A distinctive smell, stress, menstruation, changes in weather and sunlight, sleep deprivation are all known triggers of migraines and tension-type headaches in adults with the geographical location and ethnicity also having a role to play

In February 2019 researchers from Malaysia published their review on the triggers for migraine and tension-type headaches in adults, with the researchers assessing the influence of geographical location, ethnicity and gender. The researchers also assessed triggering factors amongst a multi-ethnic Southeast Asian population. In a recent study, a distinctive smell triggered more migraines than tension-type headaches. Stress is one of the most common triggers for individuals who experience either migraines or tension-type headaches worldwide, with migrainous individuals having an increased sensitivity in comparison to other individuals. Furthermore, these individuals appear to have a lot of difficulty in adapting to the high level of sensitivity, and the sensitized brain is therefore more vulnerable to different triggering factors. This phenomenon is more marked in individuals with migraines who have stress and menstruation as triggering factors, which in turn makes them more sensitive to other triggers. The geographical location also has an influence on the triggering factors of headaches. Ethnicity may also have an effect due to cultural differences. Changes in weather and sunlight are also important commonly identified triggers for headaches. Moreover, gender differences may also be seen for some triggers amongst individuals with headaches, especially sunlight and sleep deprivation. Further research should be undertaken to gain a better understanding on the triggers of migraines and tension-type headaches.

Tai MS et al. Geographical Differences in Trigger Factors of Tension-Type Headaches and Migraines. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2019 Feb 21;23(2):12.

Leave a Reply