Too Manly for Migraines

describe the imageIn the United States, 37 million people are affected by migraines. Of this number, 3% suffer from chronic migraine attacks, or those which account for at least half of each month spent suffering from migraine pain. Most of the unfortunate victims of this neurological disease are women, however, an astonishing 5-6% of men also experience chronic migraines. 

Before puberty, the number of boys affected by migraines is higher than the number of girls who have them. After puberty, during which the increase in estrogen in females occurs to prepare their bodies for conception and pregnancy, migraines also increase in severity and occurrence for women.

Strong and silent

Men who are stricken by migraines often suffer in silence, afraid of the stigma of speaking out and searching for migraine relief. Many men who experience migraine attacks may not even have a diagnosis of migraines. Much of this is due to the conditioning of males in our society towards the embodiment of the ideal in masculinity, which is strong, in control, and practically infallible.

Males in this society are expected to care for their families regardless to how they may feel at any given time. If he has a cold or muscle strain, he will likely forge ahead and attend work with the pain, rather than call in and visit a doctor or take a rest. If a man were to admit to having the debilitating pain of migraines, he might be viewed as weak or feel as if he is unable to care for his family as the strong provider.

For men with migraines, ignoring this pain and working through it can be nearly impossible. Migraines are considered to be among the top twenty most devastating lifetime conditions. Work absences from migraine sufferers inability to work while experiencing an attack can cost upwards of $13 billion every year. The total annual costs to the United States that can be attributed directly to migraines is $20 billion, a figure which includes the previously mentioned lost wages, doctor costs, and medicines.

Silence can be deadly

There are compelling reasons, besides the pain itself and the fact that migraines cannot be cured, that men who suffer from chronic migraines should seek a diagnosis and treatment. Studies have shown that men who suffer from migraines are at an increased risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. They also seem to be at a higher risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure than those who do not suffer from migraines.

Also, men are more likely to experience certain types of migraine than women. The cluster headache, which occurs suddenly and lasts for up to three hours or so when not treated, can come on during a one to three month period on a regular basis. This type of migraine typically occurs once every one or two years, during the same time of the year and same time of day. Migraines that are triggered by sexual activity also affect men at a rate four times higher than in women. Certain other health conditions or habits can exacerbate these two types, such as smoking or also having high blood pressure.

Strong men are proactive

The manliest of men are able to take control of their lives and health by being proactive in seeking answers for their migraines. Once they are able to determine that the excruciating headaches they suffer from are migraines, they can then work with health care professionals to make treatment plans to help reduce the impact migraines have on their work and personal lives.

With a treatment in place, and the knowledge of how to head off migraine attacks, a man can become the perfect example of masculinity and remain in control, strong, and on top of migraine pain. Take charge of your quality of life and find out as much as you can about your migraines so you don’t have to live a life in hiding from your chronic pain.

The new masculine

If you are suffering from migraines for which you have not yet sought diagnosis and treatment, visit a medical professional today and describe the pain you are experiencing. With your new partner in health, you can forge ahead to a life where your migraines are better controlled and you feel stronger than you have in years. Taking charge will make you feel like a new man.

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Image Credit: gagilas

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