Here Are All The Annoying Things That Can Trigger Migraines

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
It's estimated that about 16% of adults in the U.S. get migraines, and they hit three times as many women than men. And according to new research, almost everyone who gets these throbbing, nausea-inducing headaches has their own individual combination of specific triggers.

For the study, published online last month in the journal Cephalalgia, researchers looked at data for 326 people who had been asked in a previous study to keep migraine diaries for 90 days. Every night, the participants had to record whether or not they experienced any of 33 major triggers for migraines, but weren't asked explicitly whether or not they considered those things triggers. That included things related to sleep, stress, food, alcohol, menstruation, and the weather (all of them are listed in the figure below).

With the help of headache-data company Curelator, the researchers were able to figure out which of the triggers were most common. Of the original 33, they found eight that significantly increased participants' chances of having a migraine. Menstruation and neck pain were the most significant, followed by tiredness, bright lights, loud noise, too much sleep, restless sleep, and odors.

What going through the diary procedure made clear was that participants often had more than one trigger. On average, patients actually had four. And the majority of participants (85%) each had an individual combination of triggers that wasn't shared by anyone else in the study.

"This new analysis provides information about the correlation between migraine attacks and a broad spectrum of possible trigger factors for each individual patient," explains Christian Wöber, MD, one of the study authors, in a press release. "And is, therefore, a step towards personalized migraine management." So, you special snowflake, there's even more evidence that it's worth figuring out yours with the help of a professional.
Photo: via Peris et al. (2016) in Cephalalgia.
Advertisement

More from Body

It's hard to ignore that we are at a pivotal moment in history in terms of women's reproductive rights. But in addition to being an issue at the forefront ...
UPDATE: Unfortunately, the video in question has been removed for copyright infringement, but you can take a look at a teaser here. If you recall, back ...
Brittany Mostiller still remembers the moment when she realized that she couldn’t afford an abortion. “I didn’t know anything about this Hyde Amendment ...
Pregnant women get a lot of advice about motherhood, even when they don't ask for it. And in the first episode of Expecting, from Refinery29's comedy ...
Earlier this year, Lena Dunham was hospitalized to treat a ruptured ovarian cyst, unintentionally shedding light on an often ignored area of women's health...
If your eyes tend to glaze over at first mention of the latest Health Hack That Will Change Your Life, we can’t really blame you. Although we are literally...
We're in plus-size pool party heaven
(Paid Content) Stress sweat is different from regular sweat in that it feeds off bacteria and causes odor. Then you start to think about it — producing ...
Summer is over (for real). So it's time to face the facts: You're going to get a cold. Actually, you're probably going to get colds — plural. The average ...
The pelvic exam — complete with the stirrups and the speculum — isn't anyone's favorite thing about having a vagina. But it's really important because it's...
A few years ago, two Michigan urologists noticed a curious pattern among their patients: Upon returning from a Disney World vacation, patients would ...
It shouldn't be this complicated, all this body stuff: size discrimination, weight bias, the multi-factioned movement fighting to reverse it. At its core ...
On principle, I am skeptical of any internet health recommendation that has the word “challenge” tacked on to the end of it. These wellness fads come and...
Although he had been dead for decades, Jim Morrison said something a few years ago that shocked people. He wasn’t speaking from beyond the grave, but in ...