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What is the cause for headache with nausea?

Q: My sister is 50 years old. She gets headache, vomiting, chills and burning eyes every month. Due to this, she is bedridden for three days and also has a dry cough. She seems to be getting this almost every weekend. Doctors are not sure about the cause. Does she need to go to a special doctor, if yes, which one? She misses work every month for three days at a stretch. This has been going on for over five years.

A:The symptoms you describe are that of Migraine. I am not sure why she gets the headaches on weekends unless she is more stressed during the weekends since stress can precipitate migraines. Migraines are characterized (in most instances) by a feeling of not being well, flashes of light, heightened sense of smell to name just a few symptoms. These are referred to as an aura. Soon after the aura the patient develops a headache usually on one side of the head. It is throbbing in nature and is worsened by sound and bright lights so patients usually like to lie in a dark, quiet room. Nausea and vomiting are common. After the headache some patients feel fatigued and not quite themselves for several hours. The acute attacks can be treated by a variety of drugs including triptans which are extremely effective. If the patient is getting recurrent attacks as is your sister than prophylactic medications should be used to prevent the acute attacks. Different medications are available for this purpose. Your sisters physician can help determine what is best Please note that chills do not occur with migraine. Clearly your sister needs to be thoroughly evaluated preferably by a Neurologist


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