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Can You Have a Migraine Without Aura?

Can You Have a Migraine Without Aura
Migraine without aura is the most common type of migraine

You can have a migraine without an aura. In fact, migraine without aura is the most common type of migraine. Aura refers to a set of symptoms that usually precedes a migraine headache, such as vision changes, dizziness, or weakness.

What are the symptoms of migraine without aura?

A single episode of migraine with or without aura can last between 4-72 hours and goes through several stages. Common symptoms include:

What causes migraine without aura?

Scientists are not sure what exactly causes migraines, but believe that they are caused by a combination of factors:  

  • A wave of nerve cell activity spreads across the brain and excites the trigeminal nerve. This excitement leads to the release of neurotransmitters or brain chemicals, such as serotonin, calcitonin gene-related peptide, and dopamine, that trigger a change in the size of blood vessels, releasing more neurotransmitters and causing an inflammatory process
  • Migraines often run in families, suggesting a genetic component.
  • Changes in estrogen levels, such as during menopause, menstrual cycles, and pregnancy, can lead to migraines for some people.

What are other types of migraine?

  • Migraine with aura: Characterized by temporary focal neurological symptoms (seeing bright spots or zigzags, tinnitus, and dizziness) that usually precede or sometimes accompany the primary symptom, which is a headache.
  • Brainstem migraine: Occurs when the aura starts in the base of the brain (brainstem) and includes symptoms such as vertigo and difficulty hearing or speaking.
  • Hemiplegic migraine: A rare type of migraine in which aura causes weakness on one side of the body (hemiplegia).
  • Retinal migraine: Characterized by temporary loss of vision in one eye that may or may not accompany a headache.
  • Chronic migraine: A highly disabling condition characterized by headaches that occur at least 15 days per month with at least 8 days of headaches with migraine features for over 3 months.

What triggers migraine without aura?

  • Stress
  • Missing or skipping a meal
  • Certain foods (aged cheese, alcohol, chocolate, food additives, and fermented foods)
  • Caffeine (excessive caffeine consumption or caffeine withdrawal)
  • Routine use of pain-relief medications
  • Flashing lights
  • Loud noises
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Overexertion
  • Lack of sleep
  • Perfumes and strong odors
  • Excessive dieting
  • Changes in weather conditions or altitude
  • Hormonal changes


Who suffers more frequently from migraine headaches?
See Answer

How is migraine without aura diagnosed?

After performing a thorough physical examination and analyzing your medical history, your doctor may recommend certain tests to confirm a diagnosis:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: Takes detailed images of the brain.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: Takes images of tissues, organs, and structures inside the body through magnets and radio waves.

What are complications of migraines?

Physical complications

  • Stroke or migrainous infarction (mostly seen in younger women, wherein the blood vessels to the brain get narrowed and the oxygen supply is cut off)
  • Status migrainosus (relentless attack that lasts for more than 3 days)
  • Migraine-triggered seizure
  • Vertigo
  • Insomnia
  • Serotonin syndrome (syndrome caused by overuse of triptans and characterized by agitation, confusion, diarrhea, twitchy muscles, and racing heartbeat)
  • Rebound headaches

Mental complications


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