Perfume and Other Strange Causes of Migraine Headaches

Perfume and Other Strange Causes of Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches are serious, severe headaches that can cause nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. Unlike a typical headache, migraine headaches may actually stop people in their tracks. While there are many common triggers for migraine headaches, such as food allergies and too much direct sunlight, there are also some less common triggers that can cause migraines in some sufferers.


Smell is a sense not commonly associated with migraine headaches, but for some people, there may be a link between certain strong-smelling perfumes and colognes and migraine headaches. Scientists and researchers haven’t linked migraine headaches to any particular ingredient found in perfume or cologne, meaning that it could simply be the strong, overpowering smell, or certain chemicals associated with a brand. For migraine sufferers, that could mean skipping the perfume or cologne or using very little. It may also mean looking for products that contain naturally derived scents or are fragrance-free. Other common smells that seem to bother people who experience migraine headaches include gasoline and tobacco.


It’s fairly well known that flashing lights can trigger migraine headaches, but until recently, few people thought about lightning as a type of flashing light that could cause or intensify a migraine. Yet, according to a 2012 study reported by Live Science, people who commonly get migraines were about 28 percent more likely to experience them when lightning struck near their homes. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why lightning would cause a migraine, but they think it might have to do with disrupted or altered electrical waves in the brain.


It may come as a surprise that too much stress can cause the depletion of magnesium. But if you are deficient in magnesium or have trouble absorbing it, it may bring on a migraine. Magnesium supplementation is available in oral and injectable form.


Many migraine sufferers get headaches on days off or holidays. One reason may be oversleeping or simply an altered sleep schedule. It’s important for migraine sufferers to stick to a regular sleep schedule in order to avoid a flair-up.

Spicy Foods

The food you eat can play a part in migraine headaches, and for many people, spicy foods seem to a major trigger. Foods like jalapenos and hot peppers tend to be the worst, but even foods with mild to moderate heat — like curry powder — are enough to cause migraines in some people. Limiting the amount of spicy food you eat, even if you really like the taste, could keep migraines from happening quite as often.

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Braff, Danielle; 7 Weird New Headache Causes; Prevention; accessed March 25

Ghose, Tia; Countdown: Ouch: 10 Odd Causes of Headaches; Live Science; accessed March 25, 2013

WebMD Staff; Migraines and Headaches Health Center: Overview and Facts; WebMD; accessed March 25, 2013

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