Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.


Migraine: Introduction

A migraine is a specific type of headache that is severe, persistent and often occurs in conjunction with a wide variety of symptoms. Migraines can be so severe that they can be disabling in many cases, leading to serious disruption of work, school, relationships, and social activities.

Migraines are the result of a constriction of the arteries in the brain, which reduces blood flow to the brain. This is followed by dilation or widening of these arteries. This process results in the classic symptoms of migraine that include sensory disturbances and headache. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of migraine.

Migraines are often, but not always, triggered by one or more specific substances or situations. These can vary greatly from person to person. Common triggers include chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, red wine, and aged cheese, sausages and other aged foods. Certain food additives, such as monosodium glutamate, nitrates and nitrites can also elicit a migraine. Other common triggers include allergies, emotional stress, bright lights, fluorescent lights, high altitudes, extreme exertion, and extreme changes in weather. In some women hormonal changes due to the menstrual cycle can trigger migraines. Migraines are more common in women than in men.

Making a diagnosis of migraine includes performing a complete evaluation that includes a medical history, including symptoms, and physical examination. This includes a neurological examination. A neurological exam evaluates the brain and nerves and such functions as level of consciousness, reflexes, sensation, movement, balance, coordination, vision, and hearing. This can help to differentiate between a migraine and other neurological conditions, such as stroke. A referral to a neurologist, a specialist in treating neurological conditions, is generally made for definitive diagnosis and treatment of migraine.

Because many people with migraines have visual disturbances, an eye examination is performed to rule-out such eye conditions as detached retina. An eye examination includes testing visual acuity or sharpness of vision, checking the sharpness of peripheral vision, and testing the pressure inside the eye. The outer eye is examined using an instrument called a slit lamp, and the inner eye is examined using an instrument called an ophthalmoscope. During the exam with an ophthalmoscope, the pupils of the eye may be dilated (opened up) with a drop of medication to better visualize any changes in the retina.

The diagnostic process also involves keeping a migraine log or diary to record the timing, symptoms, and the types of situations that occurred or substances that were ingested before the migraine occurred. This can help to diagnose triggers and assist in making lifestyle changes that can minimize migraine headaches. The type of treatment and its results are also recorded to help pinpoint the most effective treatment for an individual.

It is possible that a diagnosis of migraine can be missed or delayed because symptoms can be similar to symptoms of other conditions and diseases, such as stroke and transient ischemia attack. For more information on diseases and conditions that can mimic migraine, refer to misdiagnosis of migraine.

Patient compliance with a good treatment plan can control symptoms of migraine to a degree that allows a person to live a normal active life. Treatment plans include medications and avoiding substances and situations that can trigger a migraine. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of migraine....more »

Migraine: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of migraine may be overlooked or delayed because symptoms may not occur very often. In addition, some symptoms, such as visual disturbances, numbness, dizziness, and headache can mimic symptoms of other conditions, such as a stroke, transient ischemia attack, psychosis, retinal detachment, cluster headaches, tension headache, brain tumor, subdural hemorrhage, and ...more misdiagnosis »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Migraine

Home medical tests possibly related to Migraine:

Causes of Types of Migraine:

Review causes of more specific types of Migraine:

Migraine: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Migraine, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

Migraine Treatments

The most effective treatment plan for migraine uses a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans are also individualized to best address the specific triggers and severity of the migraine, the patient's age, medical history, and other factors.

Treatment of migraine begins with prevention. This includes diagnosing and avoiding the underlying triggers of a migraine, such as eating aged cheese or ...Migraine Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Migraine may include:

Review further information on Migraine Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Migraine

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Migraine may include:

Migraine: Animations

Medications or substances causing Migraine:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Migraine as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Drug interactions causing Migraine:

When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Migraine as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

  • Propranolol and Ergotamine interaction
  • Birth Control Pill and Vitamin C interaction
  • Sumatriptan and St. John's Wort interaction
  • Imitrex and St. John's Wort interaction
  • Imitrex Nasal Spray and St. John's Wort interaction
  • Sumatriptan and Ma Huang interaction
  • Imitrex and Ma Huang interaction
  • more interactions...»

Migraine: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Migraine may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Migraine

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Migraine:

Migraine: Deaths

Read more about causes and Migraine deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Migraine

Migraine an undiagnosed cause of headache: It is surprising that many migraine sufferers are not initially diagnosed. Although the condition is fairly well known, there are also more »

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, there are also various other causes. See causes of leg more »

Mild traumatic brain injury often remains undiagnosed: Although the symptoms of severe brain injury are hard to miss, it is less clear for milder injuries, or even those causing a mild concussion more »

MTBI misdiagnosed as balance problem: When a person has symptoms such as vertigo or dizziness, a diagnosis of brain injury may go overlooked. This is particularly true of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), for which the symptoms are typically mild. more »

Post-concussive brain injury often misdiagnosed: A study found that soldiers who had suffered a concussive injury in battle often were misdiagnosed more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the more »

Pituitary conditions often undiagnosed cause of symptoms: There are a variety of symptoms that can be caused by a pituitary disorder (see symptoms of pituitary disorders). For example, fatigue, headache, weight gain, diabetes-like symptoms, more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms more »

Migraine: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Migraine: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Migraine: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Article Excerpts about Migraine

The most common type of vascular headache is migraine. Migraine headaches are usually characterized by severe pain on one or both sides of the head, an upset stomach, and at times disturbed vision. (Source: excerpt from Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS)

The most common type of vascular headache is migraine. Migraine ... (Source: excerpt from Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS)

Definitions of Migraine:

A subtype of vascular headaches characterized by periodic unilateral pulsatile headaches which begin in childhood, adolescence, or early adult life and recur with diminishing frequency during advancing years. The two major subtypes are CLASSIC MIGRAINE (i.e., migraine with aura) and COMMON MIGRAINE (i.e., migraine without aura). Migrainous episodes may be associated with alterations in cerebral blood flow. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p172)
- (Source - Diseases Database)

A severe recurring vascular headache; occurs more frequently in women than men
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Neural condition characterized by a severe recurrent vascular headache, usually on one side of the head, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and photophobia, sometimes preceded by sensory disturbances; triggers include allergic reactions, excess carbohydrates or iodine in the diet, alcohol, bright lights or loud noises.
- (Source - CRISP)

Detailed list of causes of Migraine

The list below shows some of the causes of Migraine mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Migraine?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Migraine. Of the 37 causes of Migraine that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 0 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 1 causes are "common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 0 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 36 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Migraine:

The following list of conditions have 'Migraine' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Migraine or choose View All.

View All A C E F H I M N P S










Conditions listing medical complications: Migraine:

The following list of medical conditions have Migraine or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.



Join in at the forums

Ask or answer a question about symptoms or diseases at one of our free interactive user forums.

Medical story forums: If you have a medical story then we want to hear it.

See a list of all the medical forums

Classifications of Migraine:

Medical Conditions associated with Migraine:

Headache (2433 causes), Pain (6458 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes), Pain symptoms (6458 causes), Sensory symptoms (7134 causes), Neurological symptoms (9575 causes), Sensations (6520 causes), Brain symptoms (2787 causes), Nerve symptoms (9132 causes), Common symptoms (8589 causes), Body symptoms (5672 causes)

Symptoms related to Migraine:

Headache (2433 causes), Head pain (182 causes), Aura symptoms, Nausea (2564 causes), Vomiting (2819 causes), Photophobia (351 causes), Phonophobia, Homonymous hemianopia (5 causes), Dysphasia (29 causes), Basilar type migraine, Menstrual cycles, Familial migraine, Tinnitus (203 causes), Dysarthria (179 causes), Vertigo (169 causes), flickering lights, acephalic migraine

Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

These general medical articles may be of interest:

Medical News summaries about Migraine

Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Migraine and many other medical conditions:

Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Migraine:

More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise