What is a hemiplegic migraine?

Debra Fulghum Bruce PhD
Healthcare Specialist

More than 60 percent of women who suffer with migraine headaches relate this to their menstrual cycle, affirming the link between female hormonal changes and migraine headaches. Interestingly, many women get their first migraine headache at the same time as menarche, and most notice that a migraine attack occurs around their menstrual period. Some migraines occur a few days before, during, or immediately after a women’s menstrual period, while others occur at mid-cycle during ovulation. 

Dr. Dawn Marcus

Migraines used to be referred to as vascular headaches because scientists believed the entire process was primarily related to blood vessel changes. Over time - as more pieces of the migraine puzzle were discovered - the blood vessel theory was replaced by the neurovascular model. (Neuro means nerve and vascular means blood vessels.) The current theory of migraine recognizes the important interactions between nerves and blood vessels, which eventually result in the symptoms experienced as a migraine.

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...

A menstrual migraine is a migraine headache that is related to the timing of a woman's menstrual cycle. It is believed that the decrease in estrogen may trigger migraines. The best way to determine if your migraines are related to your menstrual cycle and hormonal changes is to keep a migraine diary. You can share this information with your healthcare provider, who can help you with treatment options.


Migraines are considered chronic if you've had them on 15 or more days out of 30. In this video, Adel Olshansky, MD, a neurologist at West Hills Hospital, says that untreated migraines can increase in frequency and severity.

Teri Robert
Pain Medicine Specialist

A silent Migraine is a Migraine that skips the headache phase of the Migraine attack. In other words, it's a Migraine attack with other Migraine symptoms, but no headache.

Women who use acute pain-relief medicine more than two or three times a week or more than 10 days out of the month can set off a cycle called rebound. As each dose of medicine wears off, the pain comes back, leading the patient to take even more. This overuse causes your medicine to stop helping your pain and actually start causing headaches. Rebound headaches can occur with both over-the-counter and prescription pain-relief medicines. They can also occur whether you take them for headache or for another type of pain. Talk to your doctor if you're caught in a rebound cycle.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

This kind of migraine can produce different symptoms from a standard migraine. Mark Green, MD, director of the Center for Headache and Pain Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, talks about how hemiplegic migraines are diagnosed.

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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.