TAMPA, Fla. - Caidence Marshall is 13 years old, and suffers from intense migraines.
"I usually get them once a day,” she said. “They can start in the morning right when I wake up and last all throughout the day.”
Her bad migraines can last an hour or two. It's a condition affecting up to 15 percent of all adolescents and the effects can be debilitating.
"Last year, I had to leave the classroom a lot,” Caidence described. “It affects my attention. Usually, if it gets too bad, I'll have to ask to use the restroom and I'll sit there and try to get water on my face.”
Dr. Jasmine Reese, who focuses on adolescent medicine at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, said the devastating effects go beyond academics for those that suffer.
"It is tough because it almost sounds like an adult disorder, right? And now a young person has to deal with it,” she explained.
Dr. Reese said kids often have to isolate themselves from activities while coping with symptoms. It can be hard for kids to understand.
She said avoiding triggers, like certain foods, bright lights or stressful situations can lower the frequency of migraines. Caidence said her migraines are usually sound-induced. She treats them with over-the-counter meds, as well as a prescription.
Doctors have seen success using mood-stabilizing, anti-seizure and anti-nausea medications. Dr. Reese has a message for those that suffer.
"You're not alone in this,” she said. “Again, it’s fairly common in childhood, so you certainly can go on to live a happy and fulfilled life even if you have a diagnosis of migraine headaches."