Migraines affect 39 million Americans and a billion people worldwide every year. They can occur with or without warning signs, and for many people, they manifest suddenly. They are characterized by severe pain in the head that often requires you to drop whatever activity you are doing.
While you may experience sensory disturbances before a migraine comes, for many, it can come out of nowhere. Fortunately, you can avoid a migraine if you’re able to manage or steer clear of your triggers.
Here are some common causes of migraines.
More women get migraines than men. Upon reaching adolescence, many women experience migraines due to hormonal changes happening in their bodies. Migraines usually occur during or before a menstrual period or during menopause or pregnancy. Changes in estrogen levels can trigger a migraine for many women.
Likewise, medications that cause hormonal changes, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies, can also cause migraines.
There are many sensory triggers that can cause migraines. Flickering screens, bright lights, such as flashlights and the sun, and loud noises are some examples. Secondhand smoke and strong smells emanating from perfume, cigarettes, and paint thinners, among others, can also set off migraines for a lot of people.
Physical, emotional, and mental stress can set off a migraine. Physical stress may include strenuous exercise and sexual activities. Work and home life conflicts are also common causes of stress. All of these issues can serve as migraine triggers. Similarly, anxiety, depression, excitement, and shock can also be triggers.
Jet lag, too much sleep, or a lack of sleep can all trigger migraines. If this is a trigger for you, being on a consistent sleep schedule that ensures you get just enough sleep can help prevent migraines.
Not watching what you eat may also give you migraines. Eating processed foods with additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame is linked to migraine attacks. Salty and aged foods, such as cheese and salami, can give you migraines, as well.
While coffee and alcohol can be comfort drinks, they are linked to migraines. Consume these drinks in moderation. Aside from avoiding certain dietary triggers, remember to stay hydrated and eat regularly. Dehydration and skipping meals are also triggers for many.
Frequent changes in weather are likely to affect your body temperature. Temperature changes cause migraine attacks for many people.
Family history also contributes to your risk of developing migraines. For example, if one of your parents frequently experiences migraines, you may be at a higher risk of getting them – however, your triggers may be different than theirs.
If your migraines prevent you from enjoying life, consult with a doctor for treatment options. At Advanced Medical in Wellington and Palm Beach, Florida, our physicians can help figure out your triggers and provide treatment options for much needed relief.