Many people around the world suffer from migraine—up to 1 billion worldwide. But how many of these people, you included, actually know exactly what triggers a migraine? Not nearly enough.
Migraines are so diverse and frequently misunderstood that people often don’t know what can trigger them. This is partially to blame on the large number of different things that can trigger a migraine. Just because something triggers your migraine, doesn’t mean that same thing triggers one for someone else.
The Migraine Research Foundation assigns common migraine triggers into five categories:
Things like physical activity, caffeine, stress, medications and sensitivity to light (even in blind subjects) can trigger a migraine. But we’re here to set the record straight with information from doctors who research these items, as there are some “triggers” that people think cause migraines, but they really don’t:
- Moodiness—Many women experience menstrual migraines. Approximately 50% of women who experience migraine say their menstrual cycle affects their migraines. And although hormonal fluctuations can trigger a migraine and moodiness, moodiness itself doesn’t trigger a migraine.
- Nausea—Some may confuse nausea as being a trigger because the intense, throbbing pain they experience with their migraine can often make them feel and get sick. But as we just stated, that makes nausea a symptom, not a trigger, of migraine.
- Blurred vision—This is yet another symptom of migraine. Along with causing pain and making you feel sick, migraines oftentimes cause changes in your senses, the most common one being sight. Vision changes, such as blurred vision, are regularly experienced among people who suffer from migraine with visual aura.
- Driving fast—Driving, even in the fast lane, isn’t a migraine trigger. But, what could be a migraine trigger is the intense daylight or glaring headlights you see as you drive at night. If sunlight or headlights are causing you pain, get some light sensitivity glasses to wear while you drive to help block those painful wavelengths of light.
You can learn what your migraine triggers are by keeping a migraine journal, and in this day and age, the easiest way to keep one is via a migraine tracking mobile app. A migraine can strike no matter where you are, so rather than having to carry around a notebook and pen everywhere you go, just pull out your phone for a more convenient solution to tracking your migraines.
There is no cure-all for migraines, and sometimes you simply can’t avoid certain triggers. But when you can clearly identify your migraine triggers, you and your doctor can choose the method that’s best for you to better manage your migraines.
Check out our quiz, “How Well Do You Know Migraine Triggers?” to see if you can win at the game of what is vs. what isn’t a migraine trigger.