13 Most Common Migraine Triggers

Throbbing pain, vision disturbances, sensitivity to light and sound, maybe even nausea: These are all symptoms of migraines, and whether you suffer from one, some, or all of these effects, if you have migraines, there’s no denying the toll they can take on your life.

At his practice in the Coral Gables and Coconut Grove area of Miami, Florida, Andrew Lerman, MD, offers patient-centered migraine treatment using the most advanced techniques for optimal relief of pain and other symptoms. That includes medication like Botox® and nerve-blocking agents, along with lifestyle changes for optimal wellness.

One of the best ways of preventing migraines from occurring is knowing — and avoiding — your triggers. Here are 13 of the most common triggers you should know about.

#1: Weather changes

Summer is prime time for intense weather patterns, like hurricanes and thunderstorms. Unfortunately, for some migraine sufferers, those weather patterns just might trigger migraine headaches or make current symptoms worse.

#2: Stress

Stress is associated with an array of serious medical issues, including chronic migraine headaches. When you’re anxious, your body produces stress hormones and puts your nervous system on “high alert.” Changes in brain chemicals during stress may also play a role in migraine headaches.

#3: Foods

Up to 60% of migraine sufferers report food as a relevant trigger for their headaches and other symptoms. That includes foods with caffeine (like chocolate), as well as processed foods and foods with artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

#4: Caffeine

Migraine sufferers tend to have a love-hate relationship with caffeine, which has been identified as both a trigger and an aid to relieving headache symptoms. Bottom line: Limit caffeine intake to reduce your chances of developing a migraine.

#5: Sleep changes

If you have migraines, you’re also up to eight times more likely to have a sleep disorder, underscoring the strong benefit of doing all you can to get a good night’s sleep. Dr. Lerman includes sleep evaluation as part of his migraine treatment options.

#6: Jet lag

Related both to sleep and stress triggers, jet lag throws off your body’s natural “clock,” increasing the likelihood you’ll feel anxious, while also interfering with normal sleep patterns.

#7: Odors

Migraine sufferers often find their symptoms are triggered or worsened by certain smells, including cigarette smoke, perfumes, and food odors. This effect is called osmophobia, and it’s also linked with higher levels of anxiety and depression in people with migraines.

#8: Estrogen fluctuations

Monthly periods and pregnancy cause major changes in estrogen levels, and for many women, that’s a potent headache trigger. Birth control pills may also play a role, triggering headaches in some women while providing relief in others.

#9: Alcohol

Alcohol is a common migraine trigger for many people, especially red wine. If you have migraines, limiting alcohol intake (or avoiding it completely) is a good idea.

#10: Dehydration

Your body depends on plenty of fluid (water, ideally) to stay healthy. Even a relatively low level of dehydration can be enough to trigger migraine symptoms. Summer heat makes it even easier to get dehydrated, especially in Miami. Always carry a water bottle with you to make sure you get plenty of fluid.

#11: Bright lights

Bight, flashing, flickering, or colorful lights trigger migraine symptoms in many people. Even bright sunlight — a Florida staple — can be enough to cause migraines. Wearing dark sunglasses and staying indoors during midday may help.

#12: Medications

Overuse or frequent use of many medications is another common trigger for many people. That includes many over-the-counter pain medicines many people take to treat their migraines.

#13: Hunger

Skipping meals, intermittent fasting, and low-calorie dieting can all trigger migraines. If you want to lose weight, opt for smaller portion sizes and healthy alternatives instead of drastic calorie-cutting.

While knowing your triggers may help prevent some migraine attacks, it’s rarely enough to completely eliminate them. Medical treatment plays an integral role in relieving or reducing symptoms and helping prevent migraines from happening in the first place. The sooner you see Dr. Lerman, the faster you can get started on a treatment plan focused on your unique needs.

Relieve your migraine symptoms

Don’t let migraine pain keep you from enjoying your life to its fullest. To learn how Dr. Lerman can help you find relief from chronic migraine headaches, call our practice in the Coral Gables and Coconut Grove area of Miami, Florida, or request an appointment online today.

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