Facebook Pixel

Headaches? Avoid These 5 Common Triggers

By Expert HERWriter
Rate This
Headache related image B-D-S/PhotoSpin

Whether the pain in your head was due to stress, sinus pressure, tight muscles, or migraines, chances are you have had at least one headache in your lifetime. And that's enough to make you want to avoid the triggers at all costs.

Some people experience chronic headaches requiring medication while others only get them from time to time and can get away with minimal treatment. Whatever type you suffer from, here are five common triggers you should be aware of.

1) Changes in weather

Many people who get headaches and migraines can predict the weather before a trained weatherperson can. A drastic change from a high to a low front (and vice versa) or a sunny day to a cloudy/rainy day (again, or vice versa) can be a huge pain.

Once the weather is more stable, such as consistent sunny days or consistent rainy days, the headaches typically abate. Keep an eye on the 7-day forecast and look for a pattern in your headaches that tees up with weather patterns. This allows you to be proactive.

2) Blood sugar crashes

Skipping breakfast, having a late lunch, forgetting your afternoon snack, and eating high sugar/simple carbohydrate meals can all lead to blood sugar imbalance. Such an imbalance can manifest as hunger, irritability, shakiness, fatigue and of course, headaches. Pack snacks or protein bars to have with you in case of emergency.

3) Dehydration

Not drinking enough water can play a huge role in the development of a headache or migraine. Remember to drink water throughout the day especially if you are a big coffee, soda and caffeine drinker. These liquids can be dehydrating and can also trigger head pain in some people. Of course withdrawal headaches are common if you quit completely.

Also be aware that some people are sensitive to artificial sweeteners therefore diet sodas and other such drinks may worsen headaches.

4) Poor sleep

Proper sleep helps everything in the human body. Consistently sleeping less than seven hours per night can lead to worsened or more frequent headaches because the body is tired and not able to get proper relaxation and downtime to repair.

5) Examine your diet

It is well known that common triggers include aged cheeses, processed meats, wine (sorry, ladies) and chocolate (even more sorry). MSG, asparatame, dairy, gluten, soy and nuts can also induce a headache.

In order to know for certain which trigger affects you, consider cutting out the particular food completely for four weeks and keep a headache journal during that time. Upon re-introduction of the food pay attention to your head.

Many headache and migraine suffers have already figured out their common triggers and work to avoid them. This article may serve as just a reminder in those cases, to stay hydrated, eat regularly and make time for proper sleep.

For those looking to avoid medications if possible, try working on the common triggers listed above and see if they help you live head-pain free.


1. A.D.A.M Medical Encyclopedia. Migraine. Web. 9 September, 2013.

2. Miles, O. Migraine Causes and Triggers. Web. 9 September, 2013.

Reviewed September 10, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Headache Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!