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What Triggers Migraine Headaches
September 8, 2013

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What triggers migraine headaches is different for everyone and maybe different each time. Unfortunately, there is no known reason or cause for migraine headaches; however it has been proven that specific things in ones environment can trigger a migraine headache. Some of these triggers include food, smell, light, noise, medications, weather, temperature and many, many more. It is important to determine what triggers migraine headaches for you so you can eliminate or avoid them.


One of the things that can cause migraines is food. Unfortunately it can be specific as a food item or ingredient or as general as a food group. Common food triggers include aged cheeses, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, citrus fruits, salty foods, processed foods, and many more. This is only a small list of what triggers migraine headaches, any other number of foods can be triggering your migraines. Keeping a food journal and doing an elimination diet can whittle down the possibilities to exactly which food could be causing your migraine headache.


This in your immediate environment such as smell, light, noise, temperature, air pressure, weather and pollution can trigger a migraine. These sensory stimuli cannot always be avoided such as someone else’s perfume, cigarette smoke, sun glare or flickering lights. However if you know this is what triggers migraine headaches for you, you can immediately remove yourself from the situation.


Stress is the most common trigger for migraine headaches. Highly emotional responsiveness such as anxiety, shock, and sadness changes chemical releases within the brain. This is what triggers migraine headaches. Stress interrupts sleep patterns which can also trigger migraines. It’s important to minimize stress in both work and home life. Keep your sleep patterns consistent to minimize the occurrence of migraines.


During menstruation, changes in hormone levels can cause migraines. Attacks can occur a few days before, during ones cycle or at ovulation. The fluctuations in estrogen seem to trigger migraine headaches in many women. Hormone medications such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy can worsen migraines.  Changing dosages, brands or using different forms of contraceptives may reduce migraine occurrence.

These are just a few of the most common migraine triggers. It’s possible that what triggers migraine headaches for you is not on this list. Keep track of when you get a migraine to determine exactly what is triggering your migraines.

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