Anyone who has had their life interrupted by a migraine knows that it's something they never want to happen again. “Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and can be so severe that the pain is disabling," according to the Mayo Clinic.
Migraines cause “severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on just one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.”
There are usually triggers that you can observe in yourself that let you know a migraine is starting. There are other triggers that, if avoided, may help prevent migraines.
Here are some common triggers to look out for:
Changes in our hormones, especially drops in estrogen, before your period can be a trigger. Getting help to normalize your estrogen levels may help avoid it. Talk to your OB/GYN about whether low-dose birth control pills might help.
Alcohol can be a trigger for migraines. One way you can identify this as a trigger is if you get a hangover-like symptoms after just one drink.
"The good news is that this cause tends to be very specific," said Andrew Michael Blumenfeld, MD, director of the Headache Center of Southern California. "People may do fine with vodka rather than beer, for instance."
Red wine in particular can be an alcoholic trigger for migraines. According to WebMD, “One out of 3 people who have migraines say alcohol is a trigger. Booze's effects have been proven in studies, says Noah Rosen, MD, director of the Headache Center at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute.”
There is some controversy as to whether aged cheeses and processed meats can be triggers. Rosen calls these "speculated" foods, because there's no scientific proof that they trigger migraines. But many people believe they do.
Some food additives, especially monosodium glutamate (MSG), have also been identified as triggers for migraines.
Drop in your blood sugars from missing meals
When you miss meals, it causes your blood sugar levels to drop.