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Migraine- Epilepsy

I’m 60. I’ve had migraines with visual aura since I was 12. My paternal grand-mother had them till she was 90 (she died with 102) and one of my brothers suffers from the same problem. Sometimes we both have migraines in the same day. The worse period was when I was pregnant I had them more than once a month and as I was a teacher sometimes I had to interrupt classes to go home.

I found out that some kind of cheese and specially food with cooked cheese triggers these migraines  .So now I eat only cottage cheese made from cow milk. Nevertheless 20 years ago I had a short epileptic seizure just after the aura. It scared me a bit but I was not especially worried. Doctors paid no attention to it. Ten years later when I was 49 I had a different aura; it seemed that I was surrounded by cotton wool and the seizure was far more serious. I had to stay in hospital for 10 days. Since then I was prescribed Depakine (valproic acid) and no more seizures happened.

Migraines stopped for a long time but now I have them from time to time. The aura is still there but there is barely a pain. sometimes I don’t even take paracetamol. I just sleep a little.

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  • Jan Piller
    5 years ago

    I’ve just been reading a lot about how migraines and epilepsy are connected somehow (in how they’re triggered) and that’s why anti-seizure medications work for some migraineurs. My doctor has suggest this drug for a long time and it has frightened me but perhaps I should bite the bullet and give it a try. Thanks for sharing this story.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    5 years ago

    Jan, actually both epilepsy and Migraine are what we call primary disorders. This means that they are not causing each other. However, they do have much in common. This is one reason why anti-seizure medications can sometimes be very helpful in Migraine patients as preventives. They are used however, because no preventive for Migraine has ever been designed to target Migraine specifically, so all we have is hand-me-down meds used in other disorders. Using medications this way is common and is called “off label”.

    Migraine is a multi-faceted disease and is different in each patient. That is one reason why we have no cookbook method in treating or preventing attacks. It often takes many months or even years of trial and error to finally find a medicine or combination of off-label medications that will work the best for any individual patient. It takes a lot of patience, but don’t give up. Hang in there. Find others who can help understand and support you. Educate yourself the best you can about Migraine, and have really interactive conversations with your doctor. If you’re not seeing a Migraine specialist already, that might be the very best place for you to begin.

    Here is a link that will help you find the closest Migraine and headache specialist:


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