Mental Health

What could be the causes and triggers of a migraine? Types, Symptoms, and prevention method.


What is a migraine?

A migraine is usually a medical term that involves severe, recurring headaches and other symptoms. However, migraine is also a common health condition, affecting around 1 in every 5 women and around 1 in 15 men. Many people have these kinds of symptoms such as feeling sick, being sick, and increase sensitivity to light and sound.

In 2018, researchers found that more than 15% of adults in the United States had experienced migraine problems. In the same kind, figures from 2015 found that migraine affects just over 19% of females and 9% of males.

Types of migraine

1. Migraine without aura

In the world, 70-90% of people with a migraine experience this type.

2. Migraine with aura

This is a common type of migraine featuring additional neurological symptoms.

3. Chronic migraine

If you feel a headache problem for more than 15 days per month, you may have chronic migraine.

4. Menstrual migraine

This is a specific condition, where the timing of attacks is linked to the menstrual cycle.

5. Hemiplegic migraine

This is a rare condition involving temporary weakness on one side of the body.

6. Migraine with brainstem aura

This is an unusual and rare sub-type, formerly known as basilar-type migraine.

7. Abdominal migraine

This migraine is mostly seen in children, a syndrome that may be associated with a migraine.

8. Cyclical vomiting syndrome

A cyclical vomiting syndrome that may be associated with a migraine.

What could be the causes and triggers of a migraine?

Genetic features may also play a vital role, as having a family history of a migraine is a common risk factor.

Some migraine triggers may vary but include:-

  • Hormonal changes: Some hormonal changes such as around the time of menstruation.
  • Emotional triggers: Some emotional triggers such as stress, depression, anxiety, and excitement.
  • Dietary factors: Some dietary factors including alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, cheese, citrus fruits, and foods containing the additive tyramine.
  • Medications: Medications factors such as sleeping pills, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and some birth control pills.
  • Environmental factors: These factors including flickering screens, strong smells, secondhand smoke, loud noises, stuffy rooms, temperature changes, and bright lights.

Some other possible triggers include:-

  • tiredness
  • a lack of sleep
  • poor posture
  • physical overexertion
  • low blood sugar
  • jet lag
  • irregular mealtimes
  • dehydration etc.

Symptoms of migraine

Symptoms of migraine tend to occur in 3 stages:-

  • Before the headache: According to past research, nearly 20-60% of people experience symptoms that start hours, or possibly days, before the headache. These symptoms may include physical and sensory symptoms, such as aura.
  • During the headache: During this period, alongside a mild to severe throbbing or pulsing headache, symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and nasal congestion.
  • Resolution: Irritability and tiredness problem may last another 2 days, and this period is sometimes called the “migraine hangover.”

Other common features are:-

  • Headache that worsens during physical activity or straining
  • An inability to perform regular activities due to internal pain

How to prevent migraine

It is not always possible to prevent migraine problems, there are some ways to reduce their frequency and severity.

Medication to prevent migraine episodes

The following drugs may help reduce the number of episodes to prevent migraine episodes.

  • topiramate, and antiseizure drug
  • propanolol, for treating high blood pressure
  • antidepressant medications
  • botox
  • gepants

These medications may take several weeks to see an improvement. The way of treatment in children may be different from that in adults. A medical professional can advise on the best option.

Identifying and avoiding triggers

Particularly, it may be helpful to avoid:-

  • low blood sugar
  • stress
  • foods, such as chocolate and any that contain tyramine
  • medications, including HRT and some birth control pills

However, the given strategies can also help reduce the frequency of migraines:-

  • getting enough sleep
  • reducing stress
  • improving posture
  • drinking plenty of water etc.