Doctors believe that genetic factors play a role in migraines. An acute migraine attack is usually triggered by so-called trigger factors, which are individually different. Read more to find out the causes of migraine.

what are causes of migraine

A migraine usually manifests itself in throbbing and pulsating headaches, which occur suddenly and intensify during physical activity. Besides, there are accompanying complaints such as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to noise or light. Usually, only one side of the head hurts during migraine attacks.

The exact causes of migraine have not yet been clarified. However, it is known that it is a neurological disease, and the predisposition to migraines is inherited. The brain of those affected quickly becomes tense. It is particularly sensitive to internal and external stimuli, which are also called trigger factors.

However, every patient responds differently to individual triggers. Stress, changes in the daily routine, or skipping meals are particularly common. The trigger causes a sudden change that the body has to adjust to.

What Exactly Happens With Migraines?

Causes of headache
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In migraines, the nerve cells in certain situations produce an overdose of messenger substances, including serotonin, which narrow the veins and start the inflammatory processes. The body tries to break down the overdose of messenger substances so strongly that only a little serotonin remains.

As a result, the meningeal vessels widen and become permeable to tissue-hostile substances. Small inflammations develop on the vessels, which then cause the migraines, I.e. the throbbing headache.

Common triggers or causes of migraine are:

1. Changes in the sleep-wake rhythm

2. Skipping a meal

3. Stress

4. Weather change

5. Hormonal fluctuations, especially during menstruation

6. Medication

7. Alcohol, especially red wine

8. Coffee

9. Food additives, like glutamate

10. Food such as cheese, chocolate, nuts and spices

11. Various drinks and foods have a very high histamine level and can trigger migraines. Histamine is a messenger that plays a vital role in the body’s immune system. It can trigger allergic reactions.

Changes in The Daily Routine

Irregular sleep timings are particularly delicate for people who suffer from migraines. The vacation and travel are also critical because adjusting to a different rhythm is one of the major causes of a migraine attack. Our food habits and timings also change with these factors, which again is a major cause of migraine.

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The level of stress does not seem to matter, but those affected react to the sudden onset or disappearance of stress factors. A migraine attack can also occur after a stressful situation. Sometimes even strong emotions, such as fear or grief, can act as a trigger factor.

causes of migraine headache


Many people who suffer from migraine report that the food they eat and when they eat, plays a crucial role in triggering the attack. Chocolate, cheese and citrus fruits are often mentioned as problematic foods. Caffeine withdrawal or alcohol, especially red wine and sparkling wine, can trigger a migraine attack.

The fact is that when it comes to food, skipping meals is a critical trigger factor. It is believed that along with the drop in blood sugar levels, other changes in the metabolism that may be the causes of a migraine attack.

Hormonal Changes

In women, hormonal factors often also play a role. Many migraine sufferers experience an attack before, during or after the period. The experts agree that hormonal changes are an important trigger factor for the very stressful headache attacks.

Weather Change & Climate Change

A sudden change in the weather or travelling to a country with entirely different weather conditions are one of the prominent causes of migraine. Climatic factors are also often mentioned as a major trigger for migraine attacks.

However, so far, there are no reliable studies that demonstrate a connection, but they are reported by most individuals who suffer from migraine. The problem is that you can often not escape these influences.

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Light, Sound and Smells

Blinding or flickering light can also trigger an attack in some migraine sufferers. The same applies to other sensory stimuli such as noise or strong smells. It happens because the nervous system of those affected is overloaded by the constant stimuli and reacts with a thunderstorm in the head called migraine.

People suffering from migraines should maintain a diary or a checklist to find out the causes of migraine in their body. It will not only help people find out the real cause of migraine but also help in the treatment. 

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