Health Check: Mothers managing migraines

Migraines affect some 38 million Americans, with most of them women. (WJAR)

Migraines affect some 38 million Americans, with most of them women.

While the neurological disease isn't necessarily deadly, it is debilitating.

"When I was 23, I was at my office. My previous career was in architecture,” said Maria Mormile, a new mom of 7-month-old Hailey and the owner of a Pilates studio in North Kingstown.

“I started shaking and getting pain all the on the right side of my body and it became numb."

Her symptoms mimicked a stroke.

"I'm unable to speak or walk. On the right side of my face, it droops so it presents as a stroke,” said Mormile. "My trigger ended up being hormones so as i was going through my cycle I would be -- that one week a month -- that's when I would usually get them."

Birth control helped manage them better. Then, she got pregnant.

"I still get them, for sure. They still last about 15 minutes and (endure the) same symptoms, but I'm getting less now," Mormile said. "While I was pregnant with my daughter and now that I'm nursing, that also helps regulate hormones."

Alicia Torborg, who is the executive director of the Association of Migraine Disorders, also gets migraines.

"Some people get them. They could last a couple of days and be really severe and then come and go over months," she said. "Mine started when I was 10. My grandmother had them. My brother has them. My daughter has them."

That's why a correct diagnosis is so important.

It's also why Torborg and her family, along with Mormile, will be taking part in the Miles for Migraines 5K on Sunday. It's to raise awareness and money for research.

"Mother's Day is a perfect time to do that because it disproportionately affects women," Mormile said.

The good news is that new treatments, which include ways to prevent or lessen the impact of a migraine, are coming out all the time. One, in the works, could be available by the summer.

For more information on migraines, click here.

For details on the Migraine Awards Dinner, click here.

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