Hypersensitive Smell Before or During Migraine

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baseballmomof3
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 189
   Posted 8/13/2007 10:19 AM (GMT -6)   
I was in the ER last night for a migraine and two things happened to me that I have never had happen before.  First, my pain was on the right side of my head (behind my R eye) and the left side of my face was tingling.  Also, my hands and feet were tingling.
 
Second, from the second we go in the car to go to the ER, I was smelling everything.  I didn't realize how bad it was until the doctor came in to examine me.  He rubbed hand sanitizer on his hands (which I use on my hands every night at work) and when he got close to me, it was so strong it was making me vomit.  Then, when the nurse came in to start my IV, she opened the alcohol packet, and same thing.  I could smell people's perfume as they walked by my room and food that people had at the nurses' station. 
 
I have never had this before.  The ER doc said that some people will experience this like and aura before they get a migraine but that usually, it happens every time. 
 
The pain was bad last night but I swear, that hyper smell was the worse.  It went away once I got rid of my headache.
 
Anyone else every had this?
DX:  Migraines since June, 2006, kidney stones
 
RX:  Daily - Verapamil, Trileptal
PRN:  Relpax, Prednisone, Dilaudid, Lortab, Lidocaine Nasal Spray


rehabnurse
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 169
   Posted 8/18/2007 4:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there!!

I am usually on the chronic pain board, and we've chatted there before, I think!!!

I think you're a RN too, right??

Anyway, I saw this post of yours and had to reply. I have the same hyper sense of smell. In fact, after I got pregnant with my daughter in 2000, I have had smell-induced migraines. I've always been sensitive to smell, but now, it's terrible. When I used to work, I would react when the maintenance guys waxed the floor. UGH. Talk about migraine city!!! My roommate who I live with is Asian, and when she cooks her food, I want to die. It is simply unbearable. I wish people would understand how much it makes me ill. After smelling her food, I will have to leave the house it is so bad. Why should I have to leave my own house?! I will be miserable for hours, if not days, after smelling something that triggers a migraine. I am sensitive to chemicals for cleaning, food, perfumes, body soaps/sprays (I hate bath&body works...), candles, etc. I hate going to a store when someone walks by who has bathed in cologne or perfume. It sets me off every time.

I haven't had much success lately with my migraines. I have started to also track the weather, as I know barometric pressure is a trigger. I have been on all types of preventatives with no success: Depakote, Verapamil, Topamax (that doped me up terrible), and others I can't remember. I've also tried all the abortives: Midrin (old-school, terrible), Axert, Imitrex (all forms), relpax, maxalt (i can't stand the melt form, the peppermint makes me vomit), etc. I usually try the Maxalt tabs...but even those make me shaky, feel funny, sleepy. I seemed to always get a migraine at work as well, and I used to work afternoons and 3p to 3am. I don't know if it was the stress, or the environment (fluorescent lights) or what, but I swear, nearly every day I went to work, BAM. Axert seemed to be the best triptan out there that didn't make me sleepy at work, but my insurance won't cover it, and I can only get samples occasionally.

I wish I had some answers for you, but I don't. I have suffered from migraines since I was a little girl. But since I had my daughter, something changed and they are very frequent now. I have a headache nearly every day. Sometimes I get lucky and go a few days without one. I am lucky in the fact that not every migraine is a full-blown, 10/10 pain scale migraine. If they get too bad, I find the best treatment is a liter of NS!!! I guess cause I get so dehydrated from vomiting, that getting a fluid bolus makes me feel much better. My BP is usually low as well, during a migraine. I wish I could control the smells around me, cause it is very hard to live a full life when you avoid going out just cause you know it will trigger a horrible migraine. I have so many medical issues as it is, that migraine is just one more on the list.

I suffer from chronic pain in my lower back, for which I am on morphine every 8 hours and PRN. I found that when I first started on opiate therapy, PRN morphine always gave me a massive migraine. I took Oxycontin, Duragesic, and other opiates and they all tended to give me migraines sometimes, but morphine was the worst. When I first started taking it, I had a headache for almost 2 weeks (I should say a migraine). It was rough to adjust to it, even though I was already opiate-tolerant. Years ago, when I first had migraines bad enough to go to the ER, I was given Dilaudid IV. That seemed to be the one thing that took my migraine away (along with the NS IV). I tried to get just a few PO Dilaudid for at home, emergency use, but no one was willing to do that. I swear, the look on my doc's face when I asked him about it was one of shock. I swear, he told me he would never give me something so potent, etc. Now, I am on 400mg of MSo4 QD, for chronic back pain from a different doc. I never understood why some docs are so UNWILLING to treat pain. I have never abused pain meds, ever, but no one cares. Some docs are so in the dark ages when it comes to management of pain. I wish I had some magic cure for those of us who suffer with migraines, cause they are so hard to control (especially the barometric triggered ones), and it can be so hard to work and live life to the fullest when you have migraines all the time. I hated being at work when I had one, cause it never failed that someone would say, "Oh, it's just a headache!!! Snap out of it and get back to work"!!!

I sometimes wish I could get rid of my sense of smell!!! I sure hope you're feeling better. I see you were in the ER on Monday, but I didn't catch this till Saturday morning. Take care.

baseballmomof3
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 189
   Posted 8/19/2007 1:04 PM (GMT -6)   

Hey RehabNurse:  So glad (and so sorry) to know that someone besides me knows about this hypersensitive smell issue.  I thought it was gone when my headache subsided, but I worked last night and it just about killed me.  I have always had a very sensitive sense of smell (the most difficult thing with nursing) but never bothered me that much.  Now, I am dying with it.  Alcohol wipes, antibiotics being mixed, kids vomiting, etc. - I hate it.  You know, all of these things just stink (ha - literally tongue - sorry, I couldn't resist).  Migraines seem to lead to so many other things.  I feel like I stay nauseous all the time now.  You would think I would lose some weight but I seem to keep gaining.  I don't know why - I can't hardly eat anymore.  Wonder if all these pain meds, abortive meds, etc. cause weight gain?  Also, have you noticed that you have a funny taste in your mouth.  Just since the smell thing, I find bad taste in my mouth all the time.  I have a dental appointment this week but it seems strange that it strarted with the last migraine and with the hyper-smell.

My head is pounding.  I have to go take some meds.  I'll be back on later if you want to talk.


DX:  Migraines since June, 2006, kidney stones
 
RX:  Daily - Verapamil, Trileptal
PRN:  Relpax, Prednisone, Dilaudid, Lortab, Lidocaine Nasal Spray

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