11 major causes of migraine
There is a vague understanding of the exact migraine causes. Many factors, including sounds, bright light, strong perfumes, and certain foods induce a migraine attack in people. One factor that causes migraine headaches in one person might be harmless for another. Additionally, a factor that has caused a migraine attack once might not necessarily lead to an attack every time. Therefore, it is imperative to know various triggers so that you can avoid them.
Migraine – Causes
Following are the top migraine triggers that you can be careful about.
There is a very strong connection between stress and migraine. In fact, not just stress, but any form of tension and anxiety causes migraine headaches. Many people complain that they suffer from a migraine attack whenever they are highly stressed out, which subsides as soon as they are de-stressed. For others, migraine attack comes as a weekend headache, followed by a stressful week at work. The pain goes away as they relax their mind and work on their stress.
- Food additives
Food additives like the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) and artificial sweetener aspartame are some common migraine triggers. However, there is no proof that these additives trigger headaches or migraine attacks in every individual.
- Hormonal changes in women
Hormonal changes in women, especially those linked to the menstrual cycle, do trigger migraine attacks. This proves why more females than men experience migraine during their reproductive years. Migraine in some females starts at puberty and becomes the most difficult during the menopausal years.
Lack of sleep and disturbed sleep is indeed one of the most common migraine causes. Those who get to sleep less or have trouble in sleeping suffer from migraine attacks more frequently than those who sleep well. On the other hand, surprisingly, excessive sleeping also triggers migraine.
Yet another commonly reported migraine trigger is alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol affects some people while others experience a headache when they consume a high alcohol dose. When you consume alcohol, it expands blood vessels and raises your blood pressure. It also dehydrates the body and the chemicals present lead to a chemical imbalance in the brain. To go by some of the researches, red wine is more likely to induce migraine attack than the other forms of alcohol.
- Strong smells
Strong smells, which could either be odd or appealing, also happen to be one of the common migraine causes. This phenomenon is known as “osmophobia”. The matter here is not about the smell being pleasant or unpleasant, as the intensity of smell is what matters. Migraine patients have this intolerance for strong smells, which increases manifold when they experience attacks.
- Bright lights
Bright lights, flickering lights, and fluorescent lights are a big problem for migraines patients. This sensitivity to bright lights in migraine patients is based on neural mechanisms. Non-incandescent light sources, such as those found in offices, also trigger migraine attacks, as they produce glare and flickering. This is the reason why migraine affects white-collar workers and female workers more.
- Loud sound
Loud sound is definitely one of the primary migraine causes, as it becomes downright painful for some of the migraine sufferers to stand a loud sound. If you also have this condition, you can take steps to avoid the same. For example, you can choose quieter places to hang around and quiet restaurants to dine. If your office atmosphere is loud, you can start using noise-canceling headphones.
When your body is dehydrated, you are more likely to experience migraine headaches. The level of dehydration differs from one individual to another, as some people tend to experience a headache even if their body is slightly dehydrated, while others don’t. Besides headache, dehydration can make you experience dizziness, confusion, and anxiety as well. If not given immediate attention, the condition might land you up in a medical emergency. Therefore, keep track of your fluid intake throughout the day. Carry a water bottle wherever you go and immediately sip a glass of water, the moment you start experiencing headache.
- Medication overuse
You do require medicines to keep your migraine attacks at bay. However, their overuse can itself trigger migraine attacks. This phenomenon is referred to as the Medication Overuse Headache (MOH).
- Computer screens/VDUs
Spending hours together while working on the computer or watching television for long are also major migraine causes. Therefore, make it a point to take regular breaks in between. Never continue working without breaks and wear anti-glare glasses, if possible. In addition, you need to have a good posture while sitting and working in front of a computer. Form these habits, as they are extremely helpful for keeping migraine attacks at bay.