What triggers migraines?

Dr Mark Porter / 23 August 2017

Dr Mark Porter discusses common triggers for migraine.

Q: What triggers migraines? I started getting them in my forties and still get them now and then for no apparent reason. I am otherwise fit and well.

A: We still don’t fully understand why migraines occur, but susceptible individuals appear particularly sensitive to alterations in routine. Dietary triggers include missing a meal, not drinking enough, or specific foods – chocolate, cheese, orange juice and red wine, for example.

Then there’s too little, or too much sleep, stress and excitement and, paradoxically, too much rest and relaxation. Hard exercise is another trigger, and hormones play an important role in many younger women.

Keep a migraine diary to help spot any patterns so you can take evasive action (not everyone has an identifiable trigger, though).

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