Migraine triggers can include foods, beverages, activities and exercise, medications, stress, sleep deprivation, hunger, odors, hormones, and other changes.
To help determine what triggers your migraines, print the list below. Then check the list for potential migraine triggers when you get the first signs of an attack. After a few weeks or months, review the checklist to see if you can find a pattern for your migraine triggers. While triggers can be tricky to determine, chances are that the items that get the most checks may be your key personal triggers.
About 1 out of 8 Americans has migraines. They usually begin during the teenage years. After puberty, migraines are more likely to affect girls and women.
Experts still aren't sure what causes these headaches. But they seem to involve a wave of unusual activity in brain nerve cells, along with changes in blood flow in the brain.
Though migraines can trigger severe pain in the head, they aren't simply headaches. They often also cause other uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
After you've narrowed down migraine triggers that may affect you, take the checklist to your next doctor's visit and discuss these triggers. Your doctor can give you additional medical advice about how to prevent migraines by avoiding migraine triggers and taking necessary preventative migraine treatment.
American Headache Society: "Headache Hygiene Tips."
The International Headache Society: "Epidemiology of Headache."
The Migraine Trust: "Your Triggers."
National Headache Foundation: "Migraine."