What Are the Notorious Underlying Causes of Migraines?

Migraines are unfortunately common and also one of the more intense types of headaches you can get. In fact, they are so intense that a migraine can leave someone all but incapacitated. As for the being common, around 39 million people get them just in the US.

Of course, while many people know about the symptoms of migraines, the underlying causes of migraines remain poorly understood. For those suffering from periodic migraines or chronic migraines, though, even partial information about the causes can help you make better choices about things like migraine treatment.

If you suffer from migraines, keep reading for a look at the known underlying causes of migraines.


Stress is one of the most common afflictions of modern life. The revolving door of work demands, social or family demands, and the seemingly neverending fallout of Covid put a strain on everyone.

Sadly, that kind of stress is also a key underlying cause of migraines. If, for no other reason, than it often triggers other known causes.

Hormonal Changes

Women suffer from migraines at anywhere from twice to triple the rate of men. One of the theories for this is that women go through more or at least more severe hormonal changes on a regular basis.

Yet, any substantial hormonal change can potentially trigger a migraine.


Genetics also plays some role in who does or doesn’t suffer from migraines. Migraines routinely pass down along family lines. Research suggests that mutations in specific genes play a strong role in inherited migraines.


One of the most frustrating migraine causes for many people is something over which they have zero control: the weather. While the research hasn’t pinpointed the exact relationship, the relationship does exist.

Some theories suggest that it’s the change in barometric pressure that triggers the migraine. Other theories suggest that weather changes actually alter the neurochemistry of the brain, which may set off a migraine.


Another common culprit on the long list of underlying causes for migraines is your diet. A number of foods or ingredients get blamed for causing migraines, at least anecdotally. Some of the top contenders include:

  • Alcohol
  • Aged cheeses
  • Cured meats
  • MSG
  • Yeast
  • Chocolate

Of course, not every food will trigger a migraine in every person. You must use your own experience to guide your food choices.

If you suffer from migraines but struggle to pinpoint a cause, you can visit this migraine specialist for help in seeking migraine relief.

Managing the Underlying Causes of Migraines

With so many potential underlying causes of migraines, the task of managing those causes may seem hopeless. In the case of something like genetics or weather, there are no easy fixes.

Start with things you can exert some control over, such as stress and diet. Limiting stress can help reduce the frequency and severity of other triggers, like poor sleep. Eating a healthy diet will help you avoid an excess of things like sugars, cured meats, and aged cheeses.

Looking for more health tips? Check out the posts in our Health section.