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Migraine Headaches - Prevention

You may be able to have fewer migraines by finding out what brings on (or triggers) your headaches and then avoiding those triggers.

Migraine triggers include certain foods and stress. Some common triggers are:

  • Stress.
  • Not eating.
  • Poor sleep habits.
  • A change from your normal routine.
  • Heat, high humidity, or changes in the weather.
  • Red wine.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Strong odors.
  • Chocolate.

Keeping a headache diary(What is a PDF document?) can help you find your triggers. You write down when you have a headache and how bad it is, along with details such as what you ate and what you did before the headache started. This information can help you find and avoid your triggers.

Having a daily routine is one of the best ways to avoid migraines. For example, try to eat at the same times every day, and go to sleep at a regular time. Changes from your routine, such as skipping meals or staying up really late, could lead to a migraine.

Triggers add up, so the fewer triggers you have at one time, the better your chance of preventing a migraine. That doesn't mean that you can't go outside if hot weather often triggers your migraines. But on a hot day, you might avoid red wine or chocolate if those also are triggers for your headaches.

actionset.gif Migraines: Finding and Avoiding Triggers.

Your doctor may also prescribe drugs to help prevent migraine headaches.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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