Common Migraine Triggers and How to Avoid Them

Many people suffer day to day from the debilitating effects of migraines– and unfortunately they can be brought on by a number of things.

It’s important to understand what triggers migraines as this can help you take control and manage your symptoms more effectively. By identifying and avoiding common migraine triggers, you can reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines – leading to improved quality of life, increased productivity, and decreased dependence on medication.

Here we break it down with a list of migraine triggers so you know what to look out for.

So What Triggers Migraines?

There are many everyday triggers for migraines that surround us in our day-to-day lives. Knowing the common triggers of migraines will help you to make lifestyle changes and adjustments to help prevent or minimise the impact of these headaches.

However, it's important to note that triggers can vary from person to person, so it may be helpful to keep a diary to identify which triggers affect you. It’s also worth seeking help from your healthcare professional. Here are some of the most common migraine triggers to avoid.

Food Triggers

Often, migraines are caused by eating certain foods or ingredients. Some common food triggers for migraines include:

  • Caffeine: While caffeine can be a stimulant and provide a temporary boost of energy, excessive caffeine or abrupt withdrawal from it can trigger migraines in some people.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol – particularly red wine, beer, and spirits – can cause changes in the brain and blood vessels, causing a migraine.
  • Tyramine: Tyramine is an amino acid found in foods like fermented and pickled foods, aged cheeses, soy products, and chocolate. It can cause blood vessels in the brain to dilate, leading to migraines.
  • Nitrates/nitrites: These preservatives are commonly found in processed meats, such as bacon, ham, and hot dogs.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and saccharin, can be triggers for migraines in some people.

Environmental Triggers

Various factors in the environment can trigger a migraine headache. These could include:

  • Bright lights, especially flickering or flashing lights.
  • Noise: Loud noise, especially sudden or unexpected noise.
  • Strong odours: Certain strong odours, such as perfumes, cleaning products, and cigarette smoke.
  • Weather changes: Changes in barometric pressure and the weather.
  • Altitude changes: Sudden changes in altitude, such as flying in an aeroplane or going up a mountain.

Hormonal Triggers

Changes in our hormone levels can also trigger a migraine attack in some people. Some hormonal triggers include:

  • Menstrual cycle: Hormonal changes during a woman's menstrual cycle, such as fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels, can cause migraine headaches.
  • Menopause: Decreased levels of estrogen during menopause can trigger migraines in some women.
  • Hormonal medications, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, can trigger migraines.

How to Avoid Migraines

Understanding your personal migraine triggers, making positive lifestyle changes, and choosing an effective treatment method can help prevent migraines and reduce their impact on your daily life.

By working with your doctor to determine the best approach for you, you can create a personalised plan for managing migraines and finding relief from their symptoms. But here are some of our tips to get started.

Lifestyle Changes

Making changes to one's lifestyle can help reduce the frequency of migraines. Some lifestyle changes that can help include:

  • Getting enough sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Regular exercise: Regular physical activity, such as going for a walk or jogging, can help reduce stress and improve overall physical and mental health.
  • Stress management: If an individual with migraines knows that stress is a trigger for them, they can take steps to manage their stress levels through exercise, mindfulness practices, or other methods. Meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can also help reduce the risk of migraines.
  • Healthy eating habits: Eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding food triggers, such as those listed above, can help reduce the risk of migraines.


In addition to lifestyle changes, there are several types of medications that can help prevent migraines or stop them once they start. Some medications commonly used to prevent migraines include:

  • Beta-blockers: These medications can help prevent migraines by slowing down the heart rate and reducing blood pressure.
  • Antidepressants: Certain types of antidepressants, such as tricyclic antidepressants and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, can help prevent migraines.
  • Calcium channel blockers: These medications relax blood vessels and improving blood flow.
  • Anti-CGRP medications: These are a new class of medications designed specifically to prevent migraines by blocking the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) molecule, which has been linked to migraines.

It's important to talk to a doctor to determine the best prevention strategy, as the type and frequency of migraines can vary from person to person. A combination of lifestyle changes and medications may be the most effective approach for some individuals.

Prevent Migraines Naturally with CEFALY

Another effective way to prevent migraines is to use CEFALY. CEFALY has been clinically tested and shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines.

The CEFALY Enhanced is a non-invasive device that uses electrical stimulation to target the trigeminal nerve, which is involved in the pain pathways of migraines. By stimulating this nerve, CEFALY can help reduce the occurrence of migraines.

CEFALY offers two modes of use – acute treatment, and preventive treatment – providing users with flexibility in how they manage their migraines. To find out more about how you can prevent migraines naturally, get in touch with us at CEFALY today.

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