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Migraine – Triggers and Treatment

Differentiating between a headache and migraine can be challenging. Most people often assume their migraine is just a normal headache. Headaches are of 4 types, sinus, tension, migraine, and cluster, and are classified into primary and secondary. 

Migraine falls under the primary type of headache. Primary means that the headache is caused due to another condition or disease. If you search for Rockville migraines specialists, you will come across various doctors who will guide you on the right treatment. However, before deciding the appropriate treatment for migraines, here is a brief overview of migraines and triggers. 

What Is a Migraine? 

Migraine is a severe headache; this headache can bring down your daily productivity. These headaches come along with nausea, vomiting, and can lead to a feeling of illness. 

A migraine pain happens because of excitable cells of the brain. These cells secrete serotonin and narrow the blood vessels. This constriction of blood vessels can reduce the blood flow and cause a migraine attack. 

Serotonin is commonly known as a happy hormone, but it also affects the vascular system by vasoconstriction or vasodilation. This significantly affects how the body reacts to wound healing or any process requiring adequate blood flow. 

What Triggers a Migraine?

What exactly triggers a migraine is not known, but we have a list of the most common triggers of a migraine attack: 

  • Stress- 80% of patients with migraines have stress as a common reason for a migraine attack. 
  • Alcohol- Alcohol can cause stress, and stress can further cause a migraine. Alcohol can provoke two types of headaches, the first while drinking and the second is delayed hangover headache. Research has also shown that red wine can immediately trigger migraines, while vodka is the least migraine-provoking drink. 
  • Allergies- Exposure to allergens leads to the release of chemicals by the immune system; these can trigger a migraine.
  • Hormonal fluctuations- This is usually seen in women who have started menstruating or during their menstrual cycle. 67% of women who enter menopause have a highly reduced frequency of migraine attacks, as the hormonal levels become constant.
  • Sleep deprivation- Lack of sleep leads to the production of proteins by the body, which is known to cause migraine attacks. 
  • Strong fragrances- Strong odor can cause acute migraine attacks. 25-50% of patients have reported pleasant or unpleasant odors to be their migraine trigger.
  • Food additives- 10-15% of patients report food additives as their migraine trigger, but for many people, it is normal to have food additives. 

Migraine triggers vary from one person to another. Therefore, a trigger for one person may not be a trigger for another. 

Migraine Treatment 

Migraine treatment is usually medication to relieve the pain or prevent future attacks of migraine. Medications for migraine have been divided into two categories: 

  • Pain-relieving- These drugs are taken during an attack to calm down migraine symptoms and help the person relax.
  • Preventive- These drugs are taken daily to prevent any future attacks or reduce the frequency of attacks. 

If you get frequent headaches and a few illnesses along with it, do not ignore the signs and consult your doctor. 

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