Trigger Factors for Migraine
One of the best ways to manage your migraine is by managing your triggers. Knowing what triggers your migraines can help you eliminate them from your life and prevent future headaches from occurring. By learning about the different types of triggers, you’ll be able to identify which ones are affecting you and take steps to avoid them.
A food allergy or intolerance is a reaction that occurs when you eat, drink, or breathe something that your body treats as an allergen. Allergens are substances such as foods and pollen from plants. These cause the immune system to react strongly in people who are allergic to them.
Food allergies can affect anyone, but some children and babies seem to be at a higher risk for developing them. About 5% of children under age 4 have food allergies — about twice as many boys as girls have food allergies.
You might be more likely to get migraines if you’re a woman. Women are 2 to 3 times more likely than men to experience migraine attacks, and menstrual migraine is very common in women.
Migraine symptoms can also be triggered by pregnancy and breastfeeding. This can happen because hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin increase during these times.
Although changes in hormone levels are commonly thought of as the main trigger for migraines in women, they can also occur due to other causes:
Stress can be a trigger for migraine. Stress is not just physical, it can also be emotional. Stress from work, family or friends and changes to your routine are common triggers for migraine. Changes in environment and diet can affect you too!
Fatigue, lack of sleep and oversleeping
Sleep deprivation is a common trigger for migraine and can increase:
- Pain. Sleep deprivation can increase the pain of a migraine, making it more difficult to cope with.
- Frequency. Not getting enough sleep can result in more frequent migraines, including cluster headaches or “short-lasting” or “probable” migraines, which usually last no longer than four hours.
- Duration. Some people experience a longer duration of their migraine when they haven’t slept enough during the night due to insomnia and other sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome (RLS).
- Severity/intensity level of their symptoms during an attack; this may be due in part to less effective management strategies used by individuals who are fatigued from lack of restful sleeps throughout the night before experiencing intense head pain symptoms beginning with light sensitivity around 9 am every day after waking up without any medication taken for several hours prior to going back into bed because there wasn’t much time left before needing another dose so he could get some rest before returning home later that afternoon feeling exhausted again because he still hadn’t gotten enough sleep yet again…
Weather changes or barometric-pressure changes
Some people get migraines from changes in barometric pressure. This is the weight of the air above the Earth. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it can be.
People who suffer from migraines may notice that their headaches are triggered by certain weather changes and barometric-pressure changes. The good news is that these factors can be controlled by human activity (i.e., climate change).
Skipping meals or fasting
Eat regular meals. Avoid skipping meals or fasting, especially if you are prone to headaches. Eating small and frequent meals throughout the day is ideal for keeping your blood sugar levels steady and preventing hunger. A balanced diet is important, with plenty of protein (such as meat, chicken or fish), complex carbohydrates (such as brown rice, pasta or potatoes) and vegetables and fruit. Try to avoid foods high in fat and sugar, such as cakes, chocolate bars or sugary breakfast cereals. Limit salt intake by avoiding processed foods like salted crisps/potato chips/cheese & onion crisps etc.
Sensory stimuli such as lights, sun glare or loud noises
Sensory stimuli such as lights, sun glare or loud noises are common triggers for migraine sufferers.
- Bright lights, flashing lights and sunlight can trigger a migraine. Sunlight is a common trigger for migraines because it increases your blood flow, temperature and oxygen levels in the brain. This rise can cause pain in people who suffer from migraines—especially those who experience an aura with their headaches.
- Loud noises such as music or sounds can also be triggers for migraines. The loudness of these noises may play a factor in causing a migraine but it’s not known exactly why this happens with some people but not others.
You can manage migraine by managing your triggers.
- List the triggers.
- Take action if you know you’re prone to migraine, or take action if you aren’t sure what causes your migraines.
- Avoid the triggers that lead to your migraine and manage any other factors that can trigger a headache or exacerbate a headache (e.g., stress, lack of sleep).
We hope you found this article on triggers for migraines helpful, and that it gave you some insights into how to manage your migraine attacks. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.