It is estimated that around 30 million people are affected by a migraine in the U.S. Migraine is more common among women than in men. Migraines are accompanied by pulsating headaches on one side of the head. Sometimes, it is aggravated by physical activities and extreme stress. The pain caused by migraines are often quite intense and debilitating. Most people experience early episodes of migraines during childhood. In some cases, the onset of migraines begins in early adulthood. It has been noticed that a migraine is often hereditary and runs in the family. The causes and symptoms of a migraine vary from person to person.
Here are some of the common causes and symptoms of migraines.
Common causes of a migraine
Environmental factors and genes are two of the most basic causes of a migraine. Along with these, other factors can trigger a migraine.
- Food: Food that is processed, high in salt, and contains additives such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG) can trigger migraines. Eating aged cheese can also cause migraine pain. Drinking beverages that have high caffeine content and alcoholic drinks can also cause a migraine.
- Hormonal changes: This is more common in women. It has been observed that changes in estrogen levels in women can trigger a migraine. Many women who have a history of migraine experience headaches before and during their menstrual cycle. Some women experience migraine episodes during menopause or pregnancy. Sometimes, hormonal replacement therapy and oral contraceptives can also trigger a migraine.
- Disrupted sleeping patterns: A lack of sleep and excessive sleeping often triggers migraine episodes. A disruption in the sleeping pattern is one of the most common causes of a migraine. Some people experience headaches due to jet lag as well.
- Intense stimuli to the senses: Glaring sunlight, bright lights, excessively loud sounds, and strong smells also act as triggers for a migraine in some people. Flickering screens, changes in temperature, and stuffy musty rooms can also bring about an episode of a migraine.
Common symptoms of a migraine
The most common symptoms of a migraine usually begin sometime before the onset of severe throbbing headaches and immediately before a headache. The symptoms persist during the painful episode of a migraine and sometimes, even after a headache has passed. Everyone experiences different symptoms; however, the following are some of the common symptoms experienced by most people with a migraine:
- It usually starts with a throbbing pain on one side of the head. The pain can range from mild to severe. Often, it is quite debilitating, and the person is unable to carry out even simple routine tasks.
- Some people often experience nausea and become extremely sensitive to bright lights, loud sounds, and strong smells. The pain can progress to both sides of the head; the pain becomes bilateral.
- Many people, suffering from migraine experience a blurred vision before the onset of a migraine. They may also have a blind spot in their field of vision and the spot can be accompanied by bright lights.