Posts Tagged ‘headache’

Pregnancy chat on headaches

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

headacheDo you suffer from head bangers? Were they worse or better during pregnancy? Some women find they get worse while others enjoy a reprieve. Some women may have migraine headaches for the 1st time in early pregnancy – often severe, throbbing pain on one side of head. What causes this?

Find out about triggers, what meds are safe and what should be avoided, what are some non-medical suggestions for relief.

Join us on Twitter Wednesday April 17th at 1 PM ET for our next pregnancy chat. Get some tips or share with your fellow sufferers what worked best for you. Be sure to use #pregnancychat to join in the conversation.

Headaches during pregnancy

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

headacheHeadaches are common during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimesters. They rarely signal a serious problem, but they do deserve attention.

In the first few months of pregnancy, headaches may be caused by normal changes in your hormone levels and an increase in blood volume and circulation. In the second trimester, pregnancy-related headaches may disappear as your body becomes used to the hormonal changes. Towards the end of pregnancy, headaches tend to be related more to posture and tension from carrying extra weight.

During the second and third trimesters, headaches may also be caused by a serious condition called preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy). Preeclampsia requires immediate medical attention.  Contact your health care provider immediately if your headache:
• Does not go away or recurs often
• Is sudden and very severe
• Is accompanied by blurry vision, spots in front of your eyes, sudden weight gain, pain in the upper right abdomen, and swelling in the hands or face
• Is accompanied by nausea and vomiting
• If you’ve been having any problems with high or rising blood pressure, call your health care provider even if you have a mild headache.

Some women often have tension headaches, which cause squeezing pain or a dull ache on both sides of the head or the back of the neck. The headaches may increase during pregnancy, especially if you experiences stress, fatigue, caffeine withdrawal (especially if you suddenly stop or cut down on coffee drinking or other sources of caffeine when you learn you’re pregnant), lack of sleep, dehydration (lack of fluids), or hunger or low blood sugar.

Some unlucky women may have migraine headaches for the first time in early pregnancy. These headaches cause severe, throbbing pains on one side of the head. Nausea or vomiting may also be part of the migraine experience. But many women who are prone to migraines may notice that they improve during pregnancy. Some migraine sufferers may notice no change during pregnancy or may find that their headaches become more frequent and intense.

Before taking any medications or herbal remedies, always talk to your health care provider. If you regularly suffer from migraines, ask your health care provider before taking the medications you normally used before becoming pregnant. The following tips may safely help relieve or prevent headaches during pregnancy:
• Use warm or cold compresses
• Reduce stress
• Rest and exercise
• Eat well-balanced meals
• Take care of your body
• Avoid headache triggers

While most headaches during pregnancy are harmless, some can be a sign of a more serious problem. If you have a migraine for the first time during pregnancy, or if you have a headache that feels unlike any you’ve experienced before, call your health care provider to make sure it is not a sign of more serious problems. Call your health care provider right away if your headache:
• Is sudden and explosive or includes a violent pain that awakens you from sleep
• Is accompanied by fever and stiff neck
• Becomes increasingly worse, and you have vision changes, slurred speech, drowsiness, numbness or a change in sensation or alertness
• Occurs after falling or hitting your head
• Is accompanied by nasal congestion, pain and pressure underneath your eyes, or dental pain (these may be signs of sinus infection)

Valproate sodium and related products linked to birth defects

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement about the increased risk of birth defects when a fetus is exposed to valproate sodium and related products (valproic acid and divalproex sodium).

The birth defects are neural tube defects, craniofacial defects, and cardiovascular problems. A neural tube defect is a defect of the brain and spinal cord. A craniofacial defect affects the face and the skull.

Valproate sodium and its related products may be used to treat migraine headaches, certain seizures and other conditions. If a woman is taking any of these products, she should talk to her health care provider, preferably before she gets pregnant. The risk of birth defects is especially high during the first trimester.

Update: Swine flu

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

doctorYou’ve heard the news. The number of swine flu cases in the U.S. and around the world is increasing. The federal government has declared this a “public health emergency.” What does this mean for moms and babies?

Here are a few things we know:
* A person can catch the swine flu from another person.

* All of us can take simple precautions to protect ourselves and others. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. If you can, avoid sick people. Wash your hands often with soap and water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a complete list of tips.

* Early treatment can reduce the severity of the illness.

* A person doesn’t get swine flu from eating or preparing pork.

Here are a few things we don’t yet know:
* How contagious is this flu? If you have a room full of people and one of them has the swine flu, how many other people will catch it?

* How serious is this illness? Right now, no one in the United States has died, and cases appear to be mild. But this could change. Because flu viruses can change over time, they can become more or less serious.

* We don’t know how long swine flu will be around. It could be a few weeks or longer. It could go away for a while and them come back.

Since most of the cases have occurred in Mexico, the CDC recommends that people not travel to that country, unless their travel is “essential.”

Here is a list of symptoms of the swine flu: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting. If you or any member of your family has any of these symptoms, call your health care provider.

Swine flu outbreak: What it means for you and your family

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

pigSeveral people in the United States have developed swine flu, a respiratory disease that can sometimes be serious. According to the New York Times, hundreds of cases have been reported in Mexico.

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A person can get swine flu from a pig or from a human that has the infection.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into the recent outbreak. For more info, including prevention tips, read the CDC Web page on swine flu.

Migraine headaches during pregnancy: Is there an increased risk of stroke?

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

migraine2I don’t have migraine headaches, but my sister does. And they cause her serious pain.

This week we may have learned something new about migraines. Pregnant women who have migraine headaches may be at increased risk of stroke and other problems related to their blood vessels. Researchers just reported this information in a study published in the British Medical Journal.

A migraine is a very painful type of headache. The pain may pulse or throb in one area of the head. During migraines, people are very sensitive to light and sound. They may also become nauseated and vomit.

Often when a woman is pregnant, she stops having migraines. But if they don’t stop, she may be more likely to have a stroke, heart attack or other serious health problem.

More research is needed to confirm or disprove the findings from the new study.

In the meantime, if you are pregnant and having migraines, talk to your health care provider about what this new research may mean for you.

Ice cream cake and fried calamari

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

I’m so glad to be back at work today. I usually love long, holiday weekends, but I’m exhausted and I ate horribly the entire time. Saturday we celebrated my niece’s birthday with burgers and ice cream cake. Sunday night my husband and I rented a movie and ordered a pizza. For Labor Day we went to my sister-in-law’s. We spent the day on the beach (I didn’t drink enough water) and went to a seafood place for dinner. Every single thing on the menu was deep fried.

I have a headache and my tummy feels awful. My midwife would not be happy. Her practice is very nutrition-centered and I usually try to be, too. I’m chugging water and can’t wait to go to my Yoga class tonight. I had a small apple and multi-grain toast for breakfast. I’m planning to have a big green salad for lunch. I don’t know about dinner yet, but I’m thinking a light soup. I brought two snacks with me: low-fat yogurt and carrot sticks. I need to get back on track.

It’s amazing how food impacts the way I feel. Do you know what I mean?

Summer headaches

Monday, July 28th, 2008

All of us get a headache once in a while, but some of us are plagued with migraines.  There are a variety of things that can kick off a migraine.  In the summer, high heat and humidity, quick changes in barometric pressure from summer storms can be triggers for me.  As can be chocolate (that’s not fair!), caffeine (like the iced coffee I drank over the weekend), alcohol, etc. I have learned to try to stay away from these things or run the risk of a headbanger (the iced coffee was so good, though!) 

Some women often have tension headaches, which cause squeezing pain or a dull ache on both sides of the head or the back of the neck.  These can be caused by stress, fatigue, caffeine withdrawal – especially if you usually drink a lot of coffee or caffeinated drinks and suddenly stop or cut down – lack of sleep, dehydration (lack of fluids), and hunger or low blood sugar.

Here are a couple of tips for finding relief: To soothe a headache in the sinus area, apply warm compresses to the front and sides of your face and around your nose, eyes and temples. To relieve a tension headache, apply a cold compress to the back of your neck.
 
Relaxation exercises, which may consist of deep breathing or simply closing your eyes and imagining a peaceful scene, may also help. Resting in a dark, quiet room can soothe headaches.  If it’s a really hot day or there is a storm brewing, I try to stay indoors in an air conditioned space.  

Getting enough sleep and exercise can also be helpful. And eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day can help keep your blood sugar from getting too low.  Drinking lots of water will keep you well hydrated, too.