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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 is described as pain that is pulsating or throbbing on either or both sides of the head.2

One uncommon symptom of a migraine attack involves changes in speech patterns. Migraines causing slurred speech can be very concerning to the migraine sufferer and to loved ones or strangers nearby.5 In this article, we’re addressing loss of speech and why migraines can affect speech.

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.3 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.5

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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 often in the aura phase of the migraine, and it is possible to stumble over one’s words or babble uncharacteristically. In addition to loss of speech, a person experiencing this symptom may also smell or hear things that aren’t really there.3 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 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 result in aphasia, while strokes, tumors, and head injuries can cause this symptom as well. The degree and length of disability varies based on the cause and how much damage has been done to the brain.1

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.1 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.2,4

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Vanquish® is indicated for tension headaches. If you have a cluster headache, sinus headache, migraine headache or any other type of headache you may want to consult a doctor.

References for Can Migraines Cause Speech Problems?

1.Mayo Clinic. Aphasia. Retrieved on August 26, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/aphasia/symptoms-causes/syc-20369518.
2.Cleveland Clinic. Migraine Headaches. Retrieved on August 26, 2019 from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/5005-migraine-headaches.
3. Mayo Clinic. (2019, May 30). Migraine With Aura. Retrieved on August 24, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-with-aura/symptoms-causes/syc-20352072.
4. Mayo Clinic. Migraine. Retrieved on August 26, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201.
5. Smith, Lori. Medical News Today. What’s to know about hemiplegic migraines? Retrieved on August 26, 2019 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317545.php.

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