Home Discussion Forum What causes migraines where a person suddenly collapses?

What causes migraines where a person suddenly collapses?

What causes migraines so bad that a person suddenly collapes with very little or no warning, often accompanied by profuse vomiting and aura? Mine are well controlled now, but no doctor has ever explained to me what all is behind this.
I have never gone unconscious with mine, but would just suddenly go down, fully aware of what was going on, but totally unable to get up during the worst of it. Yes, I had seen a headache specialist 75 miles away, but had to quit when my back pain (from the falls) prevented me from being physically able to go, and when I was even getting sick while on the drugs. My symptoms are well controlled now with a strictly organic diet, so that I very rarely get a migraine or vertigo. However, no one has ever explained the mechanism behind it. I was tested for oxygen level after an attack, and it showed normal. No one has ever tested me while an attack is actually going on, as the worst of it is so sudden, and the worst of it leaves just as suddenly, and then I am left with the residual effects.
If lack of oxygen is possibly behind this, like some answers suggest, then what causes the sudden lack of oxygen, and what causes the oxygen level to normalize when, after an attack, I am tested at the emergency room for oxygen levels and it is shown to be normal?
And, no neurologist ever explained any of this to me although I had seen several neurologists in several states.
Not even my headache specialist ever really answered this question although I saw her for more than a year.
Doctors just kept treating it like a “typical” migraine headache…you know, the kind with severe head pain, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, etc.
I am having to ask here because of not having any luck getting my questions answered anywhere else.
I’m not looking for the usual, general information about migraine headaches, their triggers, their causes, etc.
What I am talking about is very different from that.
I am looking at what causes a usual migraine headache to become a violent, life-threatening ordeal.
Thus far, none of the answers has explained this.
I have every reason to believe, after having studied this, that MSG is the culprit behind my most violent and potentially life-threatening symptoms. I’m not the only person to have collapsed from MSG, and the excitotoxin has been linked to numerous health problems.
It makes sense, given that when I stray at all off my organic diet I get sick again, as organic food does not tend to have added MSG in it, and conventional food tends to have it in high doses.
I was actually tested for whether my blood pressure drops when I suddenly stand, suddenly switch to sitting, lying down, etc., and even that test for me showed normal.
And, like I said, it seems a bit more than ironic that I don’t get these symptoms when I completely avoid MSG and artificial sweeteners.
Also, I am not talking about fainting when getting up too quickly or otherwise changing positions too quickly. I am talking about walking down the street and doing other everyday tasks, and suddenly collapsing, getting very dizzy, and vomiting.


  1. There are little people having intercourse inside your head and it causes migraines. simple enough. Its the only logical answer really, if you think about it.

  2. I have heard that a lot of headaches can be a cause of lack of oxygen. I suffer chronic headaches and migraines. Lack of oxygen to the brain may cause you to black out and collapse. Just a thought. A neurologist should be able to explain it better, do you see one for your migraines? I would demand an explaination from mine if I was passing out..scarey and unsafe. Good luck though!

  3. This will be a long answer but, it will be informative and helpful. Overview:
    A migraine is a painful, often debilitating, headache accompanied by nausea,vomiting, and sensitivity to light, noise, and smells. The throbbing headache usually occurs on only one side of the head, although the pain can shift from one side of the head to the other or can occur on both sides. Females are about 3 times more likely to develop migraines than males.
    In the day or two prior to a migraine, you may experience such symptoms as fatigue, excessive yawning, food cravings ( such as chocolate ), irritability,or restlessness. These are called prodromal symptoms ( early signs ). Some people experience an ” aura “, which you are familiar with. This usually occurs within an hour before the headache develops. Symptoms of an aura usually develop gradually within 5-20 minutes. During an aura, you may have visual disturbances such as seeing wavy lines or sparks of light or having blind spots. Objects may appear distorted. You may also feel tingling or a “pins and needles”sensation in your hands during an aura. Less common symptoms of an aura can include numbness or tingling around the nose and mouth. Not all people experience an aura. Usually within an hour of an aura, a throbbing headache occurs that, without treatment, lasts from 4-72 hours ( if not longer). I’ve already mentioned how the pain can be. Other symptoms that can occur with the headache include:
    1) Extreme sensitivity to light, noise, and smells
    2) Nausea and vomiting
    3) Worsening of symptoms with physical activity
    4) Less commonly, problems with speech, tingling in the face, arms and shoulders, or temporary weakness in one side of the body.Even after the headache eases, you may continue to experience symptoms such as muscle aches, fatigue,or even a brief period of elation ( relief ).
    Although, the exact cause is not clear, the headaches do run in families, suggesting a genetic link. The mechanism that results in a migraine appears to be a complex progression of biochemical ( body chemistry) and vascular ( blood circulation) in the brain. It seems to involve widening and narrowing of the blood vessels of the blood vessels in the brain,which triggers changes in brain chemicals,inflammation(swelling), and activation of pain signals in the brain.
    Common triggers of migraines include certain foods ( chocolate,cheese,or caffeine), sleeping too much or too little, overuse of headache pain medications ( which may cause rebound headaches – the headache returns and it more intense), changes in the weather, and hormonal changes. It is important to be aware of things that seem to trigger your migraines.
    While there is no cure for migraines, symptoms of these painful headaches can be reduced or controlled in most people. This may involve finding the right medication for your type of migraine. Initial treatment depends on the severity and frequency of your headaches. But, at least, your headaches are well-controlled now.
    Diet and Lifestyle:
    Avoid certain foods such as refined sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, and eating six small meals may help if your headaches are associated with an abnormal blood sugar ( reactive hyppglycemia – low blood sugar). Reduce salt intake. Avoid cow’s milk protein ( the presence of lactose intolerance has been found to be a strong influence on migraines). Avoid artifical sweetners that contain aspartame. Cigarette smoking and birth control pills can be contributing factors in migraines. Peptic ulcers ( stomach) caused by an infection of Helicobacter pylori ( H. Pylori) may predispose ( initiate) people to develop migraines.
    It is important that you are aware of what triggers your migraines and to follow the advice mentioned that may apply to you. Listen to your body’s signals and, hopefully, that scary moment will be avoided in the future. I’m glad that your migraines are now well-controlled. If, for whatever reason, you sense that something isn’t quite right, call your Doc. I hope that this answer was able to give you the information that you were searching for. Ruth

  4. I have experienced the fainting part, separately from the migraine, which I, too have under control. I was told that the fainting part was the inability for the body to adjust the blood pressure quickly enough when I got up from a sitting or laying position. It was caused by one of my medications. My body adjusted, it doesn’t happen anymore.

  5. To my knowledge, NOONE knows exactly what the mechanism is behind migraines.Since headaches are vascular, as well as vertigo, I would assume it would have something to do with blood flow. I have seen lots of patients with migraines but never to the severity that you described. I have only seen a few “pass out” and the docs I worked for weren’t convinced they were true migraines.I am not sure I am fully understanding what occurs when you have a migraine.I wish I could better understand where it becomes life threatening in your eyes. You keep giving rebuttal to everyone’s response and keep in mind you are asking this on YA, not webmd. I am an RN with 13 yrs experience and have a degree in Pre Medicine and am hopefully going to practice as an NP someday and I can’t answer your question as precisely as I’m sure you’d like. There is still alot of mystery around migraines, different responses by different people. You said your neurologist couldn’t answer it ? He’s the specialist so I am willing to bet we won’t have the answer either, all we can do is speculate. Sorry! I really wish I could help. My answer is it’s a vascular issue, like a vagal issue, maybe?


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