Migraine Triggers

Hormonal Triggers

More than half of women with migraines have more headaches around or during their menstrual cycle. This is often called "menstrual migraine." However, just a small fraction of these women have migraines only during this time. Most have migraine headaches at other times of the month as well.
How the menstrual cycle and migraines are linked is still unclear. We know that just before the cycle begins, levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, go down sharply. This drop in hormones may trigger a migraine, because estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that affect a woman's pain sensation.

Other Migraine Triggers

In addition to these established migraine factors, some people have unique environmental migraine triggers that they need to avoid. Regardless of whether their headaches are a direct result of exposure to the trigger or an indirect result of the stress and anxiety of being exposed to the migraine trigger, their headaches are still very real, and so is their pain.
This is one reason why it is important to keep a migraine diary. By keeping a diary, you will have a better understanding of physical, psychological, and environmental factors that may trigger a migraine in you.

Final Thoughts

The best way to prevent migraines is to find out what events or lifestyle factors, such as stress or certain foods, set off your headaches. Try to avoid or limit these triggers as much as you can. Since migraine headaches are more common during stressful times, find healthy ways to cope with stress. Talk with your healthcare provider about starting an exercise program or taking a class to learn relaxation skills.
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