What is a Migraine Prodrome?
Posted by Ellen—January 29th, 2011

Prodrome is only one of the stages of a Migraine attack. It is the first part of an attack when the ‘normal’ equilibrium of the central nervous system has been disrupted. It occurs in about 80% of Migraine patients and usually lasts from between 24 – 48 hrs.

Not all Migraineurs will experience prodrome. Those that do may not experience this stage with every Migraine attack. When a prodrome occurs, the patient may begin to feel the ‘premonition’ that something is not right. Sometimes it is the family and friends of the Migraineur that notice the symptoms of prodrome first. The Migraineur may actually be unaware that symptoms have begun.

Some symptoms of prodrome may include:

  • Appetite changes (which may include cravings)
  • Cognition and concentration difficulties
  • Cold extremities
  • Diarrhea or other bowel changes
  • Excitement or irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Memory changes
  • Weakness
  • Yawning, stretching

If a patient notices Prodrome, they may be able to take measures that abort the attack before it goes further. Unfortunately, many choose to take a wait-and-see approach however, as prodrome may not always result in a full blown Migraine attack. This is often a mistake, because the sooner the patient is able to take their Migraine abortive medication, the more likely the attack will be shorter and less painful or debilitating.

Migraineurs who experience the symptoms of prodrome may be mildly, moderately or even severely disabled by them – much more than was once thought.

Have you experienced prodrome symptoms that are different from those listed here? I hope you’ll share them with us!

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About Ellen

Migraine.com’s patient educator/advocate, writer and community leader Ellen, is a lifelong Migraineur. She has been chronic since the mid 1990′s.

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