seriously since I'm in my 30's. Their answer to hormone imbalances are birth control pills - which really make things worse in the long run. I'm a huge fan of bioidentical hormones because it's made a huge difference for me. I've gone from daily, can't get out of bed migraines to feeling pretty good by supplementing. I would suggest searching for a Dr. who specializes in this and having your levels tested thoroughly. If this is one of the causes it is so easily treated. So it's worth getting tested!
 
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DUKE MEDICINE
Timothy Collins, MD responded:
Sorry you have so many problems with your headaches.

There is most likely a hormone component to your headaches, since they go away during pregnancy, but I don't think hormones are the only issue. When you are not pregnant, your Estrogen and progesterone levels change almost every day, as they move from a very low level (during your period) to a high level (just before your period. If higher levels of these hormones were making your headaches better during pregnancy, you should not have headaches for the week before your period starts.

There are many other things that happen during pregnancy (other hormones change, blood volume changes, etc) that can change headaches also.

There are a couple of problems with Fioricet--it contains an addictive barbituate (butalbitol), along with caffeine. These 2 things cause rebound headaches, and almost always make daily headaches worse. The butalbitol also causes withdrawal headaches and anxiety attacks, but we only see these when patients are taking more than 4 pills per day (every day) of fioricet.

There are very good medications for migraine prevention that work better than fioricet for migraines, and some of the muscle relaxors used for TMJ also work for migraines (like Tizanidine).

Hormone therapy for migraines is not something that I commonly recommend, because the possible health risks of hormones is almost always higher than the possible health risk of untreated migraine headaches.

If there are other reasons for a woman to take hormones, then picking a treatment plan that will help out the migraines is helpful. This usually means taking a 90 day plan of oral contraceptives--constant hormone therapy like this causes fewer migraines in most women.

"bio-identical" hormones is more of a marketing tool than real science. If the hormone has the same effect it will have the same side effects and risks. It doesn't matter if the hormone is synthesized by a plant (bio-identical) or synthesized by a pharmacy company.
 
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nlhjd replied to Timothy Collins, MD's response:
Thank you, Dr. for displaying what has been frustrating to me for most of my adult life. Here you are, young woman with a hormone problem - just take some birth control pills! With all due respect, it is not the only answer, there are other alternatives that are worthy and should be considered. Please, women, do your own research and find a plan and a hormone specialist who is right for you.

Also I really have to respectfully disagree, especially with this:
"Hormone therapy for migraines is not something that I commonly recommend, because the possible health risks of hormones is almost always higher than the possible health risk of untreated migraine headaches. "

Because, in my case the migraines were the RESULT of the hormone inbalance. So why should I take dangerous brain altering chemicals such as topamax, if I can rebalance my hormones the way they should be to begin with? There is no logic there. I agree that it's not the answer for everyone, but if it's the cause of the migraine then by all means, get rid of the cause.

As for "bio-identical" hormones being a marketing tool. Again, I'm not sure what you have against them. By taking compounded hormones we women are able to directly control the amount of each hormone we put into our body, no more or no less than we need.

And finally, with regards to "It doesn't matter if the hormone is synthesized by a plant (bio-identical) or synthesized by a pharmacy company. "
Well, to me it does. I would prefer to take a compounded bio-identical hormone from a plant than a synthesized drug from a pharmacy company made from horses urine, that containes dozen's of other estrogens that I don't need.

And finally, birth control pills do not contain all of the hormones that a woman might need to get the balance that she needs. Estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and thyroid all need to be tested and an optimum ratio should be the goal. This would never happen with a BCP.
 
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yuyi26 replied to Timothy Collins, MD's response:
Thank you for taking time to rely to my post. But I have one question, I recently started Depo-provera. I received the shot two weeks ago to be exact - and I've had my period for two weeks also although it normally lasts for about 5 days.

The reason I mention this, is because since I have never been on birth control before I'm not sure which hormone the Depo contains.

Since receiving the shot, my headaches have been more frequent, and my sensitivity to light has increased. Just looking outside at a sunny day makes my eyes hurt.

So, my question is this.... Did I accidentally shot the wrong hormone into my body?
 
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Hanafubuki replied to yuyi26's response:
Any birth control can affect migraines since it alters your hormones - including the Depo shot. For many women it is trial and error to find a birth control method that does not make them worse or (in some cases) can even hormones out enough to make them better. For me, any hormone-based birth control I have tried has made my headaches much worse. With the Depo, the increase in migraines may go away, and there is no way to get it out of your body once it is in. Good luck.
 
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whitebear4 replied to nlhjd's response:
I'm sorry but I have to agree with the dr about the "bio-identical" hormone thing. First of all, any and all hormones aren't good for the body, and all carry a risk of stroke, epecially with the ones that are both estrogen and progesterone together, as they carry a blood clot risk. Sometimes you can take over the counter natural estrogen if you are having menopuasal symptoms, but you shouldn't take it long-term.

I have tried natural progesterone and synthetic types, and they both worked very well. Until they stopped working, about 3 months later. I'm not saying the bio-identical hormones won't help others. But what the synthetic hormones are and anything synthetic is what scientists made in a lab that has the exact same ingredients.

Such as, Morphine. Morphine has the same ingredients as Opium, where they took the same chemicals Opium has and made it synthetically. I tried progesterone and had some luck with both the natural cream and the mini-pill and actually the synthetic one worked better, but after a few months they both stopped working. I asked my ob/gyn and he said the reason why it's impossible to say whether a woman has a hormone imbalance is because if you were to take a blood test today and another a week from now they would be completely different because every day they change.

There is no reason why a woman shouldn't try the bio-identical hormones, but she should know the risk is the same.

But the Depo-provera shot may give a woman more headaches because it is a very high dose. I had the shot and I had worse headaches until it wore off after 3 months.

The reason some women have less migs during pregnancy is because usually in the second and third trimesters your hormones stay at a certain level and don't go up and down like when you have regular cycle.
 
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nlhjd replied to whitebear4's response:
I do want to be clear, so that there is no misunderstanding regarding hormones and what I am trying to convey about them. I am not hung up on the names - "bio-identical" vs "synthetic." To me, they are names given by someone - not myself. I used these names because this is what they are called. I am aware that bioidentical hormones are still created in a lab. However, they do not contain the same ingredients are "synthetic". This is just a fact. Which ones work better for each woman is trial and error.

And they are not for everyone. Whitebear, you referred to the reason it's impossible to say whether a woman has an imbalance is because hormones are always changing - there may be an "imbalance" one day and not another. I agree 100%. My perspective on hormone imbalances is probably different than most because I've had a significant, clinical one since my 20's (PCOS). And I've recently completed a 24-hr. saliva test which shows that at 38 my system has pretty much stopped producing est, prog, thyroid, dhea, test. This is not normal and needs to be addressed. Not by birth control and it can not be ignored and fixed by topamax or similar drugs. So this is where I am coming from when I am advising women to get checked. This is a lifelong, problem for some of us - not a momentary fluctuation.
I am not recommending women to just start taking over the counter hormones. And I am not advising a one-size-fit-all hormone cure to migraines! Although, that would be great. I am just suggesting that there might be other women out there like me, with significant hormonal imbalances. The is the reason for my dibilitating migraines. This was ignored by my ob/gyn and by my neurologists. They did not know what to do with me. So if I can help anyone by encouraging them to go to a specialist at a young age, then that is what I'm trying to do.
 
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Timothy Collins, MD replied to nlhjd's response:
"Hormone therapy for migraines is not something that I commonly recommend, because the possible health risks of hormones is almost always higher than the possible health risk of untreated migraine headaches. "

Just want to point out this paragraph from my original response. I do not normally recommend hormones for headache treatment.

I see more women with headaches caused by their hormone therapy (bio-identical or prescription) than women who have improved headaches from hormone therapy.
 
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confused262 responded:
Hi yuyi- Your story sounds so much like mine and I'm hoping we can chat. I have pain around my head and eyes constantly all day every day with light sensitivity and nobody can explain it to me. I hate leaving my room! I too take so much medicine and nothing is working. The pain feels like migraine pain and pressure pain that just alternates throughout the day.
 
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yuyi26 replied to confused262's response:
How do you treat your headaches? Do they also set on shortly after waking up in the morning...every morning?
 
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whitebear4 replied to confused262's response:
Sort of sounds like cluster headaches.
 
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cabanna responded:
My daughter has found a cure for her chronic daily migraines. She takes Verapamil, a high blood pressure med with no side effects. She also has the Mirena. It's been a winning combo for her after what felt like trying EVERYTHING else! I highly recommend it.
 
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mymygraine replied to cabanna's response:
I just have to jump in here because after reading all of these posts, I think it would be easy to get confused with all the information being posted.

To Dr Collins: I have chronic migraines and have had them for 44 years. I counted up the number of "medicines" I have used to treat my migraines over these 44 years and it added up to 72. That is a lot of medicine that I have taken to try and treat a disease that when I was first diagnosed the only available medication to help control the pain was Fioricet, Percocet, Percodan or some other opiod. Most medicines have a short effective life for migraineurs. They work until they don't work and then one has to change. I get frustrated with docs who just only want to look at things from an allopathic point of view. The side effects may be the same for bio-identical medicines, but then again, they may not. As far as I know, there are no definitive tests that say they are the same. So if it works for a migraineur, as it does for nlhjd, then go for it. I am in total support for what works. I have seen so many docs over 44 years I know they don't know everything. It is impossible. And there is a health risk to every medicine that is prescribed, so when I feel I have no blood in my veins, just medicine, it is with good reason.

Migraine is a disease with no cure. For cabana, if you think your daughter's meds have cured her migraines, medically that is simply untrue. They will either stop working, she does not have migraines and the headaches are a symptom of something else going on, or they will stop working after a period of time.

My only advice is that it is trial and error to find a good neuro who has a migraine specialty - and that is the most important thing - that you can work with, and know that you will go through a lot of meds to find out what will work for you prophylactically, and as a rescue med. The rescues are to stop the pain only when the migraine is acute. The others are to keep the migraines at bay, or at least at a lower level so you can function. Try looking at the website www.migraine.com for good information only about migraines. There are 37 million people in this country suffering from migraines and a very active online community to go to for support and information.

Good luck to all of you, and keep in touch!
 
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ChrisW responded:
First of all,i'd like to assure you that most people i this community have been there.In addition to the pain,disbelief and negligence is the worst part of it all.
I'm not a medical professional but i have had the same feeling for almost 4 years now leading to other psychotic disorders.Try seeing a trusted neurologist as soon as possible despite having done so already.Most probably you will come to the conclusion that most medications dont work and if they do they pack a big package of side effects.
Its most important to have people around you that know will help you in the case of a migraine attack...Do not under any circumstances ignore side effects especially involving muscles.
I learnt this the hard way and suffered two TIAs (short-lived strokes) that are very scary.I wish you the best on your health and family


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