10 Causes of Migraines You Probably Don’t Know

If you’ve ever had a migraine, then you know just how painful it is. Migraines, unlike regular headaches, lead to extreme pain and sensitivity to light, smells, and sounds. Sometimes, they can cause dizziness and nausea, too. That’s why it’s so important to know what can cause them.

The first cause of migraines shows just how closely the mind and body are connected…

1. Physical Changes & Changes in Routine

For people who suffer from migraines, keeping a regular routine for their bodies is very important. Activities like sudden physical exertion, unexpected periods of rest, or too many stimuli can trigger migraines because the body relies on a natural balance. Therefore, upsetting this balance can lead to migraines.

Aside from physical stressors, there are other causes of migraines to watch out for, like the following…

2. Sensory Stimuli 

Sensory stimuli are a leading cause of migraines. Depending on the individual, anything from noise to touch can be a trigger. While an individual is suffering from a migraine, these stimuli usually worsen the headache. Therefore, while an individual is experiencing a migraine, any additional stimuli to the nervous system can lead to worsening symptoms. 

In addition to stimuli, food is another common cause of migraines…

3. Diet

Dietary choices are directly linked with migraines, especially when they lead to dehydration. Foods commonly linked with migraines include salty, processed, preserved, and artificially sweetened foods. Therefore, healthy diet modifications are a great way to reduce the risk of migraines.

Even the following can trigger migraines…

4. Medications

Medications come with a wide array of side effects, including migraines. Specifically, medications like vasodilators, including nitroglycerin, as well as oral contraceptives, can trigger migraines.

There are a few more bodily activities that can lead to hormonal changes that also affect migraines, once again further showing just how closely the mind and body are connected…

5. Sexual Activity

Sexual activity is closely linked to migraines and headaches, due to changes in blood flow and brain chemistry, as well as physical exertion. Like a few of the other causes on our list, sexual activity can either cause a migraine or, in some cases, temporarily relieve one. That means sexual activity is another migraine trigger that is heavily dependent on the individual who is experiencing it.

This next cause affects nearly half the population…

6. Hormonal Changes in Women

Many women experience hormonal changes, like during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Medication like birth control changes the body’s hormonal levels, too, which means it can be triggering.

The balance of hormones in the body controls and regulates many bodily functions. In addition to a few obvious functions, such as menstruation, these hormones can also affect the emergence of migraines.

While hormonal changes can lead to migraines, there are non-biological reasons for them as well…

7. Alcohol

Because alcohol is a diuretic and can lead to dehydration, consuming too much can trigger migraines in some individuals. Even consuming a small amount of alcohol or a less-preferred type of alcohol can trigger a migraine in some people.

Alcohol isn’t the only beverage that can trigger migraines, though…

8. Coffee

Caffeinated coffee is another drink that can lead to migraines. Like alcohol, coffee is a diuretic, meaning it can have the same migraine-triggering effect (dehydration) as alcohol in this regard.

Having said that, caffeine restricts blood vessels in the brain, which can relieve migraine pain. This is why caffeine is a common ingredient in migraine pain relief medicine. Therefore, coffee is a sort of double-edged sword when it comes to treating migraines.

It turns out other daily habits can impact the risk of getting a migraine…

9. Sleep Changes

Sleep is a critical component of good health. If a person’s sleep patterns become disrupted, they can experience migraines along with other serious consequences, such as an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Sleep is fickle when it comes to migraines. Even too little sleep or too much sleep, jet lag, and interrupted rest can cause migraines. The body needs proper amounts of sleep to recharge and support itself. But, as these rhythms break down, migraines can set in.

Unlike the previous risk factors, this next one is out of anyone’s control…

10. Weather

Depending on the individual, shifts in weather patterns, even days beforehand, can cause migraines. Changes in humidity, barometric pressure, temperature, and other weather conditions can onset severe migraines. Sometimes, for example, people notice a migraine coming on right before a storm.

What’s most important for people suffering migraines to remember?…

Final Thoughts

As we have seen, migraines can be caused by a variety of conditions, but there are plenty of ways to curb these pesky headaches.

Doctors often recommend making a “migraine journal,” trying different medications, drinking plenty of water each day, and tracking food intake.

When you feel a migraine setting in, or after it has ended, journal about the experiences that lead up to it. Focus on things like diet, sleep, weather, and mental health. Over time, this journal will help you spot which of these events can trigger your migraines. 


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