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Migraine Causes

Welcome to the broad conversation around the possible causes of migraine headaches.

  1. Wondering if anyone has some suggestions or comments.

    I just turned 40 and I have been getting bad tension headaches and migraines, almost daily, for up to 2 years! I have had MRI's, and EEG's, been on topomax before and now amitriptylin. Keep thinking there has to be a cause and cure for this. I have always been fine but why all of a sudden? After switching neurologists she said I had to give up caffiene and get off Esgic tablets my prevoius dr put me on. Any suggestions? Can being abit overweight cause headaches?

    1. dalemathew - There are over 300 different headache disorders to take into consideration to answer your questions.

      Migraine is a genetic neurological disease. The cause is in your genetics.

      There is some good information here about Medication Overuse Headache with which you will want to familiarize yourself.

      Caffeine can be a potent trigger and can cause rebound.

      MRI's, EEG's etc are not to look for a cause, but to be sure that what you're experiencing isn't something more sinister. In this case, these tests are used to rule bad things out. Migraine is certainly bad enough on its own, but since there are actually no tests that can presently test you for Migraine, they must use your symptoms and then test to rule everything else out.

      As to being overweight, there is a type of headache disorder called Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) which can be associated with increased weight in certain individuals. The definitive diagnosis for this is a lumbar puncture (spinal tap).

      1. Does anyone have any information about fragrance triggered migraines? The house is now fragrance free but there are smells everywhere once we step outside. Is the only prevention avoidance of smells ?

        1. pain4 - Avoiding all odors is nearly impossible I'm afraid. I have gone to the extreme (ick) of putting cotton up my nose, but somehow I still taste the smell and that seems about as much a trigger as the actual odor. Some patients find that they have one or two odors that seem pleasant to them and using those to override the icky trigger laden odors is helpful. You might consider peppermint oil. One person I know carries a tiny vial of it with her and uses it when getting on an elevator etc when smells condense and can be especially problematic. Do you think something like that might be helpful??

          1. My DOCTOR wore strong cologne even after I told him it was a trigger for my migraines. I finally decided it was time to seek another doctor.

          2. Hi bluelake,

            I'm SO sorry you had to go through that. Many doctors I know who treat migraine and headache disorders are pretty careful about fragrances.

            I think you may be right - time for a new doctor!!

            This information may help: and


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