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Neurologic conditions may cause severe health outcomes and should be diagnosed and treated timely. In women, the problem is especially significant as some of these illnesses may be unique to females. This paper addresses a case of a patient presented with recurrent headaches. The report suggests the differential diagnoses and outlines the treatment strategy for this case. The paper also discusses the means of educating patients on migraines.
Patient Evaluation and Medical History
The patient is a 32-year-old Asian American woman who presented to the clinic for recurrent headaches. She notes that the episodes of headaches occur every month and may last up to 12-18 hours. The woman also reports episodes of photophobia, vomiting, and nausea. She uses either acetaminophen or ibuprofen as treatment measures, but sometimes they cause no relief. The patient uses Ortho Tricyclin as a birth control method. The symptoms show that the case may be an example of a neurologic condition.
The primary diagnosis for this case is a migraine, which is a condition that can last for hours and days and be associated with sensitivity to light, vomiting, and nausea (“Migraine,” 2019). A migraine can be caused by hormonal changes in women, which, in their turn, are a result of using birth control pills. Differential diagnoses for the patient include 1) intracranial hypotension associated with nausea and vomiting, 2) trigeminal neuralgia that may be determined by the episodes of recurrent severe pain, and 3) narrow-angle glaucoma associated with headaches, nausea, and vomiting (“Trigeminal neuralgia,” 2019). To confirm the diagnosis, it is necessary to perform blood tests to reveal possible blood vessel problems, along with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) scan, and lumbar puncture.
The treatment strategy for a migraine includes the use of triptans for moderate to severe headaches (Mayans & Walling, 2018). In this case, 6.25 mg of Axert after the first sign of a migraine was recommended, the patient was informed that she should not take more than two doses a day. Alternative treatments for the condition included muscle relaxation exercises once a day, massage therapy once a week, and acupuncture two times a month.
To educate patients on the management and treatment of migraines, medical professionals should discuss with them the possible causes of the condition. They may include stress, changes in the sleep pattern or environment, diet, and medications (“Migraine,” 2019). It is also vital to discuss the potential adverse effects of birth control medications with female patients. Tharpe, Farley, and Jordan (2017) note that clinicians should consider the history of headaches in prescribing this type of contraception to women. In addition, medical professionals should suggest management strategies based on screening and test results, as the symptoms of the condition can be similar to the signs of more severe diseases. It is crucial to inform individuals that migraines can be managed using the alternative methods discussed above.
Migraines can lead to severe pain and be associated with other adverse symptoms, such as nausea, photophobia, and vomiting. This case shows that for some individuals, this condition may be caused by hormonal changes related to the use of oral contraceptives. It is necessary to educate female patients about the risk factors associated with birth control pills, as well as educate individuals on the traditional and alternative ways of management of the condition.
Mayans, L., & Walling, A. (2018). Acute migraine headache: Treatment strategies. American family physician, 97(4), 243-251.
Migraine. (2019). Web.
Tharpe, N. L., Farley, C., & Jordan, R. G. (2017). Clinical practice guidelines for midwifery & women’s health (5th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Trigeminal neuralgia. (2019). Web.