Migraines control my life, says mother of three – BBC News

  • By Meleri Williams
  • BBC news

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Delyth Jones says migraines affect his life “in a big way”

One woman who gets about nine migraines a month says the condition controls her life.

Delyth Jones, 32, of Ceredigion, said she missed her children’s school concert and sports day because of it.

A former general practitioner who lost his job after a chronic migraine diagnosis has formed a voluntary support group in Cardiff, citing a lack of support.

The Welsh government says it is committed to improving care and services.

Ms Jones first started getting migraines as a teenager and described the pain as “intense”.

“It started with a slight tingling behind my eye, and I thought ‘oh yeah, I’m going to have a migraine today,'” she says.

“[It’s] immense pressure flowed back to the back of my head from my eyes. The pain, I can’t describe it.”

Ms Jones says some of her migraines can last for days.

“As a mother of three it impacted my life in a big way. I missed the things they were doing, the school concerts, sports day,” she said.

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Delyth Jones and his three children

“I have turned into an anxious person. Anxious that people don’t believe me when I say I have it. I feel isolated.

“Not many other people I know have it and I can’t talk to other people about how I feel because they don’t understand.”

Ms Jones said she struggled with a lack of support when she went to see her doctor about her migraines.

“When I went to the doctors there was no literature, no support groups suggested, they were happy to give me medicine and basically ‘it will help you’.

“It worries me. It controls your life.”

Dr Anna Maclean, a former general practitioner who lost her job after a chronic migraine diagnosis, set up a support group for the condition in Cardiff last year, which now has 60 members.

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Dr Anna Maclean forms a migraine support group in Cardiff

“There aren’t many experts in Wales although I’m sure people are trying their best in difficult NHS circumstances,” said Dr Maclean.

“So I’ve just been trying to help people and, along with other GPs, we’ve put together this group because there are so many of them.

“Through the group, they all meet people who have the same symptoms so they don’t feel alone.

“[Migraines] need to be made visible. Even if it doesn’t kill you, it actually kills your life.”

Dr Llinos Roberts, from the Royal College of General Practitioners, said GPs could refer patients to headache clinics, but more funds were needed to improve care in Wales.

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Dr Llinos Roberts asks for more funds to improve care in Wales

“We know that migraines are very common but the complexity lies in the range of symptoms people may experience,” he says.

“There are some symptoms that are more common than others: headache – often on one side of the head, nausea, vision problems… but this can vary by individual.

“There may be a need to increase the amount of funding to help patients see professionals who have a special interest in migraine treatment.”

The charity The Migraine Trust said there was a “long way to go” to raise awareness.

According to his research, one in seven people in Wales live with the condition, and one in ten people in England.

“I think there’s a lot the Welsh government could do,” said CEO Rob Music.

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Migraine support group meeting in Rhiwbina, Cardiff

“If you think about how common my migraines are, and the impact they have, and it’s so poorly understood.

“I think we strongly feel that migraines are necessary to get to menopause now.”

The Welsh government recognizes the “debilitating effects” of migraines.

“We are committed to working with the NHS to improve care, services and access to services,” he said.

It said a headache toolkit was recently launched to support frontline clinical teams in diagnosing and planning treatment for patients.

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