Migraine Blessing in Disguise

In the course of seeking treatment for migraine, we may discover other health problems that must be addressed. Sometimes, migraine treatment itself can uncover health problems that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Strangely enough, on rare occasions, having migraine can actually be a blessing.

Learning about additional health issues

For years I believed that migraine was my only problem. When I finally got serious about better migraine management, I discovered a whole host of other issues that needed my attention. One of those had to do with my reproductive health. Since I turned 40, my periods had been getting heavier and more frequent. When I expressed my concerns, my primary care doctor recommended a uterine ablation as a possible solution. Migraine was still out of control, so I put off getting a consult for several more years.

Scheduling the appointment

Two years ago I finally scheduled that appointment. My problem was a bit more complicated than I thought. The surgeon ordered a uterine ultrasound and reviewed the results with me. I was diagnosed with adenomyosis. He explained that a uterine ablation may or may not resolve my symptoms. The only way to completely resolve the problem was a partial hysterectomy. While he agreed that my ovaries could stay intact (thus preventing a worsening of migraine due to the sudden loss of estrogen), he was insistent that this was the best course of action.

Doing the research

Not familiar with this condition, I did what any self-respecting patient advocate would do. I searched Medscape, PubMed, and combed through medical journals to learn more. Adenomyosis is similar to endometriosis in that the lining of the uterus does not slough off properly. Unlike endometriosis, the uterine lining embeds itself into the uterine muscle wall. This can lead to benign tumors, an enlarged uterus, weight gain, changes in body shape, painful periods, excessive bleeding, irregular periods, infertility, worsening of migraine frequency, and a whole host of other unpleasant symptoms. UGH…

Migraine inpatient stay leading to more discoveries

It took me by surprise. I wasn’t emotionally ready to part with my lady parts. So I opted to wait patiently for natural menopause – the other guaranteed way to solve the problem. I’m now 47 and menopause won’t likely make its appearance for several more years. More recently, blood tests performed during my inpatient stay for Status Migrainosus showed that I am severely anemic. The results were surprising because I take iron supplements every single day.

My primary care doctor is now very concerned for my health. My hemoglobin levels have him alarmed, so he strongly encouraged me to talk to the surgeon again. This time, I actually listened and made an appointment. My husband and I talked to the surgeon right after Thanksgiving and decided to go ahead with a partial hysterectomy. It’s time to put a stop to all this unpleasantness.

I guess that stubborn migraine attack was a blessing in disguise. If it hadn’t been for the migraine attack, the anemia would have gone undetected for several months until my next physical. At least now I can do something about it. Thank you, migraine. For once, you actually did me a favor.

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