Types of Migraine: With Auras, Without Auras and Prevention

A headache, two types

Migraine is a headache that can occur with symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, or sensitivity to sound and light.

If you experience migraines, you may be more interested in how to stop the intense pain caused by migraines than in identifying what type of migraine you may have. However, being aware of the two types of migraines (with aura and migraines without aura) will help you be better prepared to seek the appropriate treatment.

Migraines with auras

You can think of “aura” as a term of the new era, but when it comes to migraines, there is nothing ethereal about it. It is simply a physiological warning signal in your vision or other senses, alerting you to the onset of a migraine.

However, auras can occur during or after migraine pain also begins. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 15 to 20 percent of people with migraine experience auras.

Warning Signs: Migraines with auras, formerly called classic migraines, usually cause visual disturbances and other migraine symptoms.

For example, you may see zigzag lines, lights that look like stars or dots, or even have a blind spot before the migraine begins. Other possible changes in vision include distorted vision or temporary loss of sight.


Other senses: In addition to visual auras, some people who experience migraines with auras may find that other reasons are affected. For example, auras can be related to hearing, such as a ringing in the ears before the migraine begins.

They can also affect your smell, like noticing strange smells. It has also been reported about taste, touch, or just the “strange feeling” symptoms of migraines with aura. No matter what atmosphere you experience, the symptoms will last less than an hour.

Migraines s in auras

More commonly, migraines occur without auras (previously called common migraines). According to the Cleveland Clinic, this type of migraine occurs in up to 85 percent of those who experience migraines.

People with this type of migraine go through all the other characteristics of a migraine attack, including severe pain on one or both sides of the head, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound.

Other signs:  In some cases, migraines without auras can be accompanied by anxiety, depression, or fatigue that usually occurs several hours before the headache.

In the absence of aura, some people who experience this migraine may have other warning signs, such as thirst or sleep or a craving for sweets. Migraines without aura can last up to 72 hours, according to the American Headache Society (AHS).

People can go through three distinct phases of migraines without auras:

  • Prodromou.
  • Headache phase.
  • Postdrome.

The prodrome is considered a “pre-headache” phase that may occur several hours or days before a full migraine begins. The prodromal phase can cause food cravings, mood swings, muscle stiffness, or other warning signs that a migraine is coming.

The headache itself can be pretty debilitating and involve pain throughout the body. The postdrome can make you feel hung or tired.

Steps omitted, double doses

Although it may sound strange, some migraines without auras can avoid the headache phase. You still have a migraine without aura when this happens, but your doctor may describe your condition as “acephalgic” or “silent migraine without aura.”

It is possible to have several migraines, so talk to your doctor about your symptoms if it is uncertain.


No matter what type of migraine you have, or if you experience more than one type, one thing is sure; Migraines are painful, and it is better to avoid them by taking preventive measures. The US Department of Health and Human Services UU reports that stress can trigger migraines, just like eating certain foods.

Reduce stress through relaxation, exercise, and proper sleep, avoid personal food triggers and can limit or prevent attacks of both types of migraines.