Man holding head with lights shooting out showing Migraine pain

A trigger is something that starts a migraine attack.


This list will help you identify some triggers to prevent future attacks.  


About 20-30 % of migraines are affected by food/drink such as:

  • Aspartame
  • Alcohol (especially dark beverages such as red wine, brandy, scotch and beer)
  • Caffeinated drinks (Coffee, tea, hot chocolate)
  • Cheese (especially cheddar)
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus Fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits)
  • Cured Meats (hot dogs, bacon)
  • Dairy products (yogurt, milk, butter, aged cheese)
  • Fatty or fried food
  • Homemade bread
  • MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
  • Peanut butter or other nuts
  • Pizza
  • Seafood (various types)


An environmental trigger is anything that surrounds you physically, such as:

  • Weather:
    • Bright sunlight, especially glare
    • Cold, strong wind
    • Drizzly or overcast skies
    • Low barometric pressure
    • Sudden change in climate
  • Lifestyle & Stress:
    • Allergens (ragweed, dust)
    • Bright, flashing or flickering lights (oncoming headlights, theaters and night-clubs)
    • Change in eating and sleeping habits (missing meals, too much or too little sleep)
    • Computer monitors
    • Florescent lights
    • High altitudes
    • Loud sounds
    • Over exertion (too much work/stress)
    • Pollution
    • Poor Ventilation 
    • Smoking (including second hand smoke)
    • Strong odours


Experts believe that estrogen, a female hormone, is one reason why women have more migraines.  Changes in estrogen can be caused by:

  • Birth control pills
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Menstruation
  • Pre-menopause
  • Puberty