Hives, also called urticaria, are a common symptom for people living with migraine. Hives may come and go quickly or may last for days, weeks or even months. Doctors do not know exactly how migraine and hives are connected.
In some people, migraine attacks or hives can be due to a reaction to food sensitivities and food allergies. In others, hives may be a trigger or symptom of the migraine itself.
What are hives?
Hives are red or skin-colored bumps or patches that are usually raised and itchy. When pressed, the middle of the bump turns white. This is called blanching.1 Hives may be seen in one area of the body and then disappear, with new patches popping up on another body part.
Symptoms of hives can last minutes, months, or even years. They can be short-term (acute), or long-term (chronic).
Why do people get hives?
Hives may happen when a person is exposed to:
Certain foods or drugs
Chemicals in cleaning products, or latex
Pollen or pet dander
Exposure to extreme cold or heat
Viral or bacterial infections1
How are hives treated?
Treating a migraine typically treats the symptoms that come with that migraine. But sometimes hives may be unrelated to the migraine attack.
Hives often go away on their own. If it does not, a doctor can help you figure out the cause and possible treatments. Sometimes drugs like antihistamines may help. Cold compresses or anti-itch skin treatments may also help bring relief.1
Wearing loose-fitting clothing, avoiding known allergens, and staying out of the sun may also help reduce discomfort.
Seek immediate medical attention if the hives come with any of the following:
Swelling in the throat, tongue, or face
You are having trouble breathing or wheezing
You are fainting
You have shortness of breath
Tracking your migraine symptoms
Keeping a record of your migraine symptoms may help you figure out patterns and triggers to your attacks. It may be helpful to record such things as:
When and where your pain or symptoms start
Whether the pain spreads to your entire head or neck
How well and how quickly acute treatment helps reduce the pain or other symptoms
How long your pain or symptoms last
Whether you experience other symptoms such as vision changes, nausea, or light sensitivity