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Celebrities Battling Migraines: Navigating Symptoms and Solutions

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by Kristina De La Torre

Migraine, the third most prevalent illness globally according to the Migraine Research Foundation, affects numerous celebrities, yet only a few openly discuss their struggles. What's intriguing is the prevalence of over-the-counter medication use among them. 

Many individuals, celebrities included, may not truly comprehend the complexity of this condition, leading to a sense of invalidation for migraine sufferers. Moreover, conventional medical approaches often fall short in providing effective relief, with doctors prescribing seizure or antidepressant medications that fail to address the root cause. Even over-the-counter medicines offer little respite from the pain, leaving sufferers without long-term solutions. This lack of adequate treatment options further perpetuates the stigma surrounding migraines, with many individuals hesitant to seek medical attention due to misconceptions labeling migraines as a "mental condition."

Despite these challenges, some celebrities courageously share their migraine journeys, shedding light on the impact of this condition on their lives. Delve into the stories of celebrities like Lady Gaga and their reliance on medications like Nurtec, while exploring holistic relief options and natural migraine treatments at Health by Principle.

 

Celebrities Who Have Shared Their Migraine Journeys:

  1. Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga has drawn a mixed response online after teaming up with the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to promote a migraine drug. She has openly discussed her battle with migraines, acknowledging how they have affected her life and performance. The truth is that the frequency and intensity of her migraines have increased over time, impacting her ability to function effectively. However, her partnership with Nurtec ODT (rimpegepant) has sparked controversy due to concerns about the drug's potential side effects and long-term consequences.

  2. Khloe Kardashian:

    Fans of the TV series Keeping Up With the Kardashians have witnessed Khloe Kardashian’s experience with grueling, intensely painful migraine attacks that make her sensitive to light and nauseated to the point of vomiting. She recently became a spokesperson for the migraine medication Nurtec ODT (rimegepant). Kardashian's journey with migraines began in her adolescence, with symptoms often dismissed by family members. 

  3. Whoopi Goldberg:

    The comedian, actor, and television personality Whoopi Goldberg lived with migraine for much of her life without finding effective treatment. Goldberg has migraine with aura, and she says she knows a migraine attack is starting when she sees what she describes as a strip of aluminum foil, or a spinning silver wind-chime-like object, in her peripheral vision. Despite her early struggles with over-the-counter remedies and alternative therapies, Goldberg's experience changed when she learned about new migraine treatments like Nurtec ODT (rimegepant).


    Why we wouldn’t recommend Nurtec:

Nurtec ODT (rimegepant) may cause serious side effects, including allergic reactions such as trouble breathing and rash, which can occur days after taking the medication. In such cases, immediate medical attention is necessary. Additionally, common side effects like nausea and stomach pain/indigestion are reported in a significant percentage of users.

Moreover, Nurtec is a Calcitonin Gene Related Peptide Inhibitor (CGRP inhibitor), which blocks pain sensors associated with the brain. The Stanton Migraine Protocol suggests that this approach may not address the underlying cause of migraines and can lead to potential complications.

Its efficacy is not guaranteed and it comes with a range of side effects. Of particular concern is its impact on CGRP receptors throughout the body, including the cardiovascular system, which can lead to severe hypertension. In the US, these drugs, especially the injection forms, are often administered with medications for hypertension and corticosteroids to mitigate potential risks.

 

  1. Serena Williams:

    Tennis powerhouse Serena Williams has dealt with migraine attacks throughout her career, and she hid the condition for years. Williams' openness about her struggles with migraines and her partnership with Ubrelvy shed light on the impact of migraines on athletic performance and daily life. By sharing her story, Williams encourages others to seek proper diagnosis and treatment for migraines.

    Williams is among the many migraineurs who experience light sensitivity at the onset of an attack.

    She revealed to Newsweek magazine in 2005 that her migraine attacks are triggered by her menstrual cycle.

    Read more about hormones and their connection to migraine.

Why we wouldn’t recommend Ubrelvy:

While Ubrelvy boasts a shorter half-life of approximately 7-8 hours, it still operates by blocking CGRP receptors throughout the body.

As mentioned above, CGRP receptors are not limited to the brain but are also utilized by vital organs, including the heart and cardiovascular system, to regulate blood pressure. Blocking these receptors can disrupt this crucial regulatory mechanism, leading to potential complications. Individuals may experience hypertension and cardiovascular issues as a result of using CGRP receptor blockers like Ubrelvy.

In fact, there have been reported cases of individuals experiencing permanent damage after a single use of Ubrelvy. One member shared their experience with Health by Principle, highlighting how they developed hypertension and subsequently required treatment with an ACE inhibitor, a heart medication. Unfortunately, it remains uncertain whether this damage can be reversed.

  1. Actress Marcia Cross:

    She was diagnosed with migraine with aura and endured debilitating attacks since adolescence. Despite collapsing on set and requiring emergency room visits, Cross persevered and even became a spokesperson for the migraine medication Imitrex.

Why we wouldn’t recommend Imitrex:

Imitrex, available in oral tablets, nasal spray, and injection forms, is primarily intended to alleviate migraine headaches in adults. However, it's essential to note that Imitrex merely treats the headache symptoms and does not prevent future headaches or reduce their frequency.

Moreover, individuals with specific medical conditions should avoid using Imitrex. Those with uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart problems, certain heart rhythm disorders, a history of heart attack or stroke, or circulation issues that cause a lack of blood supply within the body should refrain from using this medication. Additionally, individuals who have recently used MAO inhibitors should not take Imitrex due to potential interactions that could result in serious health complications.

  1. Terrell Davis:

    Denver Bronco Terrell Davis was temporarily sidelined during the 1998 Super Bowl by migraine, noting he was seeing double and triple. He remained silent about his migraine condition for years because he “thought people would think I was crazy.” Davis' journey with migraines highlights the importance of advocating for oneself and seeking appropriate medical care. Despite the challenges he faced, Davis ultimately found a treatment regimen that worked for him, emphasizing a healthy diet among other things.

  2. Ben Affleck:

    His struggle with chronic migraines came to light when he was rushed to the hospital while directing “Gone, Baby, Gone.” Despite online criticism for his apparent lethargy during his 2022 honeymoon with Jennifer Lopez, Affleck's exhaustion was attributed to his migraine condition, as reported by WebMD.

  3. Kristin Chenoweth:

    The renowned singer, actor, and Broadway star, faced her first migraine attack at 25 during a performance with the Virginia Symphony. This terrifying experience, marked by vomiting, head pain, and extreme light sensitivity, led to her eventual diagnosis of vestibular migraine and Ménière’s disease. Chenoweth manages her chronic migraines with a combination of injectable triptan medication, calcium channel blockers, and Botox injections every five to six months.

  4. Janet Jackson:

    Her battle with vestibular migraine, a rare form characterized by vertigo, was unveiled after she canceled two weeks of concerts in 2008 due to vertigo during a sound check. Although Jackson has not publicly discussed her migraines, her diagnosis sheds light on the challenges faced by many silently suffering from this condition.

    Read more about other types of migraine here.

  5. Freddie Ljungberg:

    The former Swedish soccer player identifies hypoglycemia as a primary trigger for his migraines. His firsthand experience underscores the importance of identifying and avoiding personal triggers to manage migraine attacks effectively. As an adult, he avoids red wine and cheese.

  6. Singer Jordin Sparks:

    After becoming a spokesperson for Excedrin, she shared her migraine journey, inspired by her mother's struggles. Research indicates that migraines are genetic.

  7. Carly Simon, renowned for her song “You’re So Vain,” managed to reduce her migraine frequency through lifestyle changes, including quitting smoking, prioritizing sleep, and avoiding alcohol and coffee.

    Read more about

  8. Supermodel Elle Macpherson emphasizes hydration and acupuncture as key migraine management strategies, aligning with research that identifies dehydration as a potent migraine trigger.

  9. Finally, Gwen Stefani turned to acupuncture during pregnancy to alleviate migraines, reflecting the limited medication options available to pregnant women.

Each of these celebrities has faced unique challenges in managing their migraines, from misdiagnosis to ineffective treatments. However, their openness about their experiences serves as a reminder that migraines can affect anyone, regardless of fame or status. By sharing their stories, they contribute to greater awareness and understanding of this complex neurological condition.

The Dangers of Over-the-Counter Medications:

While over-the-counter medications may provide temporary relief for migraine symptoms, relying solely on them can lead to medication overuse headaches (MOH) and worsen migraine symptoms in the long run. It's essential to seek professional medical advice and explore alternative treatment options for migraine relief.

Health by Principle and the Stanton Migraine Protocol offer holistic approaches to migraine relief, focusing on dietary changes, maintaining electrolyte homeostasis, and lifestyle adjustments.

Migraines are primarily caused by a genetic dysfunction in the brain's energy metabolism and electrolyte balance, which can be influenced by certain lifestyle and dietary habits.

The protocol focuses on the correlation between diet and the brain, including altering dietary practices like shifting to a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that is also low in sugar and eliminates key things known to prompt migraines, like aged cheese, coffee, and chocolate.

The foundational element of SMP is supplementing with necessary electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, and potassium.

Celebrities battling migraines serve as powerful advocates for greater awareness and understanding of this often misunderstood condition. Through their openness about their experiences and journeys with migraines, they inspire others to seek a proper diagnosis, explore effective treatment options, and prioritize self-care. By highlighting the importance of holistic approaches to migraine relief and the potential dangers of over-the-counter medications, we can empower individuals to take control of their migraine management and improv.

 

References: 
https://www.newsweek.com/lady-gaga-migraine-drug-nurtec-pain-ad-pfizer-1806562

https://themighty.com/topic/migraine/celebrities-who-live-with-migraine/

https://www.migraineagain.com/top-stars-who-get-migraines/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/migraine/celebrities-with-migraine/

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