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Could I be suffering from migraines???

I originally posted this in "general discussions" but I realized that I probably should have posted it here (?), so I'm posting it here instead. Could some moderator please delete the post that is posted in the wrong place and move/merge the threads if there are answers by the time you see this message? I'm sorry about the inconvenience, and


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I had painful migraines during my pregnancies some years ago, and my grandfather on my dad’s side and my mother and my sister all experience serious, debilitating migraines. I’m 40 and have felt like I was lucky to not inherit these migraines, but after I experienced a trauma (PTSD) some years ago, I have been experiencing other health issues, among these, what I call “brain fog episodes”:

I have been in and out of offices of neurologists and hormonal doctors and psychiatrists, due to a lot of “systemic” symptoms, such as pains, tinglings, anger issues, confusion, brain fog, speech issues, and wierd feelings of paralysis of my brain and strange swooshing sounds in my ears, fatigue, dizziness, etc.

I myself have linked these episodes to foods I eat, to dehydration, to stress and to lack of sleep. In particular I cannot have caffeine, chocolate or aspartame. Aspartame drives me totally nuts. Like a mental patient, really. I get confused, start to scream at people and then I crash on a bed in confusion with a foggy brain, unable to speak and I just cry and cry and cry.I feel drunk and hung over and depressed and scared all at once. With chocolate and caffeine it feels more like a heavy blanket lands on my head and I have vision issues and feel extremely fatigued/dizzy.

Since I don’t have headaches too often during these episodes, I haven’t thought of migraine as a possible reason, but the neurologist asked me last time I was there “what do you personally think it is?”. I answered “I think I have some sort of allergic reactions to certain foods, and somehow it attacks my brain and not my belly like with others”. He then joked “allergies like migraines?”, and we both laughed, but after I was there, I started thinking “what if these things actually ARE migraines?

Could I be experiencing migraines? Just without headaches?

I actually HAVE HAD migraines during some of these fatigue-episodes, with auras and half my head in throbbing pain, but I thought of these migraines as caused by the brain fog episode and not vice versa. What if instead the whole brain fog is a migraine, and headaches and auras are just sometimes present? Is that possible? And if so, why haven’t the doctors thought of it?

Should I mention this idea to my doctors, who by now probably think I’m just mentally ill (they haven’t said it, but I’d think so myself if I were them). I don’t think I’m mentally ill generally, but at DURING these brain fog episodes I feel demented and stupid and I get super depressed and aggressive. :-/

  1. So, first of all, I'm sorry this is happening to you. All of the things you listed are known migraine triggers. Caffeine, chocolate, aspartame, all bad migraine triggers. Dehydration, lack of sleep, stress=common triggers. Even the way you describe reacting are all ways the body can respond during migraine. I would definitely think this is worth speaking about with a headache specialist, especially with your family history of migraine, and especially with YOUR history of migraine. Migraine is a genetic disease. It doesn't go away. There is currently no known cure. You may not have triggered it for a while, but the predisposition for a headache disorder is still there in your body and will be for the rest of your life.

    Here's a longer list of food triggers, in case you want to examine your diet for other things that may potentially be bothering you...

    And *hugs* for the "I must be crazy and no one will believe me" feeling. I think we've all been there. I've had doctors not believe me. Some have listened and then I request my medical records and they write down all my migraine symptoms under "psychiatric" (the jerks.) One asked me and my husband if we were making it up. Not cool. Please know that the crazy-feeling brain fog, depressive and mood-swing anger thing is a known thing that can happen during stages of migraine. I remember one morning a few years ago sitting in my car thinking about some stupid paper I needed to grade (a level .0003 problem) with level 9 rage, and thinking, "Oh crap, I'm going to get a migraine later," because that extreme overreaction felt just CHEMICAL almost, like even though I could recognize it was silly, and I wasn't really mad, my body chemistry was amped up. Same thing with the depression. That still gets me EVERY MIGRAINE. When they hit, I chemically hit the floor and sometimes will just lie in bed and cry and nothing my husband can say can console me. He knows I will come out of it as soon as the migraine passes... it's just body chemistry being out of whack while the migraine releases chemicals... and sure enough, every time, I'm fine, so usually he just tries to get me to go to sleep rather than suffer through being convinced the world is ending, but it sucks while you're in it.

    Anyway. I am not a doctor. But these things can happen during the course of migraine. So, since you've already punched your bingo card with every other doctor, going to a headache specialist seems like a good next step to see if that's what could be going on with you.

    1. Thank you for your answer, GardensatNight. I'm really sorry you have been through all that. Thank you so much for telling me your experiences.

      The more I think about it, the more it adds up, symptoms and all. I will have to try a "migraine diet" for a few weeks and see if I get better! So many things on that list, though 😮

      Maybe this is a strupid question, but is migraine a form of allergy reaction?

      1. Not exactly, although sometimes it FEELS like my brain is allergic to life! Migraine is a genetic disease that can manifest in many different ways. There are different forms of migraine (some people have migraines in their stomach, some are partially paralyzed during migraine, some lose vision in one eye, etc), a spectrum of severity and different parts of the body being affected. It is triggered by various things (which may be why it feels similar to allergy) and the symptoms can vary widely, as well as the severity of the disease individuals experience.

        But basically migraine brains are thought to have an over-sensitized reaction to various stimuli, so a sniff of those evil scented pinecones stores put out around the holidays that might not bother your average person in the craft aisle might immediately trigger an attack for someone with migraine disease, whose brain starts having a chemical reaction in response. Same goes for food, weather changes, light, sound, hormones, etc.

        Trying the elimination diet is a good place to start. It's definitely very restrictive. One thing to remember is that if you establish good migraine control after a few months on the diet, you can try adding things back one at a time. If no headache develops after you try the thing a few times, you try adding the next thing you want.

        Another thing to consider is that if the attacks happen more than 4 times per month, and you did talk to a doctor, and they did determine it was migraine, you could talk to them about whether a preventative medication might be appropriate. There's lots of them out there, and they can reduce the number of attacks.

        Hope that helps!

        1. Hi ive just been diagnosed with photophobia ive sufferd for years and wondered what was wrong i get unsteady waterfall vision silent headache i noticed more with onset of menopause i feel sick at times if clouds go over i feel the opression my anxiety goes through the roof super markets and shops trigger me terribly i avoid and wont go out alone

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