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Serene Branson Migraine: Your Questions Answered

Neurologist Richard B. Lipton, MD, answers questions about CBS reporter’s atypical migraine.

Are migraines and pregnancy related? Migraines and menstruation?

"Migraine generally gets worse in the first trimester of pregnancy and better in the second two trimesters," Lipton says.

Lipton says menstrual periods are a "powerful" migraine trigger in many women. "Headache risk goes up from two days before bleeding starts until three days after bleeding starts in many women," he says. That may be due to a drop in estrogen levels.

Is a migraine a type of seizure?

“No,” Lipton says.

Migraine and epilepsy have some things in common. They're both neurologic disorders marked by "episodic attacks of brain dysfunction," Lipton says.

But migraines are about activation of pain pathways; seizures are about abnormal electrical activity from nerves.

Seizures and migraines do have “overlapping genetic risk factors and overlapping treatments and may occur in the same person,” Lipton says, “but they are distinct disorders.”

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