Men and Migraine
As many of our male members know, migraines do occur in men. Though they are more common in women, an estimated 9% of men are regular sufferers. There is a common perception that migraines are a female only condition which can also cause men to avoid seeking medical support and dismiss this debilitating neurological condition as just a headache.
Teenage Hormonal Fluctuations
While hormonal fluctuations play a larger role in triggering women’s migraines throughout their lives, hormonal changes in teenage boys up to and including age 18 can mark a period of intense migraine attacks. The effect of the migraine attacks themselves and the fear of an attack occurring in school means that many teenage boys with migraine miss more school than their peers. This difficult situation occurs at a period in their lives when they are facing into important State Examinations and a period of stressful social and familial relationships. Healthy diets, re-hydration, regular sleep patterns and low impact exercise can also help reduce the frequency of attacks. Understanding support from teachers and parents can go a long way to providing support to teenage boys experiencing migraines. The Migraine Association of Ireland can arrange for an information pack to be sent to your son’s school and attending one of our seminars can be particularly helpful. There are also State Examination Support systems for people who suffer from migraines and other conditions. The school can provide extra breaks, allow students to rest and take medication or allow them extra time to complete the exam if they suffer an attack. Some students find just having the support of the Reasonable Accommodation Scheme can reduce stress and prevent attacks during exams. Find out more here.
Exercise induced migraines
High impact sports and prolonged periods of exertion often trigger migraines in men. Re hydration and regular eating before matches or tournaments can help prevent attacks and if possible avoid exercise in high heat and humidity. Many men find the gym a triggering environment for migraines so switch up your exercise routine to an outside class and if you feel a migraine coming, take the easy option of a walk that day and avoid worsening the condition with exercise. Talk to your sports coach or trainer and explain the situation so they allow you to take a break when needed. The Migraine Association can visit your sports club or gym to provide an information session on migraine so coaches and staff understand the condition. Don’t give up exercise though as it is important in the long term prevention of migraines, just find a form of exercise that works for you.
Stress and anxiety
Stress is a common trigger for migraines among men and women. Women though are traditionally better at seeking help with stress and anxiety and they sign up to stress reduction classes, such as yoga or mediation, more readily than men. It’s important to recognise that stress as a trigger for migraine is a medically proven trigger and not some “excuse” or unfounded cause. In 2017 researchers form the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston wanted to see whether they could design a way to more accurately predict when a migraine would strike. The study found that, stress was more likely to be greater in the days leading up to a headache and the results point to stress as a trigger for many migraine sufferers. More and more men are taking part in yoga and meditation classes so sign up for one of these or take time to visit a counsellor who specialises in stress reduction techniques. It will have a positive affect across all aspects of your life.
Take a supplement: if you are eating a healthy diet and still experiencing regular migraines then consider taking a supplement. Magnesium plays a major role in the effective functioning of the body’s neurological system. Taking 400 -500 mg of magnesium a day is used by many people as a effective preventative for migraines. Other supplements include Riboflavin or Co Enzyme Q10 can also act as a preventative treatment but talk to your GP or pharmacist first, especially if you are suffering from other underlying conditions.
Alcohol and certain types of alcohol can have a a triggering effect for some people. White wines, stouts and spirits seem to have a less triggering effect than red wines and beers. But it is often the regularity and amount of drink that is consumed that is contributing to an unhealthy lifestyle and triggering migraines, so consider reducing the amount of alcohol to start with and then consider changing your tipple of choice. If you would like to find out more about which red wines are more triggering for migraine sufferers, this article gives some good advice – Red Wine is there a safe option?