When a headache hits, most people take an over-the-counter medication to remedy the pain. Taking an aspirin or ibuprofen usually helps a headache go away, but having a migraine is different. Millions of Americans suffer from migraines, which are characterized by a severe pounding in the head that can make you feel nauseous and sensitive to light and sound.
Migraines often feel debilitating and can make it difficult to work, drive or go about your day. According to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, women are three times more likely to get migraines than men. Migraines are often related to other health problems. In many cases, the more migraines you have, the worse they get.
Common triggers of migraines
It’s important to seek treatment for chronic headaches or migraines. If taking an over-the-counter pain reliever doesn’t help, or if you experience migraines more than once a week, see a doctor. There are multiple ways to treat or reduce the symptoms of migraines. For those who experience migraines, there are steps you can take to lower the frequency of your migraines, or make them easier to manage when they occur.
Here are some common triggers of migraines, which include:
- Skipping meals
- Bright lights or loud noises
- Strong smells
- Alcohol and caffeine
- Lack of sleep or change in sleep schedule
- Artificial sweeteners and certain foods.
In women, certain times in their menstrual cycle could make them more prone to migraines than other times.
Treatment for migraines
If you suffer from migraines, it’s important to figure out what might be triggering them. Health experts recommend writing down when your migraine began, what you ate/drank before the pain started to occur, and what you think might have triggered the migraine. This can help you identify what might be making your migraines worse or more frequent.
A doctor may prescribe certain medications to treat migraines. However, it’s still important to recognize your triggers and modify your health habits to reduce the frequency of your migraines. If your migraines are getting worse or happening more often, don’t ignore them. Migraines can be treated and you don’t — or shouldn’t — have to suffer with chronic headaches for the rest of your life.