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Migraines related to blood loss (personal experience I would like to share)

I joined this forum because I had a traumatic experience the other day, while donating plasma & I wanted to share my experience with someone researching the possible link. Here is my story. The other day I went to donate plasma. I have not donated in years. Nor have I had a migraine in over 5 years. I am 36 years old. I started to have the symptoms of an oncoming migraine attack on my first draw giving plasma. The phlebotomist did not stick me in a sturdy vein. Hell, I think it was a capillary. So, on the return, everything started to go downhill. I was under stress, trauma, & about 200mL blood loss when I experienced the aura that usually obstructed my vision for about 30 minutes before a dehabilitating migraine would begin. However, another phlebotomist was able to return my blood back to me, in a different vein in my other arm. Minus the plasma collected after one draw. & I NEVER HAD THE ONSET OF THE MIGRAINE I was sooo dreading. I have NEVER had the aura & NOT had a 4 hour migraine. I really wanted to share this information with someone studying this correlation between migraines & redblood cells. If you read this & have any more questions about my experience. Please let me know. I would like to help. I don’t even like talking about this. But if I can help with this research I would like to get this information to the right person.

  1. Hi coronaprincess,

    As unpleasant as that sounds, thank you for sharing your story with us. Hopefully others will read this and be along shortly to share their experiences as well.


    1. Yesterday I went to donate plasma for my first time. I have had blood drawn several times in the military and have never really minded being stuck. I had clear urine all morning yet they said I must be dehydrated because it took an hour and a half to get all the plasma they wanted. Afterwards I felt completely fine for the rest of the night. However, I woke up at 5 this morning and had a progressing migraine that completely took over by 7. I had diarrhea, severe vomiting and the shakes. My temperature was at 96.3 however. The only thing I can think of for the cause is that I was not prepared to give 850ml of plasma or possible I did not receive enough fluids back into my body. I am finally getting over it at 10am now but I wanted to share my answer because I definitely believe there was a correlation between donating plasma and my severe migraine.

      1. Hi, BravoDude! How are you feeling now? Hope you're doing better. -Melissa, team

        1. Hi there!

          The past three donations. Tried doing power red and when getting back my plasma the first time it infiltrated so we stopped (so it was technically a whole blood donation). Same thing happened the next time. The third time we just did a normal whole blood and didn’t try power red. The first two times I got a migraine 3 days after the donation. The third time I got a migraine one week after donation. I have regularly given blood over the past couple years with power red with no problems (headaches or migraines). Last time i even ended up in the ER because my sumatriptan didn’t even touch it that time. The first two times it did work. I got put on 22.5mg of propranolol as a preventative after the first migraine and it didn’t help.

          Let me know if you find more info! I have my new doctor looking into it as well.

          1. Thank you for chiming in with your experience -- this is such a fascinating topic and clearly there is more to learn here. I'm sorry you've been having a rough time with your last few donations, especially after such a long period of it going well. Have you tried taking a break for a few donation cycles, just to see what happens then? It seems like no matter what a person's migraines triggers are, it takes some trial and error to figure out what works best for you. I would also see if the doctor treating your migraines has any suggestions or thoughts. Take good care of yourself! -Melissa, team

          2. Woops, just noticed your doctor is looking into it. Great minds think alike! All the best to you.

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