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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3164
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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I am a 43 year old woman with Graves Disease (I have had radioactive

Resolved Question:

I am a 43 year old woman with Graves Disease (I have had radioactive iodine, and take levothyroxine 50mcgs). I am also on estrogen w/testosterone. Last week, for the first time ever, I was struck with a sudden, extremely severe headache-like someone hit me in the head with a bat. An eye-watering, take-my-breath-away pain that was concentrated above and behind my left ear. This happened after a very long, stressful day. The pain lasted approximately 15 minutes or so, then slowly subsided over the course of the next few hours. However, the next day I could feel almost an "imprint" of the pain from the night before. A few days later, an orgasm triggered the exact same headache in the exact same place, with the exact same symptoms and results. Yesterday, I had a slightly less intense version of the same headache carrying a very heavy bag. The pain is always in the same spot, and is "stop the world" severe. Any suggestions?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 9 months ago.

Dr. Dan B. :

Hello and thanks for your question. Are you available to chat?

Dr. Dan B. :

While these headaches could be variants of migraines called ice-pick headaches, or even cluster headaches, in someone who doesn't have a history of headache syndromes (I assume you don't by your lack of mentioning this in your history), the "worst headache of your life" or "stop the world" headache as you put it has the possibility of severe consequences. While I would certainly continue to treat these with rest, ibuprofen, and cutting down on caffeine (headache-type hygiene), I think you need to see a neurologist soon, or at the very least your primary care doctor. While rare, these thunderclap-type headaches which are the worst of your life can, sometimes, be from aneurysms and other dangerous neurological problems. While not meant to scare you, I think your description is worrisome enough that I would recommend seeing your PCP at the very least as soon as you can, and if possible, probably a visit to the neurologist as soon as it is feasible. Does this make sense?

Dr. Dan B. :

Do you have any other concerns or questions about this topic?

Customer:

Thank you for your response. No, I do not have a history of headaches. I try not to be an alarmist, but these headaches have definitely got my attention. I thought maybe it may be a blood pressure issue, but every time I've checked it has been normal.

Dr. Dan B. :

Yes, that is a good place to start and to think of, but given that it is normal, I think we need to think of other issues and the most worrisome is a life-threatening problem.

Customer:

Oh, I'm not sure it matters, but I also have a history of melanoma. So far, it has been taken care of surgically, but no one has ever felt the need to do a pet scan or anything of that nature.

Dr. Dan B. :

Thank you for that additional information. I doubt highly if that would be playing a role in this process, but it's good to know about. Do you have any other questions about this or about my recommendation?

Customer:

I don't believe so. You have been extremely helpful! Thank you for being realistic without being too "scary sounding". I will be making an appointment today!

Dr. Dan B. :

You're welcome. Good luck to you.


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My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor. Thanks for your inquiry!

Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3164
Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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