Severe head pain
This mother of all headaches makes your bachelorette party hangover seem laughable. If you could laugh.
The culprit – Odds are, any jackhammering in your brain is just a migraine. But if it’s not accompanied by other migraine symptoms (such as a visual aura), sudden and severe pain–we’re talking the absolute worst headache of your life–can signal a brain aneurysm. These arterial bulges occur in up to 5 percent of people, but most of the time they don’t cause any trouble–you won’t even know you have one unless the weak spot leaks or tears. If that happens, escaping blood can flood the surrounding tissue (causing a violent headache) and cut off the oxygen supply there. Smoking and having a family history of aneurysms increase your odds.
The fix – “A burst aneurysm can cause brain damage within minutes, so you need to call 911 immediately,” says cardiologist Elsa-Grace Giardina, M.D., director of the Center for Women’s Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Your doctor will take a CT scan to look for bleeding in the space around the brain. If he finds hemorrhaging, you’ll head into the OR pronto for surgery to repair the blood vessel.
Spooning your way through a pint of Chubby Hubby has become an exercise in torture. When your teeth touch anything frosty, you feel a dull throb or sharp twinge.
The culprit – It’s likely that the tooth’s nerve has become damaged, usually because the surrounding pearly white is cracked or rotting away. Unless you get it patched up quickly, bacteria in your mouth can infect the nerve. And you definitely don’t want that breeding colony to spread throughout your body, says Kimberly Harms, D.D.S., a dentist outside St. Paul, Minnesota.
The fix – Time for a cavity check! You may just need a filling to cover the exposed nerve. But if it’s infected, you’re in for a root canal, in which the tooth’s bacteria-laden pulp is removed and replaced with plastic caulking material. Antibiotics can clear up any infection that has spread beyond the mouth.