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17 'Sneaky' Ways Migraine Affects People

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There’s more to migraines than just head pain. Migraines can affect other parts of your body, like your vision and sense of smell — and sometimes these symptoms sneak up on you in ways you weren’t anticipating.

We asked our Mighty community to share some of the “sneaky,” unexpected ways their migraines affect them. Other people might not realize these symptoms are due to your migraines, but they can be just as debilitating as the more well-known symptoms.

Here’s what the community told us:

1. “One of my sneakiest problems is I am prone to sinus infections, but I can’t tell when I have one because I just think I’ve had a spike in migraine attacks. So the infections can get pretty severe before I even get a clue that something is really wrong.”

2. “The strangest things will trigger me, like scents and lights and noise. So I’ll be having a good day, doing errands, and someone with too much perfume or a shirt pattern that strobes comes along, and bam, out of nowhere, it all crashes down.”

3. “The panic feeling when you keep going to the doctors or emergency and none of the medication for migraines is working.”

4. “As soon as I feel a migraine coming, whether by losing my vision or a strong gagging feeling, I have to brush my teeth to get rid of any taste in my mouth other than my very mild toothpaste taste. That small act can sometimes ward off the need to vomit.”

5. “Difficulty formulating thoughts and finishing sentences; cognitive issues when migraine is not necessarily present.”

6. “During about 40 percent of my migraines I suffer with severe constipation, I can’t go no matter what I do and I have irritable bowel symptoms… Then as the migraine begins to ease off I’m able to go to the toilet with no problem at all.”

7. “If someone take a picture with the flash on it almost always triggers a migraine. I too get the vision loss with yellow clouds or a four-inch yellow horizontal strip that I can’t see through but can see above or below.”

8. “People will suddenly seem to be talking very loud. I don’t realize I am just sensitive to the sound due to the coming migraine that I then start talking quieter to make the discomfort not as bad. I often don’t notice this until my coworkers ask why I’m talking so quiet.”

9. “You feel a migraine is coming on and you walk into a place of business and they have tons of scented candles or a person walks by with too much perfume, going to the movies and you can smell the popcorn. Smells directly affect me and have the biggest impact on me getting a migraine.”

10. “Irritability. Sometimes I’ll wonder why I feel like I’m totally on edge, even if it’s a good day, then I’ll remember it’s likely because it’s really difficult trying to do life with some form of a migraine every single day.”

11. “I lose my sense of taste. For a few hours after I have recovered from a migraine I can’t actually taste anything, it’s weird. I know chocolate is sweet but once I’ve had one, nothing.”

12. “Boredom! In too much pain to sleep but can’t open eyes to watch TV or read, and can’t stand noise. So you are just stuck lying there waiting for it to be over.”

13. “When I try to distract myself from migraines is when I make some of my worst mistakes. Internet window shopping is fun, so I get desperate for anything to take my mind off the pain, plus I am not thinking very well. This causes some odd purchases. Sometimes I don’t even remember ordering them.”

14. “I can be fine, but walk past a window on a sunny day and bam there it is! My whole family complains that my house is always dark.”

15.I can’t look at some colors when I have one. Like yellow or orange, they make it worse.”

16. “That moment you are in class trying to focus on the board, but an aura happens. Everything is normal, copying notes, and then blurry double vision, sometimes tunneling vision, stars.”

17. “The ‘hangover’ the day after the migraine… even if I treated it or not, I’m in a fog.”

Some responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

17 'Sneaky' Ways Migraine Affects People
Originally published: February 17, 2017
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