Headaches are among the most common health issues humans experience. They result from different things, such as heavy drinking, hunger, stress, eye problems, or dehydration. However, sometimes headaches can signify the beginning or the presence of a severe health condition. These issues include migraines, brain tumors, or aneurysms.
While simple headaches disappear after using pain relievers, severe ones don’t. It’s, therefore, vital to understand when the headache doesn’t seem normal and get medical attention as soon as possible. Suppose you’re among those who don’t know how to differentiate minor headaches and severe health issues with head pains as symptoms. In that case, continue reading to learn more about migraines, brain tumors, and aneurysms. This information will come in handy when determining what you’re ailing from and when to seek professional help.
What Are Migraines?
Migraines are headaches characterized by throbbing pain. They can also cause a pulsing sensation on one side of your head. In most cases, migraines cause nausea, sensitivity to sound and light, and vomiting. This headache can last up to four hours to an entire day. Migraines cause severe pain that might interfere with your daily life.
Although rare, some people experience a warning sign called an aura before a migraine’s onset. A patient can also experience aura and migraine simultaneously. This symptom is characterized by visual disturbances or difficulty speaking.
What Causes Migraines?
The main causes of migraines are yet to be identified. However, scientists believe there’s a close link between genetic and environmental factors and migraines. Here are some common factors believed to trigger migraines:
- Lack of enough sleep
- Hormonal imbalance in females
- Weather changes
- High alcohol intake
- Certain foods
While these are among the factors that trigger migraine, scientists are still researching scientific causes.
Symptoms Of Migraines
Scientists say migraine symptoms vary from one person to the other. However, there are common symptoms most people experience whenever they have migraines. Among these symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to noise and light
- Reduced ability to function
- Severe headache that might last for 72 hours
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain on one side of the head
Other migraine signs include diarrhea, sweating, scalp tenderness, cold hands, and pale skin.
When To See A Doctor For Migraines
A typical migraine lasts up to 72 hours (about 3 days). Anything beyond that should be considered dangerous. Suppose you’ve been taking migraine medication for three days, and the pain doesn’t go away. In that case, you should seek immediate medical attention since you might be suffering from something else.
While people with brain tumors sought medical attention for severe headaches, this doesn’t necessarily mean an intense headache signifies growth presence in your brain. As stated in the above section, headaches can result from several factors and are common in most healthy individuals. Nevertheless, severe headaches can also signify something growing in your brain. Those with brain tumors will typically experience intense headaches at some point.
What Is A Brain Tumor?
Brain tumors are cells growing in or near the brain. Individuals with brain tumors often undergo brain surgery to remove the cells. A brain tumor can occur in or near the brain tissue. Tumors growing near the brain will likely develop on the pituitary gland, nerves, pineal gland, or the membrane covering the brain surface.
Tumors growing in the brain are called primary growths. Those that develop in the surrounding area and spread to the brain are called secondary tumors.
There are many types of primary tumors. Some are cancerous, while others aren’t. Noncancerous brain tumors grow over time and begin to press the brain tissue. When this happens, an individual starts to experience mild to severe headaches, depending on the tumor’s size. Cancerous or malignant brain tumors grow fast. They can destroy the brain tissue within a short while.
An individual can experience symptoms indicating a brain tumor’s presence immediately or later. This depends on where the growth is developing. Suppose a tumor develops in a less active part of the brain. You’re less likely to experience symptoms until it has grown in size. However, if it develops in an active part of the brain, you’ll likely notice something’s wrong while the tumor is still tiny.
What Does A Headache Associated With Brain Tumors Feel Like?
It might be challenging to differentiate a migraine from a brain tumor headache. The type of headache you experience depends on where the growth is. However, the most common signs of headache resulting from a brain tumor include:
- Throbbing or dull pain depending on the tumor location
- The pain occurs in intervals and can fade away after some time
- The headaches worsen with time
It’s vital to understand that brain tumor headaches might resemble typical migraines. It’s therefore advisable to seek medical attention if you have a severe recurring headache that has lasted for more than three days.
What Causes Brain Tumors?
Brain tumors are believed to result from changes occurring in normal brain cells. Brain cells function depending on their DNA. Changes in the brain cells’ DNA might result in an abnormal growth in or around the brain.
Severe Symptoms Of Brain Tumors
While a brain tumor headache is almost similar to other headaches, some severe symptoms differentiate them. These symptoms include the following;
- Prolonged vomiting
- Change in personality, behavior, or thinking
- Muscle weakness
- Seizures that affect the hands, arms, or legs
Nevertheless, it’s vital to mention that these symptoms can occur in regular headaches. Therefore, only a doctor can perform checkups to determine what causes the headache.
When To See A Doctor For A Brain Tumor
Suppose you have severe headaches that don’t disappear. You must be worried or wondering what’s happening. Unfortunately, unless you seek medical intervention, you’re unlikely to understand what you’re ailing from. That said, you should visit your doctor and get some tests done. For example, your doctor might perform a neurological examination. Such tests involve examining your vision, reflexes, balance, hearing, coordination, and leg strength.
A brain aneurysm is also called an intracranial or cerebral aneurysm. This condition is characterized by a bulge or a balloon formation in a blood vessel in the brain. In other words, an aneurysm appears like a berry hanging on a branch.
According to experts, brain aneurysms develop due to blood pressuring a weak area on a vessel wall. Unfortunately, when a brain aneurysm gets larger, it can rupture and cause bleeding in the brain. This condition is known as hemorrhagic stroke.
Fortunately, brain aneurysms aren’t severe health conditions and are also common. They don’t rupture easily, nor do they show symptoms. However, after rupturing, a brain aneurysm can threaten your life; hence, it should be treated immediately.
Does A Brain Aneurysm Cause Headaches?
A severe headache can signify the presence of a ruptured aneurysm. According to individuals who have suffered from a ruptured aneurysm, headaches associated with this condition are the worst you can experience. Besides severe headaches, brain aneurysms are associated with the following symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light
- Drooping eyelids
- Double or blurred vision
Loss of consciousness and a stiff neck can also signify a brain aneurysm.
When Should You Seek Treatment For Brain Aneurysm?
As stated, tiny brain aneurysms aren’t a threat. However, if they rupture, they can threaten your life. That said, seeking treatment is vital if you have an aneurysm and have begun experiencing severe headaches. They’re among the most common symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm.
How Do You Know What Causes Your Headaches?
The beginning of this article states that headaches can result from hangovers, hunger, dehydration, cravings, or lack of enough sleep. It also mentions that headaches are among the most common symptoms of many health issues, including severe ones. Knowing what’s causing your headache might be challenging unless you seek medical intervention.
However, you should rest, eat, and hydrate yourself to see if the headache disappears. You can also try over-the-counter pain relievers to lower the pain. If these tactics don’t work and the headache lasts over three days, it might be time to seek treatment.
Unfortunately, migraines, brain tumors, and aneurysms cause almost similar symptoms. The only way to learn what you’re ailing from is by undergoing tests in a reputable health facility. Remember, your head is unlikely to ache for no reason; seek treatment to prevent the condition from escalating.
Migraines, brain tumors, and aneurysms are health conditions known for causing headaches. However, the headache intensity for these conditions differs. For example, migraines will likely cause severe pain lasting up to three days. As for brain tumors, the headache severity depends on their location in the brain. On the other hand, brain aneurysms are unlikely to cause headaches unless they’ve ruptured. However, once they’ve burst, they can result in a very painful headache.
Unfortunately, many people ignore headaches until they get out of hand. However, this shouldn’t be the case. It’s always right to seek treatment, especially if you think the headache is abnormal. Your doctor can administer treatment and improve your condition if you seek treatment as soon as possible.