Migraine is a condition that primarily affects women. About three times as many women as men get migraines. However, that means that one in four migraine sufferers is men. However, men (and their doctors) may not consider that they have migraines because of the gender disparity.
Here are some signs that you might have migraines.
Headaches Are Severe
One of the most important indicators that you might have migraines is the severity of the pain. Migraines are moderate to severe, compared to tension headaches which are mild to moderate. Pain is obviously subjective, but moderate pain makes it very hard to work or do other tasks, while severe pain is essentially disabling. You can’t do anything but try to deal with the pain. Severe pain keeps you from sleeping or wakes you up.
Migraine headaches also occur on one side of the head and get worse with exercise or other forms of exertion.
Headaches Are Long-Lasting
Another trait of migraines is that they can last for a long time. Migraine headaches typically last 4-72 hours–up to three days! Headache pain that lasts for more than 24 hours is a good sign that you may have migraines.
Headaches Come with Other Symptoms
Another clue that you have migraines is that you experience other symptoms along with the headache pain, such as nausea or sensitivity to light, sounds, or smells. Migraines also go through phases, so that you’ll notice a prodrome in which you experience low energy or moodiness before the pain starts, and have a postdrome, where you feel exhausted and drained after the headache stops.
You Have Risk Factors for Migraines
Some men are at higher risk for migraines than others. About 70-80% of migraine sufferers have a family history of the condition. So if someone in your family gets migraines, you are more likely to have them, too. Migraines have also been linked to estrogen (which is why women suffer them more frequently), so men might be at higher risk if they have elevated estrogen levels (possibly related to medications) or have lower testosterone levels.
Men Also Get TMJ
Many people with migraines find that their headaches are linked to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Like migraines, TMJ is a condition that is overwhelmingly diagnosed in women. But men can also get TMJ, which can trigger migraines and make them unresponsive to treatment. If you have jaw symptoms, ear symptoms, or tooth damage in addition to migraines, you might have TMJ and should talk to a dentist about the problem.
We can treat migraines or TMJ with a variety of approaches, including BOTOX ® injections for migraines.