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Migraine Causes & Triggers

For experts, the exact cause of migraines is still a bit of a mystery (abnormalities in brain chemicals and nerve pathways are primary suspects). But there are a number of factors, or triggers, that have been found to set off migraine symptoms at any given time. These triggers are different for everyone, and some people have several to contend with.

Knowing and avoiding your triggers can go a long way toward prevention. Read on for some of the most common culprits, and how Fremont Health can help you take control.

Top Migraine Triggers

You may be susceptible to one or a combination of factors, such as:

  • Bright lights and loud sounds: Flickering lights and glares, intense sunlight and harsh or abrupt noises
  • Emotional/Mental stress: Constant tension at work or home, as well as anxiety and depression
  • Fasting: Skipping meals can cause low or uneven blood sugar levels, which in turn can cause headaches
  • Food or alcohol: Red wine, chocolate, caffeine and aged cheeses, along with preservatives (like MSG) and artificial sweeteners are some of the most common contributors
  • Hormonal changes: About 60% of migraines in women are menstrual-related; pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy and menopause, which all affect estrogen levels, are also frequent factors
  • Physical stress: Extreme exercise or exertion, jet lag and even sexual activity
  • Sleep changes: Going to bed and waking up at inconsistent times each day
  • Strong smells: Perfumes, paint and cigarette smoke and other distinct odors
  • Weather changes: Shifts in barometric pressure, temperature or humidity

Additionally, some people have certain built-in risk factors that make them more prone to migraines. These include:

  • Age: Most people experience their first migraine during adolescence
  • Family history: Parents and other close loved ones are good predictors; in fact, 90 percent of migraine patients have a family history of the condition
  • Gender: Women are three times more likely to have migraines than men

Tracking potential triggers in a headache diary can help you spot patterns in your attacks. Then you can work together with a specialist to make lifestyle changes or find the right treatment to prevent or manage symptoms.

Prevention Starts with a Free Consultation

Call 402-552-8705 or click below to request your free, one-on-one consultation with Jeffrey Himmelberg, MD, a regionally recognized migraine expert right here at Fremont Health.

Together, you can create a migraine management strategy and explore a full range of treatment options to help put an end to your headaches. That may include SphenoCath®, a game-changing migraine treatment that blocks the nerves at the source of your pain, offering immediate and long-lasting relief.

Request My Consultation