A migraine without aura is more than just a headache. The pain alone is enough to stop you from carrying on your daily activities. And then there's the nausea, maybe vomiting, and more. What makes this headache a migraine? What does it mean to have a migraine without aura? How is this different from other headaches or other migraines? Most important, what can you do to make the migraine go away?
Here is information you can use to manage migraines without auras. Find out about their symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention.
About 1 out of 8 Americans has migraines. They usually begin during the teenage years. After puberty, migraines are more likely to affect girls and women.
Experts still aren't sure what causes these headaches. But they seem to involve a wave of unusual activity in brain nerve cells, along with changes in blood flow in the brain.
Though migraines can trigger severe pain in the head, they aren't simply headaches. They often also cause other uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
"Migraine without aura" is a relatively new name for the most common type of migraine headache. Another name you might hear is common migraine. These migraines don't have an aura. Aura is the name for early unusual symptoms some people notice shortly before a migraine starts.
Scientists aren't sure what causes migraines, including migraines without aura. It's thought that at least two brain chemicals -- serotonin and dopamine -- play a role. The theory is something goes awry in the way these chemicals regulate brain function. This causes the brain and the body's immune system to overreact. When that happens, a flood of immune response cells flows through the blood vessels to the brain. The brain's blood vessels open wider to accommodate these cells. Then even more chemicals are released to help control the vessels' muscles. The vessels open and constrict. A severe, sometimes throbbing headache results.
Factors suspected of causing migraines include genetics and being overweight. Substances, behaviors, and environment may also trigger migraines. It is known that migraines often run in families. They frequently begin in childhood and worsen through adolescence. Although more boys than girls have migraines, more adult women than adult men have migraines. Over time, the number of migraines lessens. Migraines become rare after age 50.
Whatever the cause, the good news is that -- although painful -- a migraine without aura is not life threatening.