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What causes migraines?

Am I having symptoms of a migraine headache?

Dr Louisa Draper

"At least 90% of people with migraine start having attacks before the age of 40 and it is rare for migraine patients to experience their first attack later in life."

Dr Louisa Draper

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Migraine are not just ‘bad headaches’. A migraine is an intensely painful headache along with other symptoms, including feeling sick (nausea), sensitivity to light or sounds, or visual disturbances.

It is not known exactly what causes migraines, though genetics may play a role. There are also certain triggers that can set off a migraine in people who are already genetically likely to have migraine attacks. 

Possible triggers include:

  • Being under stress 
  • Not eating enough or eating certain foods 
  • Drinking alcohol 
  • Not getting enough sleep 
  • Environmental factors 
  • Hormonal changes (in women).
Migraine is a complex condition which varies in cause and severity from person to person.