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How Can Future Migraines With Aura Be Prevented? continued...

Keeping a headache diary. Keeping a headache diary can help identify anything that might trigger migraines with aura. Diary entries should include the date and time of the headache, any foods you ate, activities you participated in, and medication you took just before the headache began. It may take six to eight weeks or longer to begin to see patterns and triggers.

Avoiding common food triggers. You can use information from your diary and trial and error to determine if any of these foods might be causing your migraines.

  • chocolate
  • cheese
  • red wine or other alcohol
  • citrus fruits
  • avocados
  • bananas
  • raisins
  • plums
  • artificial sweeteners
  • food preservatives, such as nitrates, nitrites, and monosodium glutamate (msg)
  • ice cream or other cold foods

Avoiding medication triggers. Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs may trigger migraines. Check with your doctor if you think any of these may lead to your migraine headaches:

  • cimetidine
  • estrogen
  • hydralazine
  • nifedipine
  • nitroglycerin
  • ranitidine
  • reserpine

Relieving psychological triggers. Stress, depression, anxiety, and even strong feelings such as grief from losing someone you love can trigger migraines. Although you can't control these factors, you can learn to control your response. Relaxation, biofeedback, and self-hypnosis techniques can be effective in relieving and preventing migraines, especially in children.

Reducing physical triggers. Illness, missing meals, and being too tired can all trigger migraines. So can physical exertion, motion, and head injuries. Even menstruation can trigger migraines. Reduce the effect of physical triggers by trying to identify them, keeping a regular routine, being sure to treat illnesses quickly, and taking steps to avoid other physical triggers.

Looking for environmental triggers. Some people are sensitive to flickering lights, fluorescent lights, changes in air pressure or altitude, or even bold visual patterns. Use your headache diary to identify any environmental triggers -- and then take steps to eliminate or avoid them.