The Main Causes of Migraine Headaches

A migraine headache is an uncomfortable pain in the brain’s outer covering that goes way beyond a normal headache. Such a headache usually has intense symptoms such as throbbing or pounding. A wide variety of factors may cause a migraine headache. The following are just a few of its causes:

The Main Causes of Migraine Headaches

Hormonal Changes

Many women have migraine headaches during their menstrual periods. Such occurs because of the hormonal changes that they experience during those times. The migraines may come from an alternating level of estrogen in the system during that phase of the menstrual cycle.

Brain Chemical Imbalances

Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that can cause migraine headaches. A person who has a naturally low level of serotonin may be prone to getting frequent migraines. A specialist can try several remedies that may work in restoring the patient’s serotonin levels, which may decrease the level of neuropeptides that release into the meninges.


Allergies are a common cause of migraine headaches. Examples of allergens that can cause migraine headaches are foods, ragweed, dust mites, cats and dogs. The sufferer may develop a migraine headache immediately, or the person may suffer the headache the next day. Controlling such migraines may require the use of antihistamines or shots.


Dehydration frequently causes migraine headaches, as the body needs sufficient water to operate properly. Drinks such as alcohol and coffee can dehydrate a person quickly. Vigorous exercising without an attempt to restore electrolytes can cause a migraine headache, as well. Certain medications may cause the same effect.

Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep can cause a person to become imbalanced in many ways. The lack of sleep may cause a shift in brain chemicals, which can cause the onset of a painful migraine headache.


Some medications are notorious for causing migraine headaches. Examples of such medications are narcotic pain pills, benzodiazepines, antidepressants and birth control pills. Additionally, some NSAID medications can cause migraines even though people usually take them to eliminate headaches.


Stress is often a factor in migraine headaches because it introduces the release of certain hormones. The best way to control a stress-related migraine headache is to try to breathe through the stress and remove oneself from the situation.

A person who experiences frequent headaches should visit a medical specialist who can examine him or her for an underlying condition. Early detection can bring early relief.