What are Triggers of Migraines?


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What causes migraines is still somewhat of a mystery. Doctors believe that it has to do with the blood vessels in the head contracting and then expanding. This happens from time to time to most people, but with migraineurs this tends to be more intense and painful. The exact cycle of events taking place in our brains during a migraine attack is still not fully understood.

You Should Know Your Triggers

Knowing what triggers attacks is a major step towards preventing them. If you can avoid the triggers, then you can avoid the pain and suffering of the attacks, right? Well, not quite.

There are many possible triggers for migraines and they differ from one migraine sufferer to another. Sometimes you're not dealing with one single trigger at a time, but with a combination of potential triggers, which makes it all the more difficult to determine what exactly it is that you need to avoid.

Of course, knowing that something may trigger your migraine doesn't always mean you can avoid it. Some possible triggers, such as certain weather conditions, or certain times of the month for us ladies, may be unavoidable.

However, preventing even some of your potential migraine episodes can be a blessing. Every migraine avoided means less suffering and an enhanced quality of life. It won't mean that your migraines are cured, but that your condition becomes more manageable.

Possible Triggers of Migraine

The list is very long and if you're serious about identifying your own migraine triggers, you need to look at ideas from more than one website, as well as do some thinking of your own… I will try and list a few common triggers to get you going.

Food-Related Triggers

First of all, for many people, going without food can trigger a migraine. For some migraineurs skipping a meal is all it takes.

Cheese (especially the old smelly type), alcohol, nuts and alas, chocolate are the prime suspects in the food department. Also, anything that contains nitrates (such as sausage and hot dogs), Monosodium Glutamate and certain artificial sweeteners.

The Menstrual Cycle

Many female migraineurs report a correlation between their menstrual cycle and migraine episodes, often with migraines coming prior to, or during menstruation. Another fact that links migraines and female hormones is that many women no longer suffer from migraines once they reach menopause. For some migraine sufferers, though not all, pregnancy can bring about a change in the frequency and intensity of migraines.

Environmental Triggers

You may find it hard to avoid them, but for some people, environmental changes can trigger a migraine. Changes in temperature, humidity and barometric pressure are all potential migraine triggers. A change in altitude is also a possible trigger.

Stress and Depression

Blaming your mental state for migraines is a wee bit problematic. You see, for centuries, female migraineurs have been looked upon as sensitive, or even hysterical, women with a bad headache. Today, migraine is acknowledged as a serious neurological condition and patients are no longer "blamed" for their condition. The national Migraine Awareness Group (MAGNUM), takes special care in their website to stress that migraine is a purely physiological disorder and not a psychological one.

However, many other resources include stress and depression on the list of possible triggers. Some even go to say that a migraine maybe triggered by the end of a stressful situation, so that when it's time to relax – your body lets go… and gets hit with a migraine.

Keeping a Good Record

You may find it easy enough to identify what triggers a migraine for you. Maybe it's as simple as the date of the month, eating lots of chocolate, a spell of dry weather or skipping a meal. Or maybe that explains only some of your migraines, but not all of them.

If you're not sure what triggers your migraines, you may want to start keeping a record. Like a little migraine diary. Following a migraine, you will have to write down what happened during the 24 hours previous to the attack. Make sure you note your schedule for that day, what you had to eat, how much sleep you got, environmental conditions and your general state of mind.

A final note: Please remember that a good doctor is your best ally when it comes to diagnosing, preventing and treating migraines. The information contained in this article is for educational and entertainment purposes only. In no way is the author of this article engaged in providing medical advice via this article and she will not be liable for any damages of any kind arising from the use of this article.

Copyright © Migraine-Notes.com – All Rights Reserved

Anne Moss is a web developer and a freelance writer. She is also a migraine sufferer and the owner of Migraine-Notes.com. Visit Migraine-Notes.com for more articles about Migraines, Anne's migraines blog and personal stories by fellow migraineurs. This article may be reproduced on your website, provided that you keep this resource box and an active link to www.migraine-notes.com

What is a Migraine?
It is estimated that up to 26 million Americans suffer from Migraine headaches and it is considered one of the top reasons for missed work and loss of production. Among these, 8 million suffer from debilitating pain every year. These attacks render them incapacitated to the point that they can no longer perform their daily activities.

In fact, about 60 million work days are collectively lost every year, costing the United States some 17 billion dollars because of the lost time and medical expenses. More women than men suffer from migraine.

A debilitating Migraine headache can last from 4 to 72 hours and can be accompanied by intense pain, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, vertigo, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. After affects of a migraine can leave the sufferer drained and without energy accompanied by a low grade headache with oversensitivity to light and sound and can last for another 24 hours.

Most Migraine headaches sufferers cannot identify what triggers the headaches and a long and varied list exists that differs with each individual. The same factors do not necessarily trigger a Migraine on a consistent basis either. Statistically, women are more prone to Migraines than men with claims that the decline in estrogen during menstruation is the trigger and the onset can begin immediately to a few days delay.

Though all migraines are headaches, all headaches are not migraines. There can be many causes like high blood pressure, cervical spondylosis and poor eyesight being a few. So every one with headaches should not think he is suffering from migraine.

The broad criterion of diagnosis is if you have two or more of the following symptoms during a attack it is probable you are suffering from migraine
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