Monday, December 18

Identifying And Avoiding Migraine Triggers

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Emotional stress can certainly provoke a migraine headache, and missing meals may cause headache in some people, probably due to lower blood sugar level. It is unlikely there will ever be a “cure” for migraines, but they can be controlled and their frequency and severity reduced. This may mean a change to a more relaxed lifestyle as well as avoiding trigger factors.

Common triggers

Hormones: for many women, falling estrogen levels play the biggest role, so a migraine is more likely to strike around the start of a period. Headaches occur before r during menstruation in about 60% of female patients.

Food: chocolate and age cheeses such as cheddar, brie and camembert are believed to be triggers and some people have problems with processed meats and foods with taste enhancers like monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Alcohol: alcohol dilates vessels and may contribute to migraine, but the culprit could also be the impurities from fermentation.  Found in red wine. Tension-type headache is often relieved by alcohol; vascular headaches are almost invariably made worse. The reason for this is that alcohol is a dilator of blood vessels and the pain of migraine arises from vessels that are already dilated.

Caffeine: It’s both a treatment and a trigger. Many migraine treatments, such as Cafergot, contain caffeine, which constricts painful blood vessels. But caffeine withdrawal and overuse can cause pain.

Environment: Humidity, extreme heat or cold, and changes in weather, temperature or barometric pressure may be triggers, along with bright or flashing lights, perfumes or odours, and changes in altitude.

Tension: You may have an episode during or after a stressful situation. There are some people who have ‘letdown’ migraines, so it’s the release of stress that triggers their migraines.

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