Migraine - Triggers

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What are your migraine headache triggers?

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What are migraine triggers?

Many factors have been identified as migraine triggers.

  • The normal hormone fluctuations which occur with regular menstrual cycles may predispose some women to experience migraine headaches.
  • Some types of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) can trigger migraines.
  • Various foods such as:
    • Red wines
    • Aged cheeses
    • Preservatives used in smoked meats (nitrates)
    • Monosodium glutamate
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Chocolate
    • Dairy products
  • Oversleeping
  • Alcohol beverages
  • Stress
  • Exposure to strong stimuli such as bright lights, loud noises, or strong smells.

Changes in barometric pressure have been described as leading to migraine headaches.

Not every individual who has migraines will experience a headache when exposed to these triggers. If a person is unsure what his or her specific triggers might be, maintaining a headache diary can be beneficial to identify those individual factors which lead to migraine.

Return to Migraine Headache

See what others are saying

Comment from: Lindalu, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 17

Some women will get a migraine headache the day after their monthly cycle ends for the month. My migraines started when I was 29 and lasted until I was 49, that is when my monthly cycle ended for good and I started menopause. I have had only one migraine since then, but I noticed, before I did get the migraine that I had cramps, felt like I was going to get my cycle and was extremely moody and I would get upset really easy. I felt just awful before the migraine set in, that was all within four hours. Now the migraines are starting all over again. My pain management doctor gave me a new medicine called Gralise and since I started taking the one 300 mg tablet Friday night before bed, I started to wake up with migraine headaches again. I have woken up every day since I started to take that Gralise. I have taken Gralise since Friday and today is Tuesday, June 16, 2015, I gave the medicine four days and all it seems to do is give me major migraine headaches, which makes my stomach feel awful and I have to wear sun glasses until the migraine goes away and all I can do is load up on Excedrin and caffeine and go back to bed until the migraine goes away. I usually take a shot of Imitrex, but I haven't a prescription for Imitrex at this time, and I am not going to get one. Imitrex is a very expensive medicine and all you get is two injections in a prescription. It is just cheaper and easier just to call my doctor and tell him the Gralise is making me sick and I am not going to take it anymore.

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Comment from: eacarlo, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: September 03

I have suffered with very frequent migraines since I remember, from the age of 3. When I left home to study and work they were every weekday instead of every day. I used over 80,000 ergot derivative prescription pills after the diagnosis was determined at 22. Then after close to 53 years of migraines they stopped suddenly! That was the day the health department made it mandatory not to smoke in government offices. Finally it sunk in my head that I was born into home cigarette smoke and lived, worked or studied with heavy cigarette smokers until that day (I never smoked). Then I tested this miracle out by asking a friend to blow cigarette smoke in my face. This resulted in a painful 4 hour migraine; it only took one or two puffs. I tried the test a year ago with the same result. How wonderful to be free of migraines for the last 32 years; be smoke free!

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