A migraine is a type of a headache that is marked by certain physiological changes in the brain, causing moderate to severe pain, often described as a throbbing or pounding. It is usually accompanied by other symptoms including sensitivity to light, sound and smell; nausea; vomiting; and experiencing an aura (visual disturbance). In many cases, a person may experience pain only on one side of the head. A migraine can last anywhere from a few hours up to a few days.
Approximately 15% of the population is affected by migraines. Since one of the triggers is hormonal changes, many adolescents will experience migraines during puberty. Other triggers include stress, strong stimuli, and certain foods.
Migraines can usually be treated with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and paracetamol. When they are recurring and severe, a doctor might prescribe a pain-relief drug such as triptans (a class of drugs). Other ways to manage migraines include lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and exercise and avoidance of stimuli.