What are your migraine triggers?

What are your migraine triggers?

Decoding the triggers of a migraine

Migraine headaches are one of the most common neurological disorders in the world

Migraine headaches are one of the most common neurological disorders in the world with an estimated global prevalence of one in seven people, and affecting 140 million people in India alone. A trigger is a condition that acts as a precursor to set off a migraine attack. While hormones and environmental factors appear to play a significant role in triggering a migraine attack, there are other things that may also act as triggers. Similarly, while one of the triggers is enough to bring about an onset of a migraine, most people react to a combination of two or more of the common triggers listed below:

Alcohol & excessive smoking

Chocolate or products containing cocoa

Highly caffeinated beverages such as tea, cola and coffee

Stress at work or home

Sensory stimuli such as bright lights, loud sounds, and strong smells like that of perfume, paint thinner, second-hand smoke, etc

Changes in wake-sleep pattern

Onset of menstrual period

Medications such as oral contraceptives and vasodilators

You can avoid migraines by being aware of the triggers that particularly affect you. Keeping a diet/habit journal can help you identify foods and habits that may trigger your migraine episodes. Like they say, forewarned is forearmed: knowing the triggers and symptoms can help you to get to calmer environments with minimal auditory and visual sources, which can reduce symptoms and keep the migraine from forming. With timely consultation with a specialist, you can even get the correct medication prescribed that may help alleviate the severity of the migraine once it has started.

(The author is a clinical director at department of neuro-sciences, Narayana Health City)