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Tuesday, 27 July, 1999, 23:40 GMT 00:40 UK
Migraine wrecks sex for millions
Migraine misery is robbing millions of a normal life
Migraine misery is robbing millions of a normal life
The agony of migraine headaches disrupts the sex lives of millions of people in the UK, according to a major survey.

Almost 20,000 migraine sufferers responded to researchers' questions about the effect the condition was having on their lives.

The first analysis shows that 58% found that migraines prevented them from maintaining a sexual relationship.

One in 10 of the adult population is thought to suffer from migraine attacks.

The attacks stop four in 10 sufferers from going to work, and three in 10 from looking after their families.

The symptoms of migraine are more than simply a very severe headache for most people with the condition.

Nausea and vomiting

Three quarters found the throbbing headache was accompanied by sensitivity to light, and nausea or vomiting.

No-one is sure of the origin of migraine attacks
No-one is sure of the origin of migraine attacks
Although the mechanisms of migraine are not clearly understood, it is known that people have various triggers which bring on an attack.

The top three reported by the survey sample were lack of sleep, menstrual causes and certain foods.

On average, those surveyed reported an attack at least once a month - these attacks can last more than two days in some cases. Women suffer more than men - outnumbering them by nearly two to one nationally.

Dr Sue Lipscombe, a Brighton GP, who suffers from migraines herself, said that people have a "fatalistic view" of the condition, believing that they cannot be helped by medical treatment, despite the fact that effective migraine therapies do exist.

'Visit your doctor'

She said: "Patients must be encouraged to discuss their migraine with their doctor as it is often under-diagnosed.

"New migraine-specific therapies can help them to manage this debilitating condition and regain control of their daily lives."

One in four who responded to the survey said that they had not consulted a doctor about their condition - about 17% because they felt the doctor would not treat it seriously.

And the survey reveals that sufferers do not get a shoulder to cry on from their partners - fewer than four in 10 found their partners sympathetic to their plight.

Dr Andy Dowson, director of the King's College Headache Service, who helped carry out the survey, said: "Despite advances in migraine medicines, only one in four patients in this large study was totally satisfied with any treatment that they had tried."

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01 Jan 99 | Health
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