5 Migraine Triggers You Probably Didn't Think Of

There are many things that can trigger a migraine to those who are prone to them. Triggers can include foods, drinks, certain physical activities and exercise, sleep deprivation, stress, odors, bright lights, hormones and even medications can bring one on. Here are 5 surprising triggers you probably wouldn't have thought of. It's important to keep in mind migraine triggers can vary from person to person. 


Risk Factors for Migraines

Risk factors for migraines can be rooted in genetics. More studies are underway and needed to understand the genetic undertones in the development of migraines. If you're immediate family members suffer, you're most likely at risk. 

Triggers for migraines include:

  • Hunger 
  • Drinking alcohol (especially red wine)
  • Eating foods high in MSG, or high in caffeine (coffee, tea, colas) 
  • Menstrual period
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stress in your work and personal life
  • Factors in the environment, such as glaring lights, strong smells, weather changes or high altitude

5 Surprising Migraine Triggers

1. Sex: Any kind of intense physical exercise can bring on a migraine. Unfortunately sex is no exception. It's actually quite common that "sex headache" is the nickname. 

2. Sleeping in: It's quite confusing that sleep deprivation is a risk factor but surprisingly so is too much sleep. It seems getting more rest would always be a good thing but drastic changes in sleep patterns could provoke a migraine. Deemed a "weekend headache," sleeping in can cause this. It's important for those prone to migraines to establish a consistent routine sleeping pattern which may help prevent migraines. 

3. Foods: Cheese and wine are among the most prominent foods that can trigger migraines. Both aged cheese and specifically red wine contain a compound called tyramine, which studies have shown could be a migraine trigger for some people. Soy products, fava beans, hard sausages and smoked fish also contain this. 

4. Perfume: Odors are a risk factor and surprisingly not just the bad ones. Some people have adverse reactions to certain sounds, sights and smells especially strong perfume and other strong odors, which can be difficult to avoid in social situations. 

5. Weather changes: High humidity, hot temperatures, bright sunlight and barometric pressure changes can be a potential trigger for migraines in some people.