What are Migraine attack triggers?

The migraine attack can begin anywhere between six hours and two days after the trigger. These are some common migraine attack triggers seen in a majority of people.

What are Migraine attack triggers?
Generally, an episode of migraine exhibits 4 phases. (Image Credit: Pixabay)

By Dr. Ramesh Patankar

Even though a large number of people suffer from migraine, this condition is not fully understood. There are many doubts related to migraine. People often fail to understand its triggers and neglect the symptoms. This can worsen their condition. We help you to know about the various factors that can trigger your migraine attack.

A migraine means a headache leading to severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. A trigger is something that can happen to you, or something that you do, which induces a migraine attack. The migraine attack can begin anywhere between six hours and two days after the trigger. These are some common migraine attack triggers seen in a majority of people.

Here is a list of triggers that cause migraine attacks in people

Stress: Are you often stressed due to your personal or professional life? Then, you need to beware! It can give you a migraine. Being stressed, depressed and anxious will make you prone to a migraine attack. You will be shocked to know that stress is the culprit behind almost 80% of migraine attacks.

Lack of sleep: If you fail to get proper sleep due to your erratic routine then you can get a migraine attack. Sleep renews and repairs all parts of the body including your brain. Hence, there is a link between irregular sleep patterns and migraine.

Hormonal changes: Women are at a greater risk of getting a migraine attack during their menses. This can be known as menstrual migraine which occurs during a period due to the change in estrogen and progesterone levels.

Caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco: It is a known fact that all these factors are potential triggers of migraine.

Unpleasant weather changes: Too much heat and unexpected changes in barometric pressure are common weather-related migraine triggers that cause a migraine attack. High humidity and heat can easily lead to dehydration which can also cause a sudden migraine attack.

Poor eating habits: If you are one of them who eats food containing histamine and MSG, chocolate, cheese, and other dairy products, artificial sweeteners (e.g. aspartame), caffeine, cured meats, or anything with a strong smell then stop doing so on an immediate basis. These things can trigger a migraine attack.

Light sensitivity ( Photophobia): This is one of the signs of migraine. Both natural, bright light and fluorescent or flickering bulbs are problematic and can cause a migraine attack.

Perfumes, strong food smells, chemicals: These things also trigger a migraine attack that can give you a tough time.

The last word: Everyone has different triggers, so identify them by writing them down in a diary, and effectively manage your migraine attacks.

(The author is a Neurologist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of

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