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What is a migraine prodrome?

Dawn Marcus
Neurology
The first phase of migraine, the prodrome, occurs in about one in three migraine sufferers. Although some people talk about the prodrome being distinct from and occurring before a migraine, many experts believe the prodrome is actually the first phase of an entire migraine episode. If you consistently experience prodrome symptoms before your headache phase, you can use this information to begin treating your migraine earlier. In some cases, treating the prodrome prevents the headache phase from developing.

The prodrome typically begins about 12 - 24 hours before the headache phase. Some people have prodrome symptoms that last for 2 days before the headache phase. During this phase, you may experience a variety of non-specific symptoms:
  • Changes in mood - irritability, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression
  • Digestive symptoms - food cravings (often carbohydrates and chocolate), diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite
  • Neck pain
  • Neurologic symptoms - difficulty concentrating, dizziness, blurred vision, sensitivity to noises or lights
  • Excessive yawning
  • Frequent urination
The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

Migraines are a common, controllable type of headache that affects one in every six women, more than 20 million in the United States alone. The Woman’s Migraine Toolkit helps readers take charge of...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.