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What's Causing My Frequent Debilitating Migraines?

What's Causing My Frequent Debilitating Migraines?

Experiencing frequent and debilitating migraines can disrupt daily life, making it crucial to understand the potential triggers and underlying causes of these severe headaches. Migraines aren’t just ordinary headaches; they’re complex neurological events that involve various factors from genetic predispositions to environmental triggers.

Our experienced team at Summit Primary Care in Colorado offers insight into knowing how to recognize your migraine triggers so you can take steps to reduce their frequency or severity.

Genetic and hormonal influences

Migraines often run in families, suggesting a strong genetic link. Additionally, hormonal imbalances or changes can significantly impact migraine frequency and severity.

Genetic factors

If your family history includes others who suffer from migraines, you may be more likely to experience them as well. This genetic predisposition makes certain individuals more sensitive to environmental and internal triggers that might not affect others.

Hormonal changes

Stress and hormonal changes are among the most common triggers for migraines. Hormonal fluctuations in women, particularly estrogen changes, play a significant role in migraines. These fluctuations can occur during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or as a result of using hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapies.

Diet and environmental triggers

Diet and environmental conditions can directly trigger migraine episodes. Identifying and managing these triggers can be a significant step toward reducing migraine frequency.


Certain foods and beverages, such as cheese, red wine or other types of alcohol, caffeine, and foods containing nitrates (like processed meats) or monosodium glutamate (MSG), can trigger migraines in some people. Skipping meals or fasting can similarly provoke migraine attacks by causing low blood sugar.

Environmental factors

Loud noises, strong smells, or areas with bright lighting can all trigger a migraine. Changes in weather or barometric pressure can also provoke migraines in sensitive individuals. Additionally, poor sleep or changes in sleep patterns are known to initiate migraines. Ensuring a regular sleep schedule and a sleep-friendly environment can help manage this trigger.

Medication overuse 

Individuals suffering from frequent migraines may overuse pain relief medication. This overuse can ironically lead to a rebound headache, or the “migraine hangover”, known as medication overuse headache. The cycle of migraine and medication use can complicate the frequency and intensity of migraines.

Tracking symptoms and migraine attacks

Understanding these triggers and how they interact with each other can help manage and prevent migraine attacks. To effectively address the frequency of migraines, use a diary to track the occurrences and possible triggers. Keeping a record can help identify patterns and potential causes, providing valuable information for tailoring treatment strategies.

When to see a doctor for migraines

Frequent and debilitating migraines warrant a visit to our office. We can refer you to neurologists or headache specialists if needed, to offer guidance based on the specifics of your condition. We may recommend lifestyle adjustments, prescribe preventive medications, or suggest other treatments like biofeedback therapy, acupuncture, or cognitive behavioral therapy, all of which have shown effectiveness in managing migraines.

While the exact cause of migraines can vary widely among individuals, understanding and managing the known triggers can significantly reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. To get our help observing and finding a migraine management plan that works, call one of our offices in La Junta, Denver, Colorado Springs, or Pueblo, Colorado, or click here to book online today.

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