Healthy Lifestyle

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What triggers migraines?

A common type of headache characterized by throbbing pain on one side of the head, migraines affect millions of people across the globe. Many people who suffer from migraine headaches get a warning that one is coming on. That warning manifests itself in a series of symptoms known as an aura, a group of vision disturbances. In addition, migraine sufferers may experience nausea, sensitivity to light and vomiting. While such symptoms are well known among migraine sufferers or those closest to them, what exactly triggers these painful headaches is less widely known. According to the United States National Library of Medicine, migraines may be triggered by the following factors:

* Loud noises or bright lights

* Alcohol

* Stress or anxiety

* Smoking

* Caffeine withdrawal

* Changes in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle or changes triggered by the use of birth control pills (migraines occur more often in women than men)

* Missed meals

* Changes in sleep patterns

* Certain foods, including those that contain monosodium glutamate, or MSG; baked goods; chocolate; nuts; peanut butter; dairy products; onions; foods containing tyramine, including red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, and certain beans; and certain fruits, including avocado, banana and citrus fruits.

Contrary to popular belief, migraine headaches are not a byproduct of brain tumors or other serious medical problems. That misconception likely stems from the similarity of certain symptoms of a migraine to symptoms of brain tumors and other serious ailments. More information about migraines is available at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.