There are many theories behind the cause of migraine. One of the theories says that the level of serotonin in the body dictates the migraine headache. Serotonin is a neurochemical present in the brain that influences the blood vessels in the brain. Usually when the serotonin level falls the blood vessels dilate and cause compression in the brain which leads to the development of a headache.
The trigeminal nerve carries sensation of pain to and from the brain. During a migraine attack there is alteration in the interaction between the brain and trigeminal nerve making the pain as unbearable as it is.
If either the mother or father or both suffer from migraine there is a 60% probability that one may also develop it later in their life span.
Gender: During childhood, migraines affect boys more than girls. After puberty women are more affected than men due to the hormonal change.
Age: It can start any time right from childhood, through adolescence or early twenties. It’s very rare for migraines to start after the after of 40 years. If that does happen one should visit the doctor as earliest as possible.
The following maybe considered as migraine triggers:-
- Hormonal changes in women: Women experience a migraine episode during their period, throughout pregnancy and also during menopause. This is caused due to the fall in estrogen levels. The use of oral contraceptive pills and hormone replacement therapy is seen to cause migraines in some but not all women.
- Food and drinks: Missing meals or keeping a long gap between each meals is known to exacerbate the migraine attack. Certain food additives such as artificial sweaters or monosodium glutamate also trigger an attack.
- Stress: It is one of the most common cause seen in most migraine sufferers.
- Sensory stimuli: Any sensory stimulus such asbrightlight, loud noice or strong smell can aggravate a migraine attack.
- Changes in sleep-wake pattern: Lack of sleep or getting too much sleep may trigger migraines in some patients.
- Physical factors: Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, may provoke migraines.
- Changes in the environment: A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
- Medications: Oral contraceptives and vasodilators (e.g nitroglycerin) may aggravate migraine.