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Ill and struggling with migraines

(6 Posts)
Mitsouko Thu 08-Sep-11 20:42:26

I'm 11 weeks and really not coping well...due mostly to migraines.

The constant nausea, exhaustion, constipation and bloating I can deal with - but the migraines are killer. I've suffered from them for about 15 years following a car accident where I had neck and shoulder injuries. Usually I get 1 or 2 a month, and they're treatable with sumatriptan. Regular painkillers, even strong ones, have no effect.

I've been getting them now 3-5 days out of the week for the past 4 weeks. Blinding pain, seeing spots and weird lights everywhere, vomiting constantly. Completely incapacitated when ill. Work's getting fed up with me and I may be facing trouble with that soon. I was signed off a month from complications with a MC last year, not not qualifying for any paid sick leave. Trying so hard not to stress as I know that can't be good for headaches, but it's easier said than done when I'm struggling financially and in danger of losing my job at a vulnerable time.

Have spoken to GP and midwife, and there's not much that can be done. Have been advised to rest (which I'm doing) and take paracetemol (no point to that though as it's ineffective).

Sorry, just had to vent. Has anyone else experienced this and does it get better? Midwife said it might ease off round 16 weeks.

PiggyMad Thu 08-Sep-11 22:17:48

Sending sympathy your way sad
I've had migraines before - associated with hormones - but as of yet I haven't had any in pregnancy (9 weeks - touch wood). I've had regular headaches and they are nasty enough so really feel for you having to cope without your meds.

Just to reassure you - I'm pretty sure that your work can't consider pregnancy-related time off sick as a disciplinary issue. Some people are signed off for the whole of their pregnancy and if you need time off then certainly don't feel guilty.

Things you've probably tried anyway, but the only things I can think of to suggest:
- are you drinking enough water/ getting enough sleep/ blood sugar levels stable?
- Have you tried Tiger Balm or even the forehead-cooling strips?

Oeisha Fri 09-Sep-11 12:47:28

Migraines are a bastard. You have my empathy. Luckily only had 3 whilst pg (21wks now).
Ask to see your neurologist. I think they can sanction triptans (I'd suggest the suppository or nasal sprays as you're puking) during pregnancy, though it sounds like with the frequency you're getting, they may not want you to take them every time, to prevent rebound). I've heard of other pg women being allowed a low dose.
They also may want to put you on beta-blockers to help control it, though I had to have such a high dose (140mg a day at one point) I HAD to come off them before getting pg (I was on a propranolol and citalopram as prevantatives).
You could try contacting Migraine Clinic Lindon and see if they have any advice, or Migraine Action.
I was told I could have opiate based meds if migraines got any worse during pg. Alas, I'm allergic to triptrans, so was not personally told about them, and had to cope wiht opiates...

You sould be entitled to sick pay - 6mth full, 6mth half pay. If your employers are kicking off, tell them you're asking for a neurologist referal and talk to the CAB about your rights. They CAN assess you as not fit to work, ultimatly, but as long as you can attribute the migraines to pregnancy, I'd assume this isn't a possible outcome, as when not pg they're not like this. They also cannot link the 2 periods of illness. Different incidents, different symptoms at a guess!

Again, you probably know all the tips, but:
Keep hydrated - consciously drink more than you normally would. Always drink a glass of water after vommiting...
Eat regularly, inc. a pre-sleep snack - even if you are just gonna puke it up again 30mins later.
Keep cool - expecially at night. I use the cooling strips/ice packs etc on my head/neck when at home.
Lock yourself in the dark for AT LEAST 90mins at onset. Theory being your visual cortex is disturbed, giving it a decent stretch in the dark allows the cortex to re-set.

But please, go back to your GP and get a referral to a neuro. Having them on side's going to help you loads.

Good luck! xxx

Davidsmom Fri 09-Sep-11 23:34:04


Sorry you are having a tough time of it with migraines. Oeisha's advice is spot on but just wanted to say that i used to get migraine frequently and before pregnancy was on preventative medication at times.

Have had 2 pregnancies and both times I had a pretty bad time with migraines around 10-12 weeks. After this things seemed to settle down.

have been told that this is around the time there are some hormonal changes that can make some people more susceptible but afraid i never looked that much into it at the time as computers/internet wasnt an option!

Actually apart from those times I had far fewer migraines than usual when pregnant- just 9 months worth squeeezed into a few weeks??!!

Hope things improve and do see your GP

Tyr Fri 09-Sep-11 23:39:46

Both my mother and I suffered from dreadful migraines for years. My sight would go during the worst ones and Sumatripan only partially helped.
We both got rid of them by taking a herbal remedy called feverfew. You take it daily for a while and the migraines stop- at least they did for both of us.
It's readily available but check there are no contra-indications for pregnant women.

Mitsouko Mon 12-Sep-11 16:37:21

Hi again, thanks for the replies...apologies for the delay in getting back to the thread but have had more migraines and have to stay off the computer when ill.

I've not been signed off, and don't know how effective it would be as the attacks are so unpredictable. I may be ill on a Monday and Tuesday, better Wednesday through Friday, and ill again at the weekend. I'm trying to do as many days as possible in order to hang onto my job and get paid. I don't think they're going to actually treat it as a disciplinary issue, it's just a lot of griping and complaining at the moment as I'm only managing a few days in each week. I'm in a middle management position, so colleagues are really getting fed up with looking after my responsibilities and making sure deadlines are met when I'm ill.

I'll definitely ask for a referral to a neurologist at the next GP visit.

I've not had any luck with tiger balm / cooling strips, but sometimes an ice pack takes the edge off a bit. Opiates don't really help me that much...once they wear off the pain comes back worse, and they make the vomiting worse as well.

I'm seeing a medicinal herbalist with 25 years experience at the moment, and she gives me a prescription each month. Unfrtunately she can't use feverfew as it's contraindicated ( a blood thinner I think) but is focusing on trying to improve liver function to more productively eliminate buildup of pregnancy hormones, which may be contributing to the severity and frequency of the attacks.

Thanks for listening again, and all the advice, it's much appreciated.

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