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New Migraine Triggers May Emerge at Any Time

Posted by Migraine Relief Center on Sep 30, 2014 7:00:00 AM

When summer comes around and the temperatures become warmer, perfume designers and manufacturers tend to switch their marketing efforts away from fragrances that have earthy, musky, woodsy, and spicy overtones in favor of fruity and flowery scents that are lighter. There is a clinical reason behind this change from full scents such as pine to lighter ones such as citrus, and it has to do migraines.

For many patients who live with chronic migraine conditions that are triggered by environmental factors such as smell, sounds and lights, summertime can be problematic. As the sun shines brighter and the days are hotter, smells become more pronounced. This means that vanilla and cinnamon perfumes that smell pleasant in the winter could actually trigger migraines in the summer.

Something else that happens in the summer is that many migraine patients will discover a new factor that could trigger an episode. For example, a woman who suffers from migraines with auras may be introduced to a man who is still wearing a strong cologne reminiscent of a pine forest well into the middle of August. The smell may be initially pleasant to the woman, but she may end up with a migraine due to the powerful smell.

Understanding Migraine Triggers

Not all migraine patients are bothered by environmental factors. Stress is the only trigger that seems to be universal among all migraine patients, followed by strobe lights and strident noises. The trigger factors may also include:

Triggers are essentially stimuli that can cause a certain chemical reaction that will affect the brain. In essence, triggers create excitement that may go unnoticed by migraine patients, at least until they realize that they are dealing with another headache episode.

Most migraine patients who experience the trigger effect are aware of a handful of elements that can bring on episodes. They learn to manage these triggers by avoiding them as much as possible, and by their early 20s they feel that they are well-aware of all their triggers. Nonetheless, the emergence of a new trigger is something that can happen at any time.

When New Triggers Emerge

Some migraine patients become frustrated when they learn that something that they used to enjoy suddenly becomes a new trigger. A common occurrence in this regard is Limburger cheese, which is known for its sharp and pungent smell and taste. A migraine patient may enjoy eating Limburger cheeses for most of her life, at least until she starts to notice auras and mild headache episodes being triggered.

What could possibly turn aged cheese into a migraine trigger after years of harmless consumption? The answer may lie within the complex brain chemistry, which is transformed by age and by years of taking preventive and abortive migraine medications.

When dealing with new triggers, the best thing migraine patients can do is to add them to their diaries and do their best to adjust to their new lives without them.

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Topics: Causes

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