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tell me what triggers your migraines?

(61 Posts)
saycheeeeeese Tue 05-Feb-13 09:10:18

Long term migraine sufferer here, been getting them since I was 16.

I suffer from Aura migraines so tend to know when im getting one now so unless its during the night I'm usually able to take medication to stop it developing.

When I got pregnant 2years ago they stopped completely but they are now back with a vengeance.

Going to see my GP as I was previously on beta blockers which helped, but just wondering what other people find are triggers for Aura migraines.


saycheeeeeese Tue 05-Feb-13 10:01:50


Flisspaps Tue 05-Feb-13 10:05:29

Oranges for me. Mandarins, clementines, satsumas and tangerines are fine but actual oranges are off limits.

I suspect hormones too, I had an aura migraine the other day during my period - haven't had either for 18 months (DS 9mo)

Caffeine triggers them for my brother.

HeathRobinson Tue 05-Feb-13 10:12:34

Low blood sugar and lack of sleep, mainly. Don't seem to have any food triggers, though I read years ago that red wine was potentially triggering, so I avoid that.

diamondee Tue 05-Feb-13 10:15:48

Hormones, lack of sleep or too much caffeine trigger mine. Af is very irregular but I always get a migraine two days before I start.

Consils Tue 05-Feb-13 10:18:05

monsodium glutinate (sp?)

shitmagnet Tue 05-Feb-13 10:20:25

msg, also natural glutemate (e.g. mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes...)

I did a 6mo elimination diet to get to the bottom of it as I had 2+ migraines per week after having ds (hormones are also involved obviously!).

shitmagnet Tue 05-Feb-13 10:20:57

classic migraine with aura that is

4FeckSake Tue 05-Feb-13 10:22:36

I also get the aura migraines, and can stop them developing if I take migraleve as soon as the flashing lights and spinnig circles start. If I leave it longer than about 15 mins though, nothing works.

My triggers:
Not eating enough
Caffeine, especially on an empty stomach
White or rose wine
Humid weather

These things dont automatically give me a migraine, but if I am tired, rundown or premenstrual, they can trigger one.

kiwigirl42 Tue 05-Feb-13 10:22:37

Hormones and oranges. Have had since age 7 (about 5 mthly) but became daily 6 yrs ago. Tried almost everything available and just about to have hysterectomy as induced menopause has had some effect on frequency.
If I drank a glass of orange juice I'd have a migraine within an hour. funnily enough, I've never like orange juice so only found out in my 40's

saythatagain Tue 05-Feb-13 10:23:18

White crumbly cheese (Cheshire, Wenslydale etc) is a definite trigger so haven't touched that for decades!
I had one a couple of days ago; I too get the aura and also the numbness that runs up one side of my body then down the other, violent heahache (of course) & awful, awful sickness.
It's a curse that's for sure. They aren't as regular as they once were.
I take the pink Migraleve's - sometimes.....sometimes I can catch it with these and just have the aura, which lasts about an hour.
On the other occasions, it's a case of going with the flow sad
I'm really, really hoping dd doesn't inherit them.
I must admit to getting slightly piqued when colleagues are work will announce they have one but carry on working. Inside I'm shouting 'you don't have a bloody migraine, you have a headache you dipstick'!
Sorry to ramble!

PrincessOfChina Tue 05-Feb-13 10:23:31

Hormones for me - I get one usually just before my period arrives, but the last few times it's been during. I have some meds I can take which usually see it off if I take them in time but I still feel almost weak for a couple of days afterwards. I do sometimes find that smells (coffee, strong perfume)can be a trigger but the hormones are usually in play too.

I didn't get any while pregnant or for about a year afterwards.

Lack of sleep
too much stress
too much coffee/caffine
food colourings - the artificial ones
too much sugar
Not eating
steroids and meds with a stimulant effect (so some asthma inhalers)
Needing new glasses prescription
Too much computer work
going to the cinema
flashing lights (laser/camera flashing in new reports etc)

and probably other causes. Migraines range from the mild aura ones to the utterly vile paralysis ones. With other types in between. Can't tell what i get until i get it as type not dependant on trigger.

"I must admit to getting slightly piqued when colleagues are work will announce they have one but carry on working. Inside I'm shouting 'you don't have a bloody migraine, you have a headache you dipstick'!"
I can carry on with a migraine - fully blown one which would floor other people as long as i get my meds soon enough and if it is needed. It has astounded doctors before. Mind you this is usually cos i keel over and people panic when i can't speak or move part of my body. Pain is just pain and can be worked around if you are used to high levels/regular occurring migraines. Although the term is over used by some due to misunderstanding of what it actually feels like.

saycheeeeeese Tue 05-Feb-13 10:34:34

Thats everyone, the msg thibg is interesting, I tend to get migraines more frequently when dieting, I wondered it is was using artificial sweetener perhaps?

When I have a migraine I cant talk coherently, I probably look and sound drunk.

They are a real curse and im petrified when I hear things like migraine sufferers being more likely to have a stroke.

catladycourtney1 Tue 05-Feb-13 10:39:48

Too much sleep causes mine. So does too little, but only if it's prolonged. Also stress and hormones.

I suspect oranges too, especially orange juice, but I've only really been paying attention to this since I've been pregnant so it might well just be hormones and a coincidence that I got terrible migraines when I was drinking bucketloads of juice which more or less stopped when I cut it out.

Yeah, side effect of the paralysis migraines is coma. That was one thing i wish I hadn't googled!!!!!
The sounding drunk is a key notifier that a migraine is about to hit for me.

I found dieting cause a blood sugar swing that triggered migraine. I tend to suddenly go deathly white and wobble on my feet before the migraine hits. The only diet I have found which I have been able to do without trigger migraine is the low carb one (biwi's bootcamp type thing). It actually cut the number of migraines i was having from 1 or 2 a week minimum/4or5/wkmax to virtually non. Might be worth a try?

catladycourtney1 Tue 05-Feb-13 10:52:04

BitchyDragons I can usually manage to work too when I have a migraine, but I work as a cleaner and I think the monotony and peace and quiet is helpful. I used to go into work with migraines when I worked in a cafe, because they assumed that anyone who rang in with a migraine was actually hungover, but I would spend most of my shift throwing up and complaining. If I get a really bad one, though, they can render me almost blind and my hands and feet go kind of dead and tingly, so I'm good for nothing. I haven't found any meds that work for me sad migraleve takes the edge off a bit, but they've got much, much worse in my pregnancy and nobody will prescribe me anything new or stronger for obvious reasons.

saycheeeeeese Tue 05-Feb-13 10:53:25

The blood sugar thing makes sense!

When I was pregnant I developed high bp then eclampsia, after the birth I had a high heart rate and continue to do so, my gp thinks it may all be linked. His parting words to me one day were that people with high heart rates are prone to migraines and dying younger.


saythatagain Tue 05-Feb-13 10:55:50

Agree Bitchy - I could work through the headache part (often do) but the throwing up/paralysis completely floors me.

lougle Tue 05-Feb-13 10:57:00

"I must admit to getting slightly piqued when colleagues are work will announce they have one but carry on working. Inside I'm shouting 'you don't have a bloody migraine, you have a headache you dipstick'!"

I get very frequent migraines and have 3 children. I have to keep going, I don't have a choice. I have one now, triggered by DD3 waking in the night and screaming for half-an-hour. I know it's a migraine, not a headache, because my eyebrows feel like their being crushed with the pressure and I feel like I've got a rod through my right eye. I'm also really rather pale, which always happens with my migraines. The nausea is bearable (I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually been sick since being an adult - my body doesn't 'do' vomiting).

Triggers for me are:

Hormones. I tend to get them in clusters before and during periods and during ovulation. I did go through a phase where I'd get daily migraines for 10 days, 2 days before my period, have a 2 day break, then get daily migraines for 10 days because I'd ovulated, then get a few days break before my period started again.

Lack of sleep, or disturbed sleep.


Irregular eating.

I get different types, too, which is confusing. I get some where I don't actually get a headache, but I lose my words and can't process what people are saying, can't think clearly.

I get ones like today, where apart from the banging headache, crushed eyebrows feeling and odd sensation at the bridge of my nose, I don't feel too bad.

I get others where I get terrible pain in my neck and tingling fingers.

With all of them, I get a variety of nausea, heightened sense of smell, sensitivity to noise, sensitivity to bright lights,etc.

If I can take a sumpatriptan injection as soon as the symptoms start and go to bed, then I can ward it off. Otherwise, it's just a case of riding it out.

freedom2011 Tue 05-Feb-13 10:58:14

not getting enough sleep
unhealthy food
not enough water

saycheeeeeese Tue 05-Feb-13 11:01:44

Mine can be light and smell triggered too, I took one yesterday because when I was driving the sun was glaring off the wet road sad

I took one at my parents last week, my mum gave ne what I thought was strong co codemol, turns out it was k pake. Worked a treat I can't remember very much after I took them, but id rather not have to deal with 2 a week, its soul destroying!

catlady I came off migraleve decades ago as it just didn't work. Had zolmitriptan for decades until it got to almost daily migraines for 6months straight a few years ago. The original Zomig was better then the new zolmitriptan generic. Now have amytriptyline (but you can't take the too together) for when the attacks are clustered and zomig for when random attacks when it settles. When the baby has arrived, if the migraines don't settled down there are other meds out there. But you have to be clear and stubborn with a gp that you don't want to be left med free for the migraines.

I go through phases of having horrible aura migraines. Each time it's been caused by stress. I know that 100% because when I look back, the first one has always coincided with a period of particular stress in my life - then that one seems to trigger off more every few weeks for the next few months.

When I've tried really hard to get my stress levels under control, the migraines have disappeared again.

birthdaycakenovice Tue 05-Feb-13 11:05:31

Nowadays garlic or raw onion triggers a nausea plus eyeball pain migraine.

Before pregnancy i had them every period. Pregnancy fixed them though so they must have been hormonal.

Stress and exhaustion cause aura now; my aura mimics a temporal lobe seizure (uncontrollable deja vu and short term memory/language loss). As soon as I feel that coming I leave work as it means I have reached my limit for stress.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Tue 05-Feb-13 11:07:52

Lack of sleep
Lack of food
Hormones. I now get them upto 4 days before I come on. Literally the second it starts its gone.

I suffer with Mirgrains and cluster headaches, they are awful things. Triggers for me include not enough sleep, stress and the weather! Esp when its humid. I seem to know when a storm is coming before it hits.

When i was younger, I had a lot of food triggers, but these seem to have got a lot better as i've got older. Chocolate, coffee, cheese all used to be triggers.

saythatagain Tue 05-Feb-13 11:10:13

Yes, stress plays a big factor.....easier said than done to sort that out though!
I was prescribes rizatriptin (sp) some years ago; melt on the tongue tablet but had no effect.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 11:11:06

Too much stress, hormones and flashing lights.

PeppermintPasty Tue 05-Feb-13 11:13:47

I'm aura too. Stress, tiredness, white wine and, I discovered last night sad, chocolate. I had thought I was safe with that.

I am newly diagnosed, can I ask some questions....?

I have been prescribed sumatriptans, but also find migraleve works ok. I woke up at 3am last night having guzzled dark choc while watching Lewis, and took 2 migraleve pinks.

I find that they allow me to function, ie stand up, drive, MN, oh and work, but eg this morning and right now I am in pain, and it will tend to last 4-5 hours til it subsides. I don't think of this as a migraine, as a fully blown one will knock me horizontal and also make me sick, but I take it this is the best I can hope for-diverting a migraine as soon as I feel one come on and then dealing with the aftermath.

I suppose that's a long winded way of asking whether there are any amazing treatments out there that I haven't been told about that will stop all the symptoms in their tracks?

saythatagain Tue 05-Feb-13 11:14:08

The remark in my initial post about people saying they have a migraine but then carry on working was more a point of someone saying they have flu when what they actually have is a bad cold.

Nicolaeus Tue 05-Feb-13 11:16:22

Not enough sleep
Too much chocolate and/or cheese
Not eating regularly

Fucking hate them. Am about to start new meds as am currently having one a week which is unbearable and I'm just not coping

upinthehills Tue 05-Feb-13 11:17:00

For me it is exercising too strenuously - seems my body has a limit - was getting about one a month - so not bad and liveable with. Mine were centred around pressure behind my eyes, I always got and aura and my eyeballs physically hurt like bad flu. They made me feel very sick too. On advice from the consultant at the headache clinic, I now take 75-150mg of soluble aspirin just before I go for a big run - not had a migraine since I started doing it about 10 months ago so it has totally worked for me (fingers crossed I've not jinxed it!)

Nicolaeus Tue 05-Feb-13 11:19:56

Peppermint - ive had migraines for over 16 years. Not yet found a treatment which stops all the symptoms, only ones which reduce the frequency and intensity.

Although the best 'treatment' was the last 4 months if pregnancy - I didn't even get a headache!!!! Bliss

catladycourtney1 Tue 05-Feb-13 11:24:16

BitchyDragons thanks, I'm definitely going to make them prescribe me something more than a painkiller if they don't go away. I've only been to the doctor about them a handful of times, because I always assumed they were hormonal and there was nothing I could do about them. The dr took me off the combined pill and left it at that, then I went back when they didn't stop and they prescribed me the migraleve and told me to try ice packs and dark rooms. But it's not the pain that's the issue so much as the sickness/flashing lights/numbess etc.

amillionyears Tue 05-Feb-13 11:27:53

Some fatty foods
Bad posture
Not being warm enough at night

Jambi Tue 05-Feb-13 11:27:53

I used to get them more frequently when I was younger (from about age 8, once a week-ish) but they were over within an hour or two. Now I suffer from hemiplegic migraines - left arm and leg goes numb, slurred speech, and what I can say makes no sense usually! Horrible, people think I'm having a stroke :/

Usually triggered by stress, lack of sleep, oranges, and dehydration, though occasionally one will turn up just to be annoying. Thankfully only one every couple of months now.

saythatagain Tue 05-Feb-13 11:31:35

Jambi - hemiplegic migraines; thank you for giving that information! I've never heard of that before. I wasn't aware there was a specific name.

OhMyNoReally Tue 05-Feb-13 11:35:17

I get bad migraines that last days even with a perscription and my triggers are, under or over sleeping, stress, skipping meals, ignoring the start of a headache (if I don't catch them when they start they blow up and make me really ill), caffeine, bright sunshine, certain wines and a change in atmospheric pressure.

PeppermintPasty Tue 05-Feb-13 11:35:53

I thought that would be the answer Nicolaeus sad thank you.

What do all of you take to combat them?

MildlyMiserable Tue 05-Feb-13 11:36:09

Aura migraines for me were caused by low blood pressure, upping my water and salt intake has worked wonders.

fieldfare Tue 05-Feb-13 11:36:39

Mine are normally hormone linked - the day before I ovulate and the day before I come on. Weather can trigger one though, especially oppressive stormy weather.

OhMyNoReally Tue 05-Feb-13 11:38:27

Yes dehydration! Can anyone tell me if they've ever had migraines when you see things like your looking through a heat sensor camera? I've had those very rarely and I can't stand up properly or walk and I feel like my head is in a vice just curious really as to if anyone else has had this? Thanks.

aliasjoey Tue 05-Feb-13 11:48:27

I don't know if what I get are migraines. They don't seem severe enough (as people always say that you can't carry on, would have to lie down in a dark room if it really was a migraine) and generally I can carry on as normal. I am not extra brave, they're just not usually that bad.

They are different from normal headaches though, because they are always round one eye (the same eye every time!)

They are usually brought on by bright sunlight & sometimes tiredness.

Flisspaps Tue 05-Feb-13 11:51:59

Yes, OhMyNoReally - I think they're aura migraines. I don't tend to get pain with mine, but I do get the aura and almost blindness in one eye, nausea, staggering and speech problems.

Afterwards I tend to feel exhausted and ravenous - some pain might come then too.

If I take ibuprofen at the merest hint of one, I can usually ward off the worst of it.

PeppermintPasty Tue 05-Feb-13 11:57:45

MildlyMiserable, can I ask-how did you find out about the blood pressure thing, your GP I presume? I have very low bp (not dangerously so) and find that v interesting. How exactly did you up your salt intake? Under advice I guess?

BusyTiredAndLoveIt Tue 05-Feb-13 12:02:24

Low blood pressure
Raging hormones

Touch wood I don't get them as often now but I used to get them 4-6 times a year and it would knock me off my feet for about three days

Not me but MIL's triggers are wine (esp white), chocolate, caffeine and cheese - all things she loves sad

slug Tue 05-Feb-13 12:10:24

1. Hormones. The week before my period is a danger time
2. Red wine
3. Coffee
3. Sugar
4. Stress. But not current stress, post stress so I can guarantee a cluster migraines after exams for example

I'm now, after many years, on a drug regime that works (mostly). At the first hint I take anti-inflammatories followed by a paracetamol/coedine mix. The drug side effect is sometimes almost as bad as the migraine so I do my best to avoid the coedine if possible. I'm left even more sluggish and incoherent than normal. I also have extremely sensitive skin on my face both before they come on and the day after a migraine. It's one of the reasons I wear contact lenses rather than glasses now.

The really bad ones are the ones that take hold while I'm asleep and can't catch them starting.

StainlessSteelCat Tue 05-Feb-13 12:13:40

Tiredness/stress - although I usually get the migraine just after the stress lifts, it's like a delayed reaction.

They have improved loads since my first pregnancy, I get them less often and less badly (no longer need a day or two in a dark room, I can talk and I don't see pretty patterns).

Another major improvement was getting anti-nausea tablets from GP. If I missed the warning signs then any pain killer was useless, but the anti nausea tablets meant I could then take migraleive (or generic equivalent) which would actually work. I think they were called buccastem, but am going on rather vague memories!

Have never linked them to any trigger foods/particular cycle time.

SCOTCHandWRY Tue 05-Feb-13 12:47:56

Tyramine is a big trigger for me - its occurs naturally in aged foods like mature cheese, dried meats, mould rind or blue cheese, processed meats , and in a lot of normal food when they start to get a bit "past it" in terms of freshness - pre made orange juice is not all that fresh for example!

Lots of people never work out that its the tyramine that is the cause, because your sensitivity to tryamine can be very variable, so a lump of blue cheese might only trigger a migraine if you are stressed or at a certain point in your cycle, or if you have eaten some other high tyramine foods in the day or two proceeding.

I only worked it was a trigger for me after I started eating paleo - no grain, no cheese, no processed foods, I had a big reduction in migraine frequency and it became a lot more obvious that if I cheated on my diet by eating blue cheese or marmite or other high tyramine foods, I'd get an aura starting anything between 15 mins (the marmite!) to about 18 hrs later.

Prior to going on the paleo diet I had so many migraines it was difficult to actually see any pattern of cause because I had so many of them - often several a week.

It might be worth all you frequent sufferers reading up on tyramine foods and cutting them out for a couple of months - with a bit of experimentation people usually find they are fine with a certain amount (I'm ok with coffee and tomatoes, cured meats as long as I don't overdo it), but there may be some things you need to avoid long term - likely to be blue, mouldy and aged cheeses, an sadly, marmite (I love the stuff, but it doesn't love me smile!)

Foggles Tue 05-Feb-13 13:02:18

All of my triggers have already been mentioned but I also hate the low winter sun shining in my eyes as it sometimes triggers an attack.

sleepywombat Tue 05-Feb-13 13:10:42

stress, lack of sleep, crying (could be linked to stress but will always get one the day after I've cried without fail), too much sugar, possibly gluten.

SCOTCHandWRY Tue 05-Feb-13 13:22:39

Yes Foggles, low winter sun also triggers me - especially if I'm driving , I'm short so the sun visor is useless at shielding me - am thinking of getting prescription Polaroid glasses for driving - I tried a relatives pair a few weeks ago and was amazed at how the glare just vanishes, not like normal sunglasses at all.

Foggles Tue 05-Feb-13 13:30:32

Probably worth investing in SCOTCH. I don't drive but have had to resort to wearing sunglasses out in winter. I feel a bit foolish but I don't care!

MegBusset Tue 05-Feb-13 13:38:15

I got LOADS as a teenager/early 20s, caused by stress/tiredness/dehydration. Then they pretty much stopped until I was pregnant with DS2, when I got them every bloody day from about 3mo onwards. Then they went away again but came back about 18m ago, this time triggered by caffeine. So I have had to go completely decaf <sob> but thankfully have only had one since giving up caffeine.

fubbsy Tue 05-Feb-13 13:45:05

Mine are

too little/irregular sleep

Caffeine seems to be the opposite of a trigger for me. If I have had coffee before the aura starts, the headache tends not to be as bad.

Nicolaeus Tue 05-Feb-13 14:30:07

Very interesting about tyramine - will look that up

rugbychick Tue 05-Feb-13 14:30:56

Lack of sleep and stress. I don't get auras, but it affects my eyesight. I know when one can start by pain behind my right eye

EzrasMummy Tue 05-Feb-13 14:43:03

Chocolate and caffeine, alcohol (even if it was poured on my clothes) - perfume, mouthwash (with alcohol) ,too much cheese, and any amount of mozarella. Also stress, hormones, too much sunlight if i dont have sunglasses.

Its the chocolate that upsets me the most. havent had any for over 20 years!

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