- By Mallory Williams
- BBC News
A woman who gets nine migraines a month says the condition is controlling her life.
Delyth Jones, 32, from Ceredigion, said she missed her children’s school concerts and play days because of them.
A former GP who lost her job after being diagnosed with chronic migraines has set up a voluntary support group in Cardiff, citing a lack of support.
The Welsh Government said it was committed to improving care and services.
Ms Jones first started having migraines at a young age and described the pain as „intense”.
„It starts as a little tingling behind my eye and I think, 'Yeah, I’m going to have a migraine today,'” she said.
„[It’s] A great pressure returns from my eye to the back of my head. I can’t describe the pain.”
Jones said her migraines last a few days.
„As a mother of three, it affects my life a lot. I miss the things they do, school concerts, sports days,” she said.
„I’ve become a nervous person. Worried that people won’t believe me if I tell them I have one. I feel isolated.
„A lot of people I know don’t have them, and I can’t talk to other people about how I feel because they don’t understand.”
Jones said she struggled with the lack of support when she went to the doctor about her migraines.
„When I went to doctors, there was no non-prescription literature, no support groups, and they were more than happy to give me medicine, basically saying 'it will help you’.
„It worries me, it controls your life.”
Former GP Dr Anna McLean, who lost her job after being diagnosed with chronic migraines, set up a support group for the condition in Cardiff last year, which now has 60 members.
„There’s not a lot of expertise in Wales, although I’m sure people are trying their best in the difficult circumstances of the NHS,” Dr Maclean said.
„So I set out to help people and together with another GP, we set up this group because the numbers are huge.
„Through the group they all meet people with similar symptoms so they don’t feel alone.
“It is [migraines] To be informed. Even if it doesn’t kill you, it will kill your life.”
Dr Linos Roberts, of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said GPs could refer patients to headache clinics but more funding was needed to improve care in Wales.
„We know that migraine is very common, but the complexity is in the range of symptoms that people can experience,” he said.
„There are some symptoms that are more common than others: headache – usually on one side of the head, feeling nauseous, vision problems … but these vary according to the individual.
„There is a need to increase funding to help patients see specialists with specific interests in migraine care.”
He said charity The Migraine Foundation „has a long way to go” to improve awareness.
According to its research, one in seven people in Wales live with the condition, and one in ten in England.
„I think the Welsh Government could do a lot,” said its chief executive Rob Musick.
„If you think about how common my migraines are, the impact it has and how poorly understood it is.
„I think we’re very much feeling that migraines should go to the menopause now.”
The Welsh Government said it recognizes the „debilitating effects” of migraines.
„We are committed to working with the NHS to improve care, services and access to services,” it said.
It said a headache toolkit was recently launched to support frontline clinical teams in diagnosing patients and planning care.
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