Migraines and arriving in Quito, Ecuador

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Migraines and arriving in Quito, Ecuador

Postby jmclatchie » Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:42 pm

I have a history of getting debilitating migraines. One of my triggers is changes in barometric pressure. I live at sea level. After two flights oven eleven hours, I'll likely be tired, dehydrated and susceptible to a migraine. Then I'll walk out of the Quito airport (at 9,200 feet) and my body will probably rebel. I could easily spend the next day in the hotel room and the next three days feel crappy.
So, my doctor prescribed Diamox (apo-acetazolamide) as a preventative therapy. Diamox is usually prescribed to reduce or prevent the symptoms of altitude sickness.
Has anyone else used Diamox to prevent migraines? If not Diamox, does anyone have any other suggestions?
Thanks.
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Re: Migraines and arriving in Quito, Ecuador

Postby JaliscoJudy » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:19 pm

One of the key words you used was dehydration. Don´t let yourself get dehydrated. Hydrate well the day before you travel and keep drinking while you travel. After you arrive, you can buy Gatorade or some other sports type drink to keep your salts and minerals balanced. If you´re going to be spending much time at higher elevations (you´re headed to Otavalo, right?) and since you´re coming from sea level, it would be best to give yourself a couple of days to take it easy before resuming a regular activity level. If you have the luxury of adding a couple of days up front, you might save yourself some discomfort. You may be able to find some coca tea in Quito. Drink it if you can get it -- it lessens the effects of the high altitude. Good luck!
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Re: Migraines and arriving in Quito, Ecuador

Postby jmclatchie » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:33 pm

Thanks for the hint about coca tea. I've never heard of it. You wouldn't happen to know what it's called in Spanish, would you?
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Re: Migraines and arriving in Quito, Ecuador

Postby djtekslave » Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:58 pm

Mate de coca I think... but then again my Spanish may be rusty.
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Re: Migraines and arriving in Quito, Ecuador

Postby jmclatchie » Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:56 pm

Thanks djtekslave.
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Re: Migraines and arriving in Quito, Ecuador

Postby graybeard » Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:27 pm

If you have the misfortune to have migraines, I assume you and your MD have tried one or more of the prescription medications that are now available. One that I know a number of folks find helpful is Imitrex. (No, I am NOT a pharmacy rep!). There are now a number of others. The coca tea previously mentioned may be useful since it is a very mild stimulant and caffeine (also a stimulant) has been known to be used to treat migraines in the past. But, this is very much an option to review with your MD who knows your personal medical history. Non-medical migraine interventions found to have some benefit are various relaxation, self-hypnosis, etc. tools. But, they take regular practice to build and continue the skill set. If there is time before you go, any new tool/med should be tried at home so you can evaluate it for both effectiveness and the side-effect profile. For instance, while the high altitude sickness literature does find Diamox helpful, especially above 12,000 feet and more, some folks get tingling in fingers and toes and find it more unpleasant that the altitude symptoms of nausea, spaceyness and fatigue.

Try to get as much sleep on the plane as you can. And, to decrease the stress/shock that come with arriving in a strange airport, perhaps consider having your transport to your hotel pre-arranged so that would be one less thing to deal with.

Good luck.

PS- If your MD freaks at the mention of Coca tea, he needs to be very much educated. It is NOT addicting or nor does one get a buzz from it.
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Re: Migraines and arriving in Quito, Ecuador

Postby roofie » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:46 pm

I think almost everyone gets some sort of headache ascending 3000+m in a day. Mild altitude sickness even some symptoms of AMS are quite common in these circumstances. Rest. Eat. Drink (clean) water. Sleep. Wear warm clothes (if cold). Stay out of the sun. Especially the last one is important.
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Re: Migraines and arriving in Quito, Ecuador

Postby jmclatchie » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:49 pm

roofie wrote:Stay out of the sun. Especially the last one is important.


Yeah, I hadn't thought about the sun. At higher elevations, I'm more likely to get burnt, right? I'm pasty-white to begin with so burning is a problem for me. Thanks for the reminder.
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Re: Migraines and arriving in Quito, Ecuador

Postby roofie » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:16 pm

jmclatchie wrote:
roofie wrote:Stay out of the sun. Especially the last one is important.


Yeah, I hadn't thought about the sun. At higher elevations, I'm more likely to get burnt, right? I'm pasty-white to begin with so burning is a problem for me. Thanks for the reminder.


even if it's cloudy, grey and raining you will get burnt. Quiteños use umbrellas even when there's neither sun nor rain.
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