sponsored by Biohaven Pharmaceuticals
Imagine a hectic weekend day running your children around to a birthday party, a soccer game, and a family get together. Now imagine that same day with a migraine attack, pain and symptoms so disabling, you wish you could rest in a cool dark place. Yet you can’t take time off from being mom; you’ll simply try to plow through it.
That scenario is more common than most realize. And women are particularly susceptible to migraine. In fact, women are three times more likely to have migraine than men and the disease typically hits women the hardest in their thirties during the most active years of their life. This ultimately impacts their families — from not being able to help their children with day-to-day tasks, to household chores, as well as the loss of work opportunities, to name a few.
Additionally, one of the most frustrating aspect of the disease, as found in a survey of people with migraine by the National Headache Foundation, is that those who don’t suffer from migraine don’t understand how debilitating it can be. One reason may be that it’s an invisible disease where you can’t see the symptoms someone is experiencing. Also, the degree of illness and symptoms can vary widely among those who have it.
What happens when people have migraine? For the nearly 40 million Americans who have migraine, some may experience extreme head pain which can last for hours with its effect felt for days and this can occur several times a month or more. They may also have symptoms such as nausea, visual aura, sensitivity to light or odors, extreme fatigue, brain-fog or a combination of these, to name a few.
We spoke with headache and migraine expert Dr. Katherine Standley, Florida Medical Clinic, who knows the issues moms living with migraine must overcome. Dr. Standley not only treats migraine, she is also a mother of two daughters aged seven and nine, and grew up with a mother and grandmother who has suffered from the disease.
Because migraine affects people differently, Dr. Standley offers the following tips to determine how best to get the help you need based on your specific migraine journey:
- Identify and avoid your migraine triggers and symptoms.
Keep a diary of when you have a headache, your pain level, and other factors like skipping a meal or not getting enough sleep. Women should also track their menstrual cycle. Common triggers can include stress, menses, changes in weather, sleep deprivation, getting too much or not enough sleep, specific foods or not eating enough, and many more.
- Have a back-up plan for when migraine starts.
Prepare foods and activities for your children in advance. Consider where in your home you can be comfortable with your children playing quietly nearby. Save activities like a quiet show or coloring with the lights dimmed for when you need them most. If your children need supervision while you rest, have a list of friends, family members, as well as sitters who may be available to step in on short notice.
- Talk to your children about migraine so they understand what you are going through.
Speak openly with your children about your migraine and explain why your usual routine may change when you have an attack. Give an example of a time they were sick or in pain so they can relate to you and understand that it isn’t that you don’t want to play or interact with them.
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
It is easy to get caught up in your children’s activities and schedules and lose track of taking care of yourself. Keep in mind that making sure you are getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and maintaining a work-life balance can help you to avoid some of the triggers that can cause migraine attacks.
- Speak to your doctor about your symptoms and the best course of action.
Share your migraine diary and experience with your doctor and work with them to determine the best course of action. Diet and lifestyle changes can make a difference. However, if symptoms persist or you have a family history of migraine, medications may also be prescribed. Tremendous medical advances have resulted in treatment that can work fast when a migraine strikes as well as help prevent an attack in the first place.
Recent developments in treatment include a medicine which blocks calcitonin gene-related peptides (CGRP antagonist), a root cause of migraine pain. Nurtec® ODT (rimegepant) is the only medicine to have FDA approval for both the preventive treatment of episodic migraine and to treat attacks when they occur. For many people with migraine, having one treatment for both – to prevent and treat migraine attacks – means less juggling and greater ease in managing care.
“One way I work with patients is to find out how migraine disease affects them, their family history of the disease, their lifestyle and experience with treatment. From there I tailor a plan specifically for them,” adds Dr. Standley. “If you suspect that you have migraine, I recommend that you don’t wait to get help. Check with your physician and determine next steps for care.”
Nurtec® ODT 75 mg orally disintegrating tablets is a prescription medicine that is used to treat migraine in adults. It is for the acute treatment of migraine attacks and the preventive treatment of episodic migraine. Do not take if you are allergic to Nurtec ODT or any of its ingredients. The most common side effects were nausea (2.7%) and stomach pain/indigestion (2.4%). Please visit Nurtec.com for full Prescribing Information, Patient Information and Important Safety Information.