Men Get Migraine, Too! Let’s Celebrate Dads With Migraine

Written by Lorene Alba | June 15, 2024

It’s Father’s Day, and today we want to celebrate all the dads out there. Especially those who have migraine disease, are parenting a child with migraine disease, or maybe both.

Migraine is often considered a “women’s disease.” It’s true that women are two to three times more likely than men to have migraine. However, men also experience migraine attacks, and 25% of people with migraine are actually men That is over 10 million in the US alone! In this video, men who live with migraine share how this disease impacts their lives. So let’s talk about fatherhood and migraine.

Dads Parenting a Child With Migraine

Having a child with migraine can be an emotional and challenging journey. It’s hard to watch your child when they are sick or in pain. Feeling powerless to provide any relief for them when they have migraine attacks can be heartbreaking. However, this is also an incredible opportunity for a father to be a strong support for his child.

My first migraine attack was on my first day of kindergarten, and my dad has been a source of comfort during my attacks ever since. As a child, I remember him taking me to see many different doctors to get an accurate diagnosis, effective medical care, and appropriate treatments.

There were fewer treatment options when I was growing up in the 1970s, and I never seemed to find a treatment that worked. But my dad did what he could to make me comfortable during attacks by providing a quiet, dark place to rest away from my siblings. And, when I missed school, he worked with my teachers so I could catch up on my schoolwork. My dad became my caregiver, advocate, and source of comfort. In some ways, after all these years, he still is. Children who live with migraine often struggle with avoiding triggers, having a quiet, dark place to lie down, getting behind in school, or just not being able to attend a party or sports event. Thank goodness for dads, who are there to pick up the pieces!

Dads Parenting Through Migraine Attacks

Parenting is challenging enough, but adding migraine to the mix can make it even harder. Migraine attacks can strike men at any time, causing debilitating symptoms like pounding head pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances. Intense attacks can last for hours, days, or even more, and can disrupt the time you spend with your children. Trying to push through is often challenging, and dads may end up missing out on those special, everyday moments or important life events. Unfortunately, pushing through the pain can lead to more intense migraine symptoms that last longer and are harder to treat, leaving dads between a rock and a hard place.

Dads Need Self-Care Too

It’s important to remember that self-care is not just for women, it’s for everyone! Self-care doesn’t have to look like a massage or a day on the golf course (although they are enjoyable). It can just mean taking the time to rest when your body needs it. It’s important to take your medication, or use your medical device, at the first sign of symptoms. Stay hydrated, eat and sleep well, and minimize triggers when you can. Don’t forget to schedule downtimes or rest breaks into your workday. And, say “no” when you need to.

Dads Overcoming Migraine Stigma

Migraine is often misunderstood so there is a lot of stigma around this disease, especially for men. It is a “migraine myth” that men do not get this disease, and so when they do, they may feel especially stigmatized for having a “woman’s disease.” We applaud the fathers who are willing to be vulnerable and honest about their pain, understanding that it takes strength to prioritize their own health and well-being. When dad takes care of himself, he can take better care of his children. We thank all the fathers who openly share their migraine journey with others to help reduce stigma and foster a sense of community. We encourage all men with migraine to become advocates for themselves and others, helping to raise awareness to ensure men do not suffer from migraine in silence or alone.

Migraine Meanderings is here to support dads living with, or caregiving for a child with, migraine. Our free, online support community is a safe space to ask questions, share your tips, and connect with others.

To all the dads out there who are taking care of children with migraine, managing their own migraine attacks, or trying to manage both – we can never say thank you enough!

Let Us Know 

Are you a dad living with migraine? How do you care for yourself and your family? How do you support your children with migraine? What tips do you have for other men? 

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