migraine headachesare different for each person. Triggers include changes in daily routine, foods, hormones, medicines, lights, odors, or other things in the environment.
The most common migraine triggers are:
- Stress (either during a stressful time or right after stress subsides).
- Menstrual cycle in women.
- Changes in your routine, such as how much you exercise or how much you sleep.
- Fasting or skipping meals.
- Changes in the weather, heat, or high humidity.
- Bright lights, glare, or reflected sunlight.
- Foods, such as chocolate.
- Alcohol—all alcohol, or one type of alcohol in particular, like beer or wine.
- Odors such as perfume, paint, dust, and certain flowers.
Other migraine triggers include:
- Strong emotions, such as depression or anxiety.
- Pushing yourself too hard when you exercise.
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG).
- Nitrates, which are found in cured meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and cold cuts.
- Tyramines, which are found in pickled or marinated foods, aged cheeses, and yeast.
- Smoking or being around someone who smokes.
- Excessive caffeine or caffeine withdrawal.
- Birth control pills and hormone therapy.
- Medicines that expand (dilate) the blood vessels (vasodilators), such as nifedipine, and nitrates.
Current as of: May 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.