Medically reviewed by Dr. Betty Acker, MD on September 4, 2020
Migraines can be a seriously annoying and even debilitating phenomenon, but very rarely are they dangerous to your health. For this reason, there’s usually nothing to be alarmed about if you start experiencing migraines suddenly for the first time — everything has to start somewhere.
Even so, it’s important to be sure that you’re dealing with migraines and not something more serious. There are a number of factors that could cause migraines to suddenly begin in a person — here are some of the most common:
- Family history
More often than not, you can find precedent for your migraines somewhere in your gene pool. While there’s not been a single specific gene found to cause migraine, the evidence is clear: children of a parent who suffers from migraines have a 50% chance of suffering from them themselves, and that number goes up to 75% if both parents experience them.
If members of your family suffer from migraines, ask when they first started having them. A bit of digging around the family tree can uncover valuable information for your fight against migraines in the future.
While migraines can begin at any point in your life, they usually make their first appearances early on. Most people who regularly suffer from migraines experience their first one some time in their late teens, and 90% of people who experience migraines get them before they turn 40. While migraines tend to peak in intensity and frequency in a person’s 30s and wane as they age, everyone is different and your experience might not perfectly fit this pattern.
Migraines can be brought on by major biological changes, such as a big growth spurt or a first period, which is why they tend to begin in teenagers. That said, the body’s hormonal composition continues to change throughout a person’s life, particularly for women, and these changes in the body can easily affect what’s going on in the brain.
Women who start experiencing irregular periods, whether during perimenopause or earlier, may find that this can spur migraines. While pregnancy or hormonal birth control tends to reduce the chances of a migraine occurring, it’s impossible to predict exactly how an adjustment in hormones will affect a woman ahead of time. Because hormonal factors tend to play less of a role as women grow older, many will find that migraines tend to taper off after menopause.
Too much stress is a surefire way to put yourself at risk for a migraine, so those who are going through particularly difficult periods in their lives may find migraines to appear as a result. While migraines can and should be treated medically, the first step should almost always be to address the source of stress directly and do what you can to move past it.
Difficult times at work, a recent breakup, or undue grief can all be contributing factors to a migraine, so look for ways to deal with the stress itself if you’re hoping to find some relief to the headaches.
- Changes in behavior
One of the best defenses against migraines is living a stable, routine-driven life: regular, healthy amounts of sleep coupled with good nutrition and stress-relief strategies. An extended period of sleeplessness, excessive sleep, or a new diet could be enough physiological stress to bring about migraines, and going back to normal can help get them under control early on.
If you’re worried about how you’re going to deal with your migraines, get in contact with Nurx to learn what your own specialized migraine treatment regime might look like.