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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

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  • Trisha27
    2 years ago

    Not to be negative Tammy, but I had endometriosis starting in my 20’s. I had surgery at age 25 to remove one ovary and other growths. I suffered on and off with anemia for years. I started having migraines at age 38. My neurologist told me a hysterectomy could possibly make my migraines worse( I have 2 children) so I opted to try many treatments including estrogen, blood thinners, blood pressure, Topamax, Botox, dry needle therapy, ect. ect…Nothing helped but my abortive Zomig. Many times I took nothing and just suffered to avoid medication overuse. The last 2 years before I went through menopause(I am 58 now) were hell. I bled terribly, irregular periods, my migraines were horrific. I finally am through it, but I still have migraines. The light at the end of the tunnel is my migraines are maybe 5 to 6 a month, instead of 15 to 20! They are much less severe also. The main point of all this, is I finally accepted the fact my life has changed and it includes migraine disease. I hid my pain for years never asking for help. I feared being looked upon as weak or a crazy person. I longed for my old life before migraines. What used to be. Now I am accepting my life as it is, and am much nicer to myself! Tammy, please take the time to treat your self gently. Realize you may never be “normal”, but a great women who has migraine disease. You will have a huge burden lifted off your shoulders. My true friends understand and still love me. My husband now understands and helps me. My kids also try to be sweet to me. It will get better with time. Thanks for all you do!

  • Tammy Rome author
    2 years ago

    My surgery took place in January and I just received the all-clear from my gynecologist. Hysterectomy that includes removal of both ovaries can, indeed, worsen migraine. That’s why I made the choice to keep my ovaries intact so that I could go through natural menopause. I’ve had absolutely no change in migraine frequency or severity and feel significantly better now that my iron levels are returning to normal.

    I have a wonderful support system that includes some pretty amazing patient advocates and outstanding doctors. I do a lot of healthy self-care and do not struggle with negative feelings about migraine. Quite the opposite, in fact, i am an ardent advocate for embracing a life with migraine and determined to live life (with accommodations) to the fullest.

    After all, “normal” is over-rated. I intend to be extraordinary! 🙂

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