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Migraine Triggers

While the exact cause of migraines is unknown, many triggers have been identified as contributing to their onset.  The trick is finding out what is your trigger.   

Some of the more common triggers for migraines include:

  • Stress

  • Lack of sleep or disrupted sleep patterns

  • Certain foods or beverages (such as alcohol, red wine, aged cheeses, MSG, and processed meats)

  • Skipped Meals

  • Changes in weather or altitude

  • Certain medications including Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Antidepressants, Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), Nasal Steroids and Decongestants, some Oral Contraceptives, and Hormone Replacement Therapy

  • Bright lights or loud noises

  • Caffeine withdrawal

  • Hormone fluctuations from Menstrual Periods or Menopause. 

  • Strong smells like perfume

  • Physical Exertion

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menstrual calendar

Menstrual Trigger

One of the most common triggers for migraines is fluctuating hormones, particularly in women. This can include the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, and taking certain types of hormone-based medications, such as birth control pills. In fact, some women experience migraines specifically around the time of their menstrual period, a condition known as menstrual migraines.

Taking continuous birth control pills can help reduce the frequency and severity of menstrual migraines by decreasing the frequency of mensuration from every month to just several times a year.  However, it's important to note that birth control pills are not suitable for everyone and can have their own side effects, so it's essential to discuss this option with a healthcare provider.

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