Why Migraines May be Worse in the Summer

A headache specialist explains why some people may experience worse migraines during the summer months.

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CLEVELAND – If you suffer from migraines or know someone who does, you may have noticed that they seem to get worse during the summer time.

So, why is that?

“Weather is a very important factor and element when it comes to migraine occurrence,” explained Emad Estemalik, MD, headache specialist for Cleveland Clinic. “Especially around seasonal changes. So as we’re going from winter, into spring, into summer, you have significant barometric pressure change.”

For those unfamiliar, barometric pressure is the measurement of air pressure in the atmosphere and changes based on temperature, altitude and moisture.

And as those conditions shift, for example in a thunderstorm, it can impact a person’s sinuses and cause a migraine.

Migraines are considered much more painful than a typical headache and can lead to other symptoms like nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light.

Dr. Estemalik said they offer various treatment options, which can include medications, therapy, Botox, and also dietary and other lifestyle changes.

He said he understands how distressing migraines can be and emphasizes that a person doesn’t need to suffer in silence.

“The ones who really are prone to migraines tend to have it the worse, just because again, when you get a bad one or a severe migraine and it’s not managed quickly, you’re really in a lot of discomfort and pain between four and 72 hours,” he said. “And you’ve got the typical nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity, so it is really disabling.”

Experts estimate that nearly half of the adult population experiences headaches and 12% of Americans get migraines. Women are about three times more likely than men to experience migraines.

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