How can I determine what triggers my migraines?

Many attacks of migraine have identifiable triggers, although many won’t. Often a migraine occurs during a “perfect storm,” like missing a meal during the time of menstruation. It is also important to recognize that the triggers are not the cause of the headache; therefore if one had an attack following a glass of red wine, and another time had wine without producing a headache, it does not mean that the wine was irrelevant the first time.

Steven A. Meyers, MD
Diagnostic Radiology
It is important to remember that most patients never identify a specific trigger. Also, if you find a trigger, it may not always be consistent. A particular food may only trigger an attack once in awhile, which can make it even more difficult to manage. Common triggers include alcohol, aged cheeses, sausage meats, organ meats, heavily processed foods containing MSG, chocolate, and NutraSweet. Other triggers include stress, weather changes, alteration in sleep patterns, missing meals, and the menstrual cycle.

Keep a diary. Every time you have a headache, record it on a calendar. Think back over the past 24 hours and record what you ate or anything that stands out as unusual. Over time you may find a pattern.

Continue Learning about Migraine Headache Causes

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.