What’s that Smell? Migraine Sensitivity and Olfactory Auras


 


 

Migraine headaches are not just about throbbing head pain; sufferers of migraine have strong sensitivity to smells, resulting in olfactory aura- an indicator of an approaching migraine attack. Migraine odors usually include unpleasant imagined smells such as burnt food, cigarette smoke, or rotten garbage.

WHAT’S THAT SMELL? MIGRAINE SENSITIVITY AND OLFACTORY AURA, WWW.MIGRAVENT.COM

What causes migraine headaches?

Millions of people suffer from migraine symptoms, such as severe headaches, nausea, and dizziness, but nobody has come up with a universal migraine cure. However, by determining migraine triggers and experimenting with various migraine remedies many- if not all- migraine suffers are able to find a measure of relief from their debilitating migraine symptoms.

WHAT’S THAT SMELL? MIGRAINE SENSITIVITY AND OLFACTORY AURA, WWW.MIGRAVENT.COM

What is a migraine aura?

A migraine aura appears during the migraine prodrome stage- generally, just a few minutes before the migraine attack strikes. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is one example of a migraine aura that includes distorted body image, auditory hallucinations, loss of spatial awareness, and temporary jumbled, confused speech patterns.  Typical migraine auras are bright lights and voids, such as blue-green zigzagging lines, eclipses, and blind spots.

Olfactory hallucinations

Sometimes, migraine patients report smelling weird, unusual odors before a migraine attack- odors that don’t actually exists, save for them.  Thes olfactory auras are called parosmia.  The majority of migraine patients describe imagined smells as putrid, smoky odors.  Common descriptions are:

  • burning wood
  • toxic-smelling aromas
  • sewer-like stenches
  • smoke
  • decomposed garbage.

WHAT’S THAT SMELL? MIGRAINE SENSITIVITY AND OLFACTORY AURA, WWW.MIGRAVENT.COM

Read more about migraine illness:

Night Terrors, Migraines, and Insomnia- 7 Nightmare Headaches

Perfumes and Migraines: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Stinky

Sources:

Imagined smells can precede migraines

Olfactory hallucinations in primary headache disorders: Case series and literature review

Olfactory aura symptoms- Migraine Aura Foundation

Migraine Symptoms: Olfactory Hallucinations

Image credits, from top:

andertoons, John Kasawa, Grant Cochrane

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