Queer Eye's Karamo Brown On Migraines Amid Pandemic Stress

Karamo Brown spoke with Newsy about his experience with migraines.

Queer Eye's Karamo Brown On Migraines Amid Pandemic Stress
Ryan Collerd / Netflix / “Queer Eye”

If you've watched Netflix's "Queer Eye," you may know Karamo Brown is all about having the right language to express how you feel. 

For Karamo, finding language for how to talk about suffering from debilitating migraines didn't come right away. He struggled with it in school. 

"My experience that I had to shut out the light. I mean, it has to be completely dark. I was feeling nauseated. I couldn't move. I couldn't even function. But yet I had people in my life saying, 'No, get up, get up. You got to go to class. No, no. You're just trying to fake it,'" Brown said.

"Where are you at now with your migraine journey, and has the pandemic impacted that at all?" Newsy health and science reporter Lindsey Theis asked.

"Oh, my gosh, the pandemic has completely impacted that because one of the things for me with my migraine journey is that stress triggers it. And so the minute I'm feeling stressed and I think about what 2020 has been, it has been stress after stress after stress. Grieving the loss of opportunities, finances, people we love, our health. So many things that were happening, you know, it brings on that stress. And then all of a sudden I would realize I was having more migraine episodes," he said.

"The majority of my patients have found their migraines have gone up during this COVID-19," said Dr. Susan Hutchinson, director of Orange County Migraine and Headache Center. She tells Newsy it's not just a bad headache. Inside the brain, a peptide increases and causes serious inflammation. The symptoms: things like sensitivity to light and noise, brain fog, and vomiting.

"The bottom line is it involves both peripheral and central nervous systems. Central would be once it gets up into the brain, it involves blood vessels. So think about it as a sterile, inflammatory condition. But it's an inflammatory event."

The two have joined forces with a campaign called Know Migraine Mission. Part of the goal: to get that language out there. 

"It's about not being ashamed and not not thinking you're alone. It's OK to say to people like this is what I'm experiencing. And if they try to dismiss your feelings, don't let that bring you down," Brown said.