A migraine is a headache on one side of the head that causes pulsating or throbbing pain that is accompanied by sensitivity to noise and light, nausea and vomiting. The pain from a migraine can be debilitating and last for several hours or days. A migraine can be triggered by a number of factors.
• Alcohol – According to WebMD , one-third of migraine sufferers experience a migraine headache after consuming alcohol. Although the exact mechanism of why alcohol causes them are unknown; however, many researchers believe alcohol byproducts and histamines found in alcohol can cause inflammation and result in a migraine.
• Caffeine – Although caffeine may help relieve a migraine headache, it can also trigger it. Migraine sufferers with a caffeine sensitivity can experience them after consuming caffeinated beverages such as soft drinks, coffee, green tea and black tea.
• Changes in sleep patterns – Too little or too much sleep can bring on a migraine headache. Sufferers often report that tiredness, a sleepless night or going to bed too late for a few days can trigger it. In addition to this, certain sufferers can experience a headache when they sleep in or take a mid-morning nap.
• Computers – Working on a computer for extended periods of time can trigger a migraine. The glare from the screen and muscle tension from working on a computer can increase its risk. However, there are precautions that you can take to help prevent it, including taking regular breaks, ensuring your computer and desk height is correct, using good lighting and anti-glare screens.
• Dehydration – Dehydration is another cause of migraines. Carbonated beverages that contain aspartame can dehydrate you and the aspartame can trigger it. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily can help to counteract the effects of dehydration and decrease the risk of migraines.
• Environmental changes – Certain environmental effects can trigger a migraine. Weather changes, flickering or glaring lights, high altitudes, loud noises and high humidity levels can increase sensitivity and lead to a headache.
• Exercise – Exercise can either help prevent migraines or cause them. Exercising regularly can stimulate the release of natural painkillers, reduce muscle tension and improve your overall health and well-being. However, those who lead a sedentary lifestyle can have an increased risk of migraines if they do sudden vigorous exercises.
• Foods – According to the Migraine Trust Organization, approximately 10 percent of sufferers' migraines are triggered by foods. Food additives like aspartame, nitrates and monosodium glutamate can trigger it. In addition to this, tyramine, found in soft cheeses and red wines has been linked to an increased risk of migraine headaches.
• Hormonal changes – Women often suffer from migraines as a result of hormonal changes. Some women experience them when their hormones fluctuate during their menstrual cycle. Additionally, hormonal changes during menopause can increase the risk of a migraine. It is believed that this is the reason women suffer from them more often than men. If you believe your migraines may be due to hormonal changes, a complete hormone test can determine any hormonal imbalances within the body.
• Hunger – Missing meals or snacking rather than eating a balanced meal can contribute to the frequency of migraine headaches. In order to prevent migraines triggered by a lack of food, try eating at regular intervals. This may mean eating three wholesome meals with a few nutritious snacks or multiple small meals throughout the day.
• Medications – Several different types of medications have been linked to an increased risk of migraine attacks. Oral contraceptives tend to aggravate them. Additionally, vasodilators like nitroglycerin can increase their risk of.
• Stress – There is a strong relationship between stress and migraines. Any type of stress, including anxiety, tension, shock or excitement can lead to a it. Migraines can also be causes when you are relaxed. This is referred to as weekend headaches. You can help control your stress and decrease your risk of a migraine by practicing stress relief techniques like yoga, meditation, prayer and deep breathing exercises.
There are many things that can trigger a migraine headache, including hormonal changes, foods, medications and stress. Learning what triggers your migraines and how you can avoid these triggers is the first step towards a reduced occurrence of migraines or even a migraine-free life.