Q: What can I do to reduce recurring migraines?
A: First know that you are not alone. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, nearly one in four US households includes someone who gets migraines. Approximately 18 percent of American women and six percent of American men suffer from migraines. A migraine headache is defined as not only causing severe pain on at least one side of the head but is also coupled with light sensitivity, nausea, and/or vomiting. People often describe migraine pain as debilitating.
For those who get migraines, identifying their cause or triggers is a top priority.
Here’s a list of some migraine causes and triggers:
- Food sensitivities and allergies
- Chemical exposures
- Bowel and gut dysfunction
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Hormone imbalances
- Emotional and physical stressors
Discovering what causes your migraines can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.
Start a food diary or have food allergy testing done to help identify food sensitivities. Once food allergies are identified, an elimination diet to remove your food triggers should be undertaken.
Make a list of chemicals such as those found in any new pieces of furniture, new carpeting, or the like that you’ve recently been exposed to. Don’t forget to include shampoo, household cleaning products, and perfumes you’ve used for a long time as well. You can be tested for reactions to these items, or you can simply avoid them and see how you feel.
Maximize your gut health by taking probiotics, digestive enzymes, and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, try eating a low-glycemic, nutrientdense diet and minimize alcohol and caffeine intake. Studies show that for one-third of migraine sufferers, alcohol is a trigger.
Since vitamin B2 (riboflavin), CoQ10, and magnesium deficiencies have been strongly associated with migraines, you should have your vitamin levels checked. Any issues found may be addressed with diet and supplements.
Your hormone levels need to be looked at as well. No matter your age or gender, unbalanced hormones can result in many symptoms including migraine. What about the quality and quantity of your sleep? Poor sleep or not enough of it can affect your health too.
Lastly, lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly, meditating, and counseling, can minimize stress and change brain chemistry, which can help reduce migraine occurrence. Above all, consult your healthcare practitioner to discuss the appropriate tests and options to help reduce or eliminate your migraines.