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Can Migraines Cause Speech Problems?

Woman with migraine loss of speech

Migraines can feel downright excruciating and become debilitating in people who experience them often. A migraine attack typically lasts between four and 72 hours if it isn’t treated and described as pain that is pulsating or throbbing on either one side or both sides of the head.

But one sign of a migraine attack that is somewhat less common is changes in speech patterns. Migraine slurred speech can be very concerning to the migraine sufferer and to loved ones or strangers nearby.

In this article, we’re addressing the issue of migraine loss of speech and why migraine affecting speech occurs with this type of headache.

The Condition of Migraines Affecting Speech

Some people who suffer from migraines notice that their words don’t come out as intended when they are having a migraine attack. Certain types of migraines, including ones with an aura, can lead to changes in speech patterns and migraine slurred speech symptoms. When a migraine occurs, many parts of the brain are affected, including the part that controls language processing and speech. There’s a certain type of migraine called the hemiplegic migraine that is very rare but that is often accompanied by speech and vision disturbances. It is common to mistake these types of symptoms for a stroke.

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Other Symptoms Associated with Migraine Slurred Speech

For some migraine sufferers, the changes in speech occur before or right when the pain begins. This is in the aura phase of the migraine, and it is possible to stumble over one’s words or babble uncharacteristically. In addition to migraine loss of speech, a person experiencing this symptom may also smell or hear things that aren’t really there. These sensations are very strange and alarming, and confusion and frustration commonly result. Some people with migraines lose sensations on one side of their body when they are experiencing an aura phase with migraine loss of speech.

Understanding Transient Aphasia

A temporary communication disorder is known as transient aphasia, and this symptom can affect a person’s ability to process both verbal and written language. Migraine is just one of many conditions that can cause aphasia, and strokes, tumors, and head injuries commonly cause it as well. The degree and length of disability varies based on the cause and how much damage has been done to the brain.

Fluent aphasia is described as speaking in long and complex sentences that are filled with unnecessary or incorrect words. Meanwhile, non-fluent aphasia involves speaking in very short sentences and emitting words. With transient aphasia, a person may temporarily speak in unrecognizable words, write nonsensical sentences, and be unable to understand other people’s conversations.

In migraine sufferers, the condition is usually very temporary and normal speech patterns return as the migraine progresses. However, it is necessary to rule out more serious conditions, such as strokes, that can cause aphasia. In severe cases of migraine with aura, a doctor may also prescribe an antiepileptic medication or injection treatment.

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