June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, so we decided to dedicate this blog to debunking some common myths about migraines. It is common to occasionally experience headaches, but for millions people, migraine headaches are a major source of distress in their daily lives. More than 90 percent of frequent migraine sufferers cannot function normally during an episode. More than half of those people cannot function at all, and often need bedrest. Given how debilitating migraines can be, it is important to have a full understanding of this painful condition. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there that prevents people from fully comprehending the reality of migraines.

MYTH: A migraine is just a severe headache.

Actually, migraines are a condition all on their own. Migraines are characterized by more than just head pain. Other symptoms of migraines can include dizziness, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, blurred vision, nausea, and vomiting. Additionally, migraines can last for days at a time. Migraines are also different than headaches because they are correlated with blood vessel inflammation, while headaches may be caused by the narrowing of blood vessels.

MYTH: Only women get migraines.

It is estimated that six percent of adult men are affected by migraines, and children of all genders are equally affected. While more women experience migraines (18 percent), it is certainly not strictly a female issue.

MYTH: Painkillers will cure migraines.

While painkillers may help ease the pain symptoms of migraines, there are many other symptoms that will not be helped by them. In fact, some migraine sufferers experience negative side effects to painkillers that make things even worse. Most migraine sufferers require a combination of different medications to alleviate all of the symptoms associated with migraines.

MYTH: Only people with mental health conditions get migraines.

While migraines, anxiety, and depression are often comorbid, there is no empirical research to suggest that one causes the other. Many people with mental health conditions do not get migraines, and many people with migraines do not have mental illnesses.

MYTH: Migraine sufferers get migraines because of their diets.

While many migraine sufferers are sensitive to specific foods, such as chocolate, cheese, or processed foods, it is tyramine, a natural compound common in these foods, that actually triggers migraines. Additionally, many migraine sufferers are not triggered by foods at all.

MYTH: Caffeine can relieve migraines.

In fact, caffeine sometimes triggers migraines in some people. As a stimulant, one can develop a dependency on caffeine, particularly in consumed in large quantities. This dependency can have an effect on your migraine experience. For some people who very rarely consume caffeine, it may be helpful during a mild migraine, but otherwise, it may be a trigger.

Now that you are aware of the truth about migraines, you are better informed should you experience migraines. If you do suffer from migraines, our men’s health clinic can help. Contact Men’s Vitality Center in Glendale for more information about what we can do for you.