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Community Responses: Earliest symptoms prior to migraine diagnosis

Community Responses: Earliest symptoms prior to migraine diagnosis

We asked our Facebook communityWhen you look back, what are your earliest symptoms that you can recall having prior to your migraine diagnosisThis is emotional question to reflect on because for many, without knowing it yet at such a young age, migraine was beginning to set the course of how you would live your life. Revolving your daily routines around the management and treatment of migraine symptoms.

Here is what some of you had to share.

Childhood memories…

  • I would spend hours in the bathroom as a young kid gripped with the worst diarrhea and abdominal pain ever. To this day, abdominal issues are still a major part of my migraine attacks.
  • I was about 5 and I had horrible headaches. I was vomiting and dizzy. They could not find the cause of the headache, they finally diagnosed me at 21.
  • Started with nose bleeds when I was 11. Then the pain began.
  • 3yrs, Abdominal Migraine, nausea and vomiting.
  • I was very young, 5 or 6. I always remember having a headache. Coming home from school especially.
  • 15 years old, aura, dizziness, numbness in my hands, lasted about 30 minutes, then the pain over one eye.
  • I was about 11. My whole head was throbbing bad I couldn’t walk or move. I also got bad eye pain too which turned out to be migraines and cluster headaches.
  • “Sick headaches” that sent me to bed mid day while others played outside. After weeks of those, my eyes were examined (fine), then the pediatrician told my mother to cut off my waist long hair (diagnosis – too heavy, causing headaches). Chopping off hair did not matter of course. I was 7 yrs old.
  • Starting when I was 9 and only got worse with age. Symptoms….you name it….I have most of them.
  • I used to get an upset stomach and vomiting and headaches. I was 6. The Dr. said I was just trying to get out of school. We knew this was wrong as I loved school. Then in my teens it got so that I couldn’t go outside without sun glasses on and the fluorescent lighting hurt my eyes and gave me daily headaches.
  • I must have been about 3 or 4 yrs old, I would have extreme throbbing in my head and want to throw up.
  • I was 4. I told my mom there was a bee in my head. I could hear it buzzing and stinging and I just got sicker.
  • Extreme head pain. I remember being just a young kid (about 5) and getting sick at school with a pounding headache, and coming home to lay on the couch. Grape and bubblegum children’s Tylenol will never be the same for me.
  • I was 6. I remember having the horrible throbbing headache and being so nauseous.
  • 1st grade, I had to put my head on my desk because the teacher wouldn’t let me go to the nurse. I asked to go to the bathroom because I was nauseous, she stopped me at the classroom door and I threw up on her Daisy sandals. She drove me home at lunch.
  • Excruciating pain behind one eye – was about 10 years old.
  • Daily headaches all through grade school, and stomach aches that sent me to bed since age 5-6.
  • Grade two. I passed out from pain during a hot summer day in a portable class that had very poor ventilation.

A bit later on in life…

  • Severe headache and nausea. I woke up with it early one morning when I was 22. I now realize it was my first migraine.
  • Mine began during my periods but by the time I was in my late 30’s they were triggered by alcohol shellfish, nuts and stress and finally, by nothing at all. Then, when I was 40, i went into remission and have had only 4 or 5 mild ones since.
  • When I was 27 after a dentist put in two new crowns that were too big. Teeth shifted, started getting horrible migraines and TMJ.
  • A really bad headache with a swollen face that lasted for six full months! I had to take an ice pack to work to ice the back of my neck every two hours. I was around 28.
  • At 24 yrs old. The horrific pain of the back rt side of my head. Then the vomiting started.
  • I lost my peripheral vision when I was 15 after I got a tooth pulled. Migraines actually started many years later.

Thank you once again to our community members that took a moment to share such personal and emotional reflections of your early migraine symptoms.

We would love to read more from you! Please feel free to leave your responses of your earliest symptoms that you can recall having prior to diagnosis in the comments below.


  • SaspaPepper
    4 years ago

    I was about 9 years old when I got my first migraine. I remeber crying to the nurse that I just wanted to lay down and I ended up falling asleep while they called my mom to get me. I remeber being so dizzy geting out of the car I threw up. Car rides are pure torture for me. When they would be really bad and last for days I would cry to my mom and begg her to just make it stop. She suffers from them to as does her mom. I’m 23 now and still am struggling with getting my migraines under control. I’m blessed with a husband who is very understanding and compassionate when it comes to this topic.

  • luvjones03
    4 years ago

    At the age of 13, I just remember gripping my left eye because the pain was excruciating and I was extremely nauseous. My Mom had me to lay down in a dark room after taking extra strength Tylenol. The pain was so bad I just remember falling asleep. It wasn’t until I was approximately 18 years old that they diagnosed me with pre and post menstrual migraines and I have been suffering for 38 years. I was extremely distraught when Midrin was no longer available.

  • Meredith
    4 years ago

    4ish, a trip from hot August in Chicago to cool Wisconsin.We arrived in a storm, wind, cold, my body twisted up,stabbing pain, down left side of my head, an immediate ear ache & sore throat. To the doc,anti-biotic. For years no one made the connection, when barometer dropped,that’s how my body reacted.

  • Chip&Dale
    4 years ago

    My early memories of migraine happened when I was about 11. I’d developed a horrible pounding headache while at school. Then I’d ride the bus home while extremely sick to my stomach, usually throw up as soon as i walked in the door. Drop my bookbag and head straight to my bedroom where I’d crawl under the blankets (not even bothering to undress or shower). There I’d pass out straight through until my morning alarm went off.
    They tapered off to next to nothing through my high school and early adult years.
    But at 25 I had one so severe that i ended up in the emergency room and had a seemingly continuous migraine for 3 weeks. They were just several back to back to back at different varying severities. That was 15 yrs ago and I’ve been a chronic sufferer ever since.

  • ReaderV
    4 years ago

    As a child roughly 4 yrs. of age, I remember my head really hurting and feeling all over awful. My Mother would lay a wet wash cloth over my eyes, darken my room and have me rest. In Elementry school, I would hit my head to distract the pulsing pain in my head. My eyesight would change and I felt/do feel ultra sensitive to light,sound and smells.

  • SaspaPepper
    4 years ago

    I am also extremely sensitive to lights, sounds and smells. Definitely my top triggers!!

  • Rhana
    4 years ago

    My first strongest memory before I actually got diagnosed, I was 15. I woke up to get ready for school and I already had an incredible headache, but I had suffered from headaches for years, this was worse then usual and I had buzzing in my ears, I was trying to put my makeup on and my friend came over that always caught the bus with me. I told her to go ahead I felt sick, I wasn’t going, I washed my face and laid in bed and as soon as I laid down, I had to jump up and run to my bathroom and vomit. I started having the visual distortions prior to the migraines as I got older. At a young age I was never given medication for my migraines, I ate Tylenol like they were MM’s, in my 20’s a doctor gave me Vicodin, when I finally saw a Neurologist he put me on a medication that messed me up, so he sent me to Houston and the Neurologist there put me on Topamax & something to take while I was having one, but my Cardiologist asked me to stop taking that one. I have 2 leaky valves in my heart. The Neurologist by the time I saw him, I was 30, he had me do a chart of headaches with & without the visual disturbance, he said I was having up to 25 Migraines a month. I thought they were only Migraines if my vision got messed up & had the blindness in my peripheral vision.

  • mrst53
    4 years ago

    About the age of 8 the diahreah and stomach probablems started. I also had headaches, but the doctor said it was stress, because I was an over- acheiver and wanted everything perfect and there was a lot of fighting in my house.My dad was an alcholic and I was an only child. By the age of 12 the migraine headaches started and by the time I was a teen ager, I was taking meds and having to miss school.

  • headake
    4 years ago

    In my early childhood I had visual disturbances that led me to appointment with a neurologist that told me sometimes your eyes play tricks on you. Not much help when people and things looked out of proportion to me => heads were too small or the doorway at the end of the hall looked impossibly far away. Later came to understand it as what is called as ‘Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.’ Never tied it to the headaches I always seemed to have.

  • Bill Bartlett
    4 years ago

    I had abdominal and lower GI pain and diarrhea as a child that came once a week. In my late teens and 20’s, that changed to daily headaches that I discounted as allergy-related sinus headaches with the occasional severe migraine. I had a reprieve in my 30’s. However, in my 40’s, after having viral meningitis, the headaches, visual disturbances, tinnitus, vertigo, and nausea started.

    The visual disturbances are most unusual: my eyes twitch and, in extreme cases, I get double vision. Only occasionally do I get squiggles in the left corner of my field of vision.

    An anti-nausea medication, promethazine, seems to help the most. I take it nightly as a prophylactic.

  • Michelle Rudder
    4 years ago

    I had abdominal migraines, and I remember fainting in the toilet because of the tummy pains and diarrhea. The first time I travelled on a plane, I had such a bad headache after. I always associated air travel with headache. Then on our return, I remember my father stopping at the station to fillup his car, and the smell of the petrol had my so sick and nauseous after, not to mention, the headache worsened.

    I also used to yawn a lot … I mean a lot, till my eyes would water so much. Everyone always commented on why I was yawning so much. I di not link it to migraine until a couple years ago.

  • Imjcn
    4 years ago

    I had migraines as a young child. I remember even back as far as five or six years old–and this was a long time ago, mind you. We had a doctor that made house calls. And this sick-bastard doctor got his thrills by checking out my genitals instead of the part of me that was hurting–my head. I want to scream sexual predator to the town, because I know I wasn’t the only one, but he was a “respected” doctor. That probably adds to my misery. I’ve been suffering with a migraine for the last 4 days, trying to work and then going home to bed. I’m 54 now. This is not a life worth living.

  • 1rpdn3m
    4 years ago

    When I was about 6 years old I complained to my mother of severe headaches. The doctor sent us to the hospital to do a brain xray, concerned about a brain tumor. Of course the results were negative and they sent me home saying I had allergy/sinus headaches. From that time on my mother never took my headache complaints seriously. I’ve spent most of my life trying to treat my headaches with otc allergy/sinus meds. Three years ago (I am now 67) I found a doctor who finally diagnosed my headaches as migraines. With her help I have managed to reduce the frequency of my migraines.I occasionally get the 2 or 3 day headache that medication doesn’t help, but a lot less often.

  • Anniep
    4 years ago

    I was about 5 or 6 I can remember awful odours of what we’re usually okay making me want to vomit then abdominal pain and having to lie down then i would vomit and feel better. This delveloped into pain over my eye and temple. Diagnosed at 20 but still had Dr call them tension headaches got to the stage of just showing them the letter from nuerologist.

  • marg221
    4 years ago

    In the 1960’s I was sent home from school multiple times per week starting in 3rd grade. My classroom was on the 2nd floor and going up the stairs caused me to get dizzy and sick. Stabbing pains in the head and light bothered me. Had to go home and be in a dark room with cold cloth over my eyes. Doctors kept looking at my eyes to see what was wrong, I did not get diagnosed until I was 21.

  • Diane
    4 years ago

    I didn’t leave a story. I do remember bad headaches as s child, but absolute first worst one in memory was after a physics lab freshman in college with strobe lights. Barely made it through the lab, went home and vomited for hours, being miserable in my dorm cot! Then became very predictable with my periods. I could tell you when it would start by migraines! That at least is some better with menopause. But still have other triggers.

  • lwsbchbm
    4 years ago

    I’m male and by 6 I can remember starting to see double and the sound of the clock on the wall becoming extremely loud. It wasn’t until 12 with the onset of my first seizure that the one sided weakness, GI problems, and headache pain set in. The seizures actually obscured the fact that I was having migraines also for years.

  • 1ydac3x
    4 years ago

    As a teenager and into my 20s I didnt have migraines but would on occasion have exertion headaches when lifting weights that felt very much like a migraine but didnt last as long. The migraines didnt become chronic until I was in a car accident back in 2000 when i was in my late 30s.

  • AmyBritt
    4 years ago

    I was five or six and under extreme stress from being bullied at school. I had excruciating stomachaches and the doctor diagnosed them as “psychosomatic stomachaches”.

    I had many headaches in my teens and twenties, but had my first aura migraine in my late twenties, with a shape in the center of my vision with rolling sparkles and such head pain I could not walk without assistance.
    Strangely, I had two migraines with aura, then just migraine without aura for thirty years, then one more migraine with aura a couple of years ago.

    My current 20 year period of increasingly frequent migraines was first diagnosed as “allegic sinus headaches” and I underwent two years of allergy shots. The headaches became worse and worse and I eventually realized that my triggers were change in barometric pressure (up or down) and exposure to any smoke. They became almost daily (chronic) and were always resistant to any medication save painkillers and finally this year, botox. They usually have a nausea/stomach component. My first neurologist (in my 50’s) said the original stomachaches were incorrectly diagnosed migraines!

  • 2boysMama
    4 years ago

    I was maybe 5-6 years old and I remember yelling out in the middle of the night for my parents. I could “see” the red colored things around me…and screaming in pain. Of course now we know it was migraine with aura.
    My Italian Grandmother, (RIP). assumed I either had a gift or a curse….trust me it hasn’t been a gift

  • Douglas
    4 years ago

    I am so relieved to know that my childhood experiences were not unique. When my migraines began intensifying following a stroke several years ago I was (eventually) diagnosed with familial hemiplegic migraines. After several discussions with my neurologist I discovered that I had most likely been having migraines my entire life.
    I have always had visual aura (floating spots, etc), ringing in my ears, and occasional weakness in my left side. knowing that these were migraine related has helped my track my migraines now. Hearing the experiences of the community is tremendously helpful.
    I thank all of you.

  • Colorado4Now
    4 years ago

    At about the age of 9 I had what my aunt called a bad headache probably from the flu. After the headache continued for 3 or 4 days and I couldn’t do more than lay in bed in a dark room fighting nausea she called the doctor who came to our house and gave me an injection. Whatever it was it knocked me out for about 15 hours and I woke free of all symptoms. That was not the first migraine I experienced, but the worst one of my childhood and the only time anyone actually believed I was in pain.

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