Things that causes a migraine

A migraine cause is something that raises a person’s chances of getting a migraine headache for a short period of time. Certain smells, foods, and even changes in the weather can be migraine triggers for some migraine sufferers.

A migraine does not occur every time a person is exposed to a stimulus. A migraine may be triggered by a combination of stimuli. These triggers can vary from one person to the next.

We’ll go through different forms of migraine causes, how to manage them, and when to see a doctor in this post.

Hormones

Hormonal changes, according to NINDS, can affect the incidence of migraine headaches in a number of ways.

Migraine headaches, for example, can strike during a woman’s menstrual cycle or during pregnancy. They may also appear in women who begin taking birth control pills.

Migraine headaches can improve after menopause, according to NINDS.

Techniques for Managing

An individual should seek help from a healthcare professional, such as a headache specialist or gynaecologist, to find the best treatment plan for hormone-related triggers.

To help stabilise their hormone levels, a person may want to try birth control methods.

Stress

Emotional reactions and stress may be migraine triggers for some people. Stress is cited as a migraine cause by nearly 70% of sufferers.

Anxiety and depression are two other possible causes.

Techniques for Managing

According to the AMF, an individual should make a list of stressors and try to reduce them in their daily lives.

They can also try the following:

  • biofeedback therapy
  • meditation
  • exercise
  • relaxation therapy
  • developing or maintaining a regular sleep schedule

Read full details about stress and how to manage it here.

Smell

Certain odours, according to AMF, can activate nerves in the nasal passages, resulting in a migraine headache. The following are some examples of triggers:

  • perfumes
  • household cleaning products
  • air fresheners
  • gasoline
  • strong-smelling foods

Perfumes and other smells, according to the 2014 study, can trigger migraine headaches in 50% of migraine sufferers.

Techniques for Managing

Migraine sufferers may reduce their sensitivity to possible causes by using unscented products.

Diet and food

Foods and additives cause migraine headaches in about half of the people who suffer from them.

The following are examples of possible triggers:

  • aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener
  • monosodium glutamate
  • caffeine or caffeine withdrawal
  • alcohol, especially red wine
  • chocolate
  • certain fruits and nuts
  • yeast
  • aged cheeses
  • pickled or fermented products
  • processed or cured meats

Plant food was found to be a migraine cause for 40.3 percent of people in a 2021 survey of 3,935 migraine sufferers, with the pain occuring within 90 minutes of eating the food.

Watermelon was the most common trigger in the study, causing headaches in 29.5 percent of the participants.

Techniques for Managing

A food journal can be used to help recognise the foods that cause migraine headaches.

Light

Bright or blinking lights, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), can cause migraine headaches.

According to a 2014 report, about 40% of migraine sufferers experience a migraine attack as a result of visual stimulation. According to neuroimaging, migraine sufferers have a distinct brain structure that processes visual details.

According to the review’s writers, migraine sufferers tend to be more sensitive to bright and flickering lights.

Migraine sufferers can also suffer from a disorder known as photophobia. This is a light sensitivity that can occur even when a person is not suffering from a migraine.

Techniques for Managing

When outside, an individual can find it beneficial to wear sunglasses. Furthermore, if a person is in an artificially lit setting, they should try to sit closer to the windows. It’s also a good idea to stay away from sources of flickering light.

Green light, according to the American Migraine Foundation (AMF), is unlikely to cause a migraine. It is possible to look for bulbs that emit green light.

Sound

Migraine sufferers are more susceptible to sound. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, loud or sudden noises may be a migraine trigger for some people. Around 50–75 percent of migraine sufferers will experience this.

Techniques for Managing

It can be difficult to stay away from loud noises. Avoid spending time in loud and chaotic places, such as movie theatres and packed bars, if at all possible. In noisy environments, they may want to consider wearing hearing protection.

Weather

A little more than a third of migraine sufferers report that certain types of weather will cause a migraine attack.

So far, there is no definitive evidence that weather conditions play a role in migraine headaches. However, some migraine sufferers may be vulnerable to the following weather changes, according to studies:

  • a drop in barometric pressure
  • long periods of sunshine
  • strong winds

Other triggers

Other potential migraine triggers may include:

A migraine sufferer should eat regularly and drink plenty of water if at all possible. In addition, they should get 7–8 hours of sleep a night.

Preventative measures

Preventive treatment could be appropriate for people who experience migraine attacks at least once a week.

The following medications can aid in the prevention of migraine attacks:

  • anticonvulsants
  • beta-blockers
  • calcium channel blockers
  • antidepressants
  • botulinum toxin A
  • Aimovig and similar drugs, which block the action of a molecule called calcitonin gene-related peptide

  • triptan drugs, which are available as tablets, nasal sprays, and injections
  • ergot derivative drugs, which are available as injections and nasal sprays
  • over-the-counter pain relievers
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • antinausea medication, also known as antiemetic drugs
  • lasmiditan (Reyvow), which is a type of serotonin receptor agonist

Inhibitors of the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) can also be prescribed by a doctor. These medications tend to reduce the number of migraine headaches and have less warnings and precautions than other forms of migraine drugs, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Inhibitors of CGRP include:

  • ubrogepant (Ubrelvy)
  • rimegepant (Nurtec)
  • erenumab (Aimovig)
  • fremanezumab (Ajovy)
  • galcanezumab (Emgality)

Home remedies

An individual may take a number of measures to alleviate migraine symptoms. There are some of them:

  • resting in a dark, quiet room with the eyes closed
  • placing an ice pack or cool cloth on the forehead
  • drinking plenty of fluids
  • consuming a small amount of caffeine

When to contact a doctor

If a person’s migraine headaches are regular or extreme, and the symptoms are interfering with their everyday life, they should seek medical advice.

A doctor can prescribe medication or assist in the development of a migraine treatment plan.

If a person has a headache that includes the following symptoms, they should seek medical help right away.

  • is severe and co-occurs with a stiff neck, fevernausea, or vomiting
  • is the worst a person has ever experienced
  • follows a head injury
  • co-occurs with weakness or numbness in any part of the body
  • occurs with convulsions or shortness of breath

Conclusion

Migraine headaches can be triggered by a variety of things, including bright or blinking lights, loud noises, stress, and the weather. Migraine sufferers should avoid any migraine causes if at all necessary.

Migraine causes differ from person to person. Keeping a migraine journal may assist in identifying these.

Changes in exercise, diet, and sleep habits can also aid in the prevention of migraine headaches.

Medication may be used to alleviate migraine symptoms or reduce the frequency of potential attacks.

Sources

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