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migraine survey

We Surveyed 1,000 Women to Understand How Migraines Affect Their Lives

Learn how migraines impact job performance, social life, attitudes and more.

As many migraine sufferers know, the pain of a migraine can be an isolating experience — further frustrated by the fact that every sufferer’s migraine triggers, symptoms and pain can be completely different.

It’s important to know that there are resources out there — and support from fellow migraine sufferers. That’s why Excedrin Migraine commissioned the Millennial Migraine Report. We surveyed 1,000 female migraine sufferers ages 18 to 64, to better understand how migraines impact their lives.

Here’s a rundown of a few key findings:

81% of millennial migraine sufferers surveyed say they’ve been held back from doing things they’d like because of their migraines.

While it’s no big surprise that the majority of migraine sufferers say their condition is disruptive, the ways that the condition affects survey respondents is myriad and includes missing work and school.

  • 59% reported a negative impact on the ability to have fun, including negative effects on sex life and friendships (21%).
  • 50% reported missing three or more special events in the past year because of migraines
  • 47% said migraines negatively impact job performance
  • 47% missed three or more days of work due to migraines in the past year (of those employed)
  • 33% said that migraines negatively impact their academic performance

71% of millennial migraine sufferers surveyed wish they had visited a doctor sooner.

Visiting a doctor is an important step in understanding and managing your migraine condition — after all, a diagnosis is required to start proper treatment. 63% of those surveyed said they took too long between their first migraine and getting diagnosed. In fact, more than a quarter of millennial migraine sufferers surveyed waited four or more years after first experiencing migraine-like symptoms to get diagnosed.

Feeling intimidated by a doctor visit? For a look at what to expect, check out this article on how a doctor diagnoses a migraine. You’ll want to be prepared to talk about your symptoms and walk your doctor through your headache history, including when your head pain first occurred, where the pain was, and how it felt, among other things.

90% of millennial migraine sufferers surveyed do not use apps to manage their condition …

Yet 79% of those surveyed wish they had better techniques to treat their migraines.

Why does tracking your migraines matter? One of the most important tools you can use to help manage your condition is a migraine diary. This record, if accurate, can help you and your doctor monitor the frequency, duration and severity of your migraines over time, identify patterns that may help determine migraine triggers and improve treatment, as well as track medication use and how you responded to the medication. Keeping track of your migraines is one of the most important tools for care and management.

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Nearly two thirds of those surveyed would give up social media to not have to experience a migraine again.

Additionally, 71% of millennial migraine sufferers would give up their favorite pair of jeans to never suffer a migraine again. At first glance, giving up a pair of jeans might seem like a trivial trade-off for the serious pain of a migraine. But for anyone who has tried on 100 pairs of denim to find just the right fit, this statistic probably doesn’t seem too far off.

59% of millennial migraine sufferers surveyed wish non-sufferers would understand that “I’m not faking my symptoms.”

The isolation of migraine sufferers can feel very real — 88% of sufferers surveyed feel that only other sufferers can truly understand what they’re going through. But those we surveyed are eager to talk more about their experience; 81% of millennial migraine sufferers say they’d like to have more open conversations about migraines.

Got a friend or a loved one who sufferers from migraines? Here’s what not to say.

70% of millennial migraine sufferers wish they had someone to talk to about their migraines

Knowledge is power. Learn exactly what a migraine is, common migraine symptoms, signs you might be having your first migraine, and surprising migraine triggers. And if you know a young migraine sufferer, go ahead and open that dialogue.

As for symptoms, here’s the breakdown of those that survey respondents suffer from:

  • 88% are sensitive to light (learn more about photophobia)
  • 82% experience pain on one or both sides of the head
  • 83% are sensitive to sound
  • 56% experience fatigue
  • 55% feel lightheaded

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