It is estimated that one in seven people will suffer…

from some debilitating type of migraine headache during their lifetime. In spite of this statistic, the precise cause of migraines remains mysterious and contested. One common hypothesis is that the searing pain of these headaches is linked to a widening of blood vessels that is triggered by a drop in serotonin levels, though research is ongoing. What we do know, however, is that there are certain common causes in the external environment. Here are the ten most common triggers of migraine headaches, and some advice about how they can be avoided.

  1. High stress levels

Any intense negative emotion can cause a migraine headache in a sufferer. Some people experience a particular link with anger or fear, while others report experiencing migraines after receiving a profound shock. However, it’s also worth noting that some migraines appear in the days after an alleviation of stress (for example, a headache might show up on the first day of your vacation after a terrible work week). If you’re a migraine sufferer, it’s important to take steps to keep stress under control. Make time for things that relax you, and keep firm boundaries in place to prevent others from draining your resources.

  1. Hormone fluctuations

Women are significantly more likely to suffer from migraines, and this fact may be explained by the frequent hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle. The majority of female migraine sufferers are more likely to experience headaches during or just after a period, but a small number of women report increased migraine frequency in the middle of the month (around the time of ovulation). For some women, the solution lies in experimenting with different types of hormonal contraception, but it must be stressed that other women find their migraines worsened by hormonal contraception.

  1. Grinding your teeth