Migraine Triggers And Risk Factors: The Quick Guide

This article will teach you migraine triggers and risk factors that cause migraine headaches that can help in preventing migraines.

Last Updated on January 3, 2021 by Lori Geurin

Migraine headaches can come on quickly and, seemingly, without warning. But if you’ve had migraines for a while you start to see signs when a migraine attack is on its way. And even though migraines are not fully understood, we know the environment and genetics are involved. Identifying and avoiding your triggers can help you prevent future attacks.

So let’s take a look at some factors that could be causing your migraines.

Migraine Triggers And Risk Factors

Migraine Triggers

  • Strong or unusual smells
  • Bright or flickering lights, especially fluorescent ones
  • Loud sounds
  • Food triggers including aspartame, nuts, citrus fruits, red wine, soft cheeses, large amounts of caffeine, and food with added nitrates or nitrites and MSG. And despite what you may have heard, chocolate doesn’t seem to be a trigger. This common misconception is likely due to people craving sweet foods, such as chocolate, before a migraine strikes.
  • Dehydration – You can counteract this by drinking plenty of lemon water
  • Stress (Read 5 Simple Ways To Relieve Stress And Relax for helpful tips)
  • Not eating when you’re used to eating regular meals
  • EMFs from computer screens and cell phones
  • Weather changes, including high humidity, barometric pressure, and high altitude
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Vigorous exercise, especially if you’re not used to it (Check out 4 Essentials Before You Start A Health Or Fitness Program for advice to help you ease into a fitness plan.)
  • Teeth grinding
  • Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy
  • Taking drugs including cannabis and cocaine
  • A change in your routine
  • Overuse of migraine medication, opiates, and barbiturates

Related: 10 Signs You’re Having A Migraine

cheese with figs
Soft cheeses and nuts are a migraine trigger for some people.

Now for some risk factors that make some people more susceptible to migraines.

Migraine Risk Factors

Related: 10 Effective Treatments For Migraines

Summary – Migraine Triggers

Knowing your migraine triggers and the risk factors involved is an excellent preventative tool. Also, keeping a migraine diary can help you recognize common patterns. I’ve found an app that serves this purpose and I absolutely love it! It’s called Migraine Buddy and it is free.

You can learn more about it here: Migraine Buddy: THE App For People With Migraines

Also, if you have a child who suffers from migraines you might find Migraine Headaches In Children: Types, Symptoms & Treatments helpful.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful in thinking about possible causes for your migraine headaches.


What are your migraine triggers? 

Please share in the comment section below. I love hearing your thoughts!


This article will teach you migraine triggers and risk factors that cause migraine headaches that can help in preventing migraines.


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8 thoughts on “Migraine Triggers And Risk Factors: The Quick Guide”

    1. Hey there, Kimberly! I’m so sorry to hear that your daughter is dealing with migraines at such a young age. Some of our kids have dealt with getting horrible headaches we thought were possibly migraines, but they don’t happen too often so it hasn’t been easy to figure out. Many of their severe headaches seem to be related to not drinking enough water so they’ve been working on that and it has helped a bit. My best to you and your daughter. Thanks.

  1. This is so interesting! I never knew there were so many triggers, I think for me mainly is being dehydrated, I feel so much better once I drink water. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Very informative article. I used to have really bad migraines, and I found later that it was due to dehydration. I had only been drinking about 16 ounces of water a day.

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