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What is a Migraine Trigger

Migraine Triggers

A trigger is a factor, either external or internal, that can provoke a migraine attack. The trigger is not the actual cause of the headache rather it acts instead as a catalyst that sets in motion the complex chain of events that eventually culminates in a migraine attack.

A migraine trigger can be external stimuli such as certain types of foods and food additives, environmental factors such as bright light, air pollution, strong odors, loud noise or weather changes or a trigger can also come from within such as stress, hunger or fatigue.

Identifying migraine triggers

If you can identify the migraine trigger factors and subsequently minimize or avoid them then you can really reap many benefits for yourself such as avoiding expensive medications or non-pharmacological treatments that could have potential side effects and unpredictable effects.

If effort is put in, more than 50% of all migraine sufferers will eventually have the capability in identifying the trigger mechanism which is uniquely their own. It is a fact that susceptibility to migraine triggers can vary even in the same person. For example, women may be more susceptible to triggers during the premenstrual or postmenstrual period than at other times during their menstruation cycle.

Age factor

Ageing may also affect susceptibility to a trigger factor. Consumption of alcohol is a very good example of this phenomenon. There are some cases of people with a migrainous tendency who are able to tolerate very large alcohol quantities when they are young but then as they aged, they may find that even just one drink of an alcoholic beverage give rise to an agonizing migraine attack.

Gender factor

It is also a fact that some migraine triggers may affect the sexes unequally. For example, one study documented that sexual activity appear to trigger migraines more commonly in males while missing a meal, weather changes and the odor of cigarette smoke or perfume were much more common triggers of migraine in women than in men.