Migraine triggers: an introduction
A migraine trigger is anything that contributes to a migraine attack. Triggers increase the risk of the migraine attack occurring, although migraine triggers do not cause the migraine disorder in individuals. However, in a person who already suffers from migraines, certain triggers can bring on migraine attacks.
Different people have different triggers, therefore what may lead to a migraine attack in one person may not cause any discomfort in another. Also, the same triggers may not lead to a migraine each time.
Triggers, which are sometimes called precipitating factors, can lead to a migraine attack when the sufferer is exposed to them or during withdrawal of the factor. (For example, sleep can be a trigger if a person gets too much or too little). Triggers are thought to cause a series of events in the brain of migraine sufferers which leads to migraine symptoms.
One study showed that environmental factors, particularly weather and weather changes were the most common trigger. More than 82 percent of 120 patients reported that weather was a trigger, while 67 percent pointed to stress and 51 percent blamed hormones.
Managing migraine triggers
The best way to manage migraine triggers is to build your own personal migraine triggers list. To develop your list, you must first keep a migraine journal that lists detailed information on each and every migraine attack. You’ll be able to notice a pattern once you start writing down when your migraines occur, what you were doing before each attack, how long the attack lasts and information on your symptoms. Keeping your migraine journal will help you learn what situations or factors lead to a migraine attack, so that you might avoid them or at least begin treatment in the early stages of an attack.
What are common migraine triggers?
- Stress (or how stress is handled)
- Certain food and drink
- Alcohol and drug consumption
- Physical activity
- Sexual activity
- Environmental factors (weather, allergies, etc)
- Sleep patterns
- Missing meals
- Certain smells