What Are the Causes of Migraine?

Causes of migraine

There are many different factors that contribute to migraines. These factors include genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors. You can determine if you are at risk for a migraine by studying the causes of migraine in your family. The American Migraine Foundation reports that the chances of developing a migraine are higher if both parents are affected.


Migraine triggers can be anything from bright lights, changing weather conditions, and changes in sleeping patterns. They can even be triggered by certain medications that cause blood vessels to swell. Identifying triggers and avoiding them is essential for managing the condition. For many people, lifestyle changes help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and help them cope with the pain that accompanies them.

While avoiding triggers is usually recommended to patients, there is still a great deal of debate over which factors are truly triggers. The main challenge with this approach is the limited evidence that supports it. For example, in some studies, patients are not recommended to engage in certain activities, such as driving or working in crowded environments. In addition, migraine sufferers may experience premonitory symptoms, which are a precursor to a migraine attack. While these symptoms may be frustrating, they do not carry a causative effect on migraine attacks.


Genetic studies have revealed that most migraine attacks are polygenic, meaning that several genes contribute to the condition. Even if these genes have minimal effects individually, they are sufficient to contribute to the development of migraine. In a 2018 study, researchers examined genetic data from 1,589 families with migraine. They discovered that these families had an increased genetic variation load.

Genes are packages of DNA, or DNA strands, that contain instructions for building proteins in the body. These genes are passed down from parent to child. Genetic studies have shown that more than half of those who suffer from migraine have a family member who has also been diagnosed with the disease.


Several factors in the environment can trigger a migraine. Air pollution, certain weather conditions, and some chemicals can increase your risk of getting a migraine. These factors may lead to more frequent migraine attacks and can even result in hospitalization. Environmental scientists have been trying to understand the relationship between these factors and migraine.

The current study shows that long-term exposure to common air pollutants is associated with the development of migraine. These factors may include ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and coarse particles. However, few studies have examined how these specific air pollution sources contribute to migraine. To answer this question, we need more research on these factors.

People with migraine are often sensitive to changes in the weather, temperature, and altitude. Some people are also affected by smoke or bright lights. Some people also report a migraine attack after a change in their routine or after a stressful event. Other environmental factors that may cause migraine include bright or flickering light, extreme heat, and intense smells.


While the exact cause of migraine headaches is unknown, there are a number of lifestyle factors that may contribute to migraine occurrences. These include changes to the brainstem and imbalances of certain brain chemicals. Some of these chemicals, such as serotonin, regulate pain and other aspects of the nervous system. Other migraine triggers include fluctuations in estrogen levels. Some women may find their migraines worsen when they take hormonal medications, but others may find that taking these drugs reduces the frequency and severity of their migraines. Similarly, caffeine and alcohol may also trigger migraines. Regardless of the cause, limiting your intake of these substances is essential to preventing migraines.

Lifestyle counseling by primary care physicians can be particularly helpful in reducing migraine risk. The goals of lifestyle counseling are to help patients identify and improve the lifestyle factors that are associated with migraine, such as eating healthy and getting enough sleep. These lifestyle changes may also help patients reduce their overall stress levels.


Photophobia is a common complication of migraine. This condition is characterized by an intense pain that occurs with light exposure. It is more common in chronic migraine sufferers than in sporadic migraine sufferers. However, it is possible to develop photophobia without a migraine diagnosis. About 80% of people with migraine also suffer from photophobia. In some cases, the condition is caused by an anterior segment disease, in which the trigeminal afferents are directly irritated by bright light.

The retina is responsible for allowing light to travel from the eye to the brain, where it helps to form vision. It is also responsible for detecting light, and its malfunction can lead to photophobia. The eye also detects light through the melanopsin system, which is connected to the trigeminal system. Other causes of photophobia include pituitary tumors and meningitis.