Bachmann 'incapacitated' by migraines at times according to former staffers (updated)

According to an article in the Daily Caller by Jonathan Strong, presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann suffers regular episodes of debilitating migraine headaches that are sometimes so bad, she must be admitted to a hospital.

The Minnesota Republican frequently suffers from stress-induced medical episodes that she has characterized as severe headaches. These episodes, say witnesses, occur once a week on average and can "incapacitate" her for days at time. On at least three occasions, Bachmann has landed in the hospital as a result.

"She has terrible migraine headaches. And they put her out of commission for a day or more at a time. They come out of nowhere, and they're unpredictable," says an adviser to Bachmann who was involved in her 2010 congressional campaign. "They level her. They put her down. It's actually sad. It's very painful."

Bachmann's medical condition wouldn't merit public attention, but for the fact she is running for president. Some close to Bachmann fear she won't be equal to the stress of the campaign, much less the presidency itself.

"When she gets 'em, frankly, she can't function at all. It's not like a little thing with a couple Advils. It's bad," the adviser says. "The migraines are so bad and so intense, she carries and takes all sorts of pills. Prevention pills. Pills during the migraine. Pills after the migraine, to keep them under control. She has to take these pills wherever she goes."


Alice Stewart, a spokeswoman for Bachmann, said "she suffers from migraines and they're under control with medicine." Stewart contested descriptions of the episodes as "incapacitating" Bachmann but did not specify how the descriptions were wrong. "The information you have is incorrect," Stewart said. She declined to discuss Bachmann's hospital visits at all, saying, "I'm not going to go into her medical history."

The Bachmann campaign better get on top of this story quickly. And they have to be a little more forthcoming than Ms. Stewart's evasive answers. People will forgive politicians just about anything - except if they feel they are hiding something.

Bachmann wouldn't be the first presidential candidate - or president for that matter - who suffered from migraine headaches. Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant were both afflicted with horrible migraines at times and both managed to function more than adequately. John F. Kennedy probably suffered from Addison's disease - a debilitating dieases when flare ups occur - and still managed a full schedule when he was president.

The former staffers may be exaggerating - or not. The campaign and the candidate should address the issue immediately and put to rest any doubts about Bachmann's capacity to serve.

Update from Cliff Thier:

About seven or eight years ago I suffered my first migraine. Because I'd never had them before I had to have a CAT scan to make sure it wasn't a brain tumor of some kind.

Anyway, ultimately it was determined that my "trigger" is bright sunlight. So, when I go out in the summer I wear a hat and sunglasses. Sunglasses whenever I'm behind the wheel at any time of the year.

Every migraine sufferer has a specific trigger(s). If they know what their trigger is they can usually avoid it. Caffeine. Loud sounds. You name it.

And, there are terrific medicines that knock migraines out right away that are available these days. I don't qualify for them for other reasons, but Michele Bachmann  may well be a candidate for such medicines.

If Bachmann's migraines are so unavoidable and untreatable I'm sure we would have seen evidence of that by now. Camera crews are following her everywhere for months.

If stress is her trigger she must have a good medication that prevents migraines or immediately treats its symptoms. She's been swimming in an ocean of stress and not once have we seen her say to a crowd or an interviewer: "I'm sorry, but I have to go sit down now."