6 Common Causes of Migraine Headaches

August 11, 2021

Top 6 Causes of Migraine Headaches

In the United States, migraines affect 39 million men, women and children.

Migraines affect 1 billion people worldwide. 

  • Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world.
  • Migraine affects about 28 million women in the U.S.
  • 85% of chronic migraine sufferers are women.
  • 18% of American women, 6% of men, and 10% of children experience migraines.
  • Migraine is most common between the ages of 18 and 44.
  • Migraine tends to run in families. About 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine.
  • Migraine is the 6th most disabling illness in the world.
  • More than 4 million adults experience chronic daily migraine – with at least 15 migraine days per month.
  • More than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraine.

Source: migraineresearchfoundation.org

Not another migraine!

Oh no, you feel another migraine coming on and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  It’s time to lie down in a dark room, cover your eyes and wait it out.  You miss a couple of days of work, can’t take your kids to their soccer game and or go to your friend’s birthday party.  You desperately want these to go away and never come back.

Migraines can be debilitating and they stop your life in its tracks. As you can see from the statistics, migraines are a big problem. You need to know about some very common causes of migraine headaches so that you can prevent and end them once and for all.

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is more than just a bad headache. A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain that is  usually on just one side of the head, but in some cases, both sides are affected.

Migraines are often accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • upset stomach
  • abdominal pain
  • dizziness
  • extreme sensitivity to light, sound, touch and smell
  • tingling or numbness in the extremities or face
  • auras, a visual disturbance such as flashes of light and blinding spots, with or before a migraine
  • moderate to severe pain (pounding, throbbing pain) that can affect the whole head, or can shift from one side of the head to the other
  • sensitivity to light, noise or odors
  • blurred vision
  • loss of appetite
  • sensations of being very warm or cold
  • Paleness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever (rare)

A migraine can last anywhere between 4 to 72 hours. The can cause such severe pain that they can be disabling.

Identify the Underlying Cause of Your Migraine

You may have tried prescription drugs such as Imitrex or Zomig, but these only mask the symptoms by providing temporary relief, and they don’t stop the migraines from coming back.  If you really want to get rid of migraines for good, then you need to identify and correct the underlying cause of the migraine.

Here are  6 Common Causes of Migraine Headaches:

1. Low Progesterone/Estrogen Dominance

Hormonal changes can cause migraines. If your migraine occurs before your period every month, then you know it is hormone related. Progesterone relieves headaches and migraines. Migraine headache is more severe, disabling, and frequent during the menstrual intervals of the female reproductive cycle. Progesterone may play a role in modulating migraine headaches during luteal intervals of the menstrual cycle. (1)

A high percentage of migraines in women is closely related to the menstrual cycle either at the time of ovulation or in the perimenstrual period. It can be assumed that rapid serum fluctuations due to the decline of estrogens and or progesterone trigger this type of headache. Hormonal treatment seems to be useful in order to avoid migraines. (2)

2. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism causes your metabolism to slow down, which slows your circulation and causes your body to retain water and mucin. The blood vessels and tissues in the brain swell and cause a migraine.  Fatigue, which accompanies hypothyroidism, is often associated with migraines and can play an important role in initiating migraine attacks. Research suggests that patients with hypothyroidism have a higher risk of lifetime migraine than those without hypothyroidism. (3) Research demonstrated that after levothyroxine treatment, 78% reported a decrease in headache frequency. Hypothyroid patients reported a similar alleviation of their headaches.(4)

3. Chemical Food Additives
Food colorings, flavors, preservatives and additives can cause migraines.  Aspartame (found in diet sodas) and MSG (monosodium glutamate) are common causes of migraines. Research showed a significant increase in reports of headache and pericranial muscle tenderness after taking MSG. Systolic blood pressure was elevated in those with high MSG intake. These findings add new information to the concept of MSG headache and craniofacial pain sensitivity.(7)

Patients with migraine were significantly more likely to report aspartame as a precipitant three times more often than those having other types of headache. Research concludes that aspartame may be an important dietary trigger of headache in some people. (8) Research provides evidence that some people are particularly susceptible to headaches caused by aspartame and may want to limit their consumption. (9)

4. Magnesium Deficiency

Estrogen dominance leads to depletion of the mineral magnesium, which is crucial to normal blood vessel tone. Magnesium deficiency can cause spasms of arteries in the brain.  Magnesium deficiency is very common and often overlooked as a culprit of migraines but is also easily corrected.

Magnesium is essential in many intracellular processes and appears to play an important role in migraine pathogenesis. Lack of magnesium may promote hyperaggregation of platelets, affect serotonin receptor function, and influence synthesis and release of a variety of neurotransmitters. Migraine sufferers may develop magnesium deficiency due to genetic inability to absorb magnesium, inherited renal magnesium wasting, excretion of excessive amounts of magnesium due to stress, low nutritional intake, and several other reasons.(10)

There is strong evidence that magnesium deficiency is much more prevalent in migraine sufferers. Both oral and intravenous magnesium are widely available, extremely safe, very inexpensive and for patients who are magnesium deficient can be highly effective. Considering these features of magnesium, the fact that magnesium deficiency may be present in up to half of migraine patients, treatment with at least oral magnesium is warranted in all migraine sufferers.(10)

5. Food Allergies and Intolerances
Allergies and intolerances to certain foods can cause migraine headaches. It is important to identify which foods trigger your migraines so that you can eliminate them from your eating plan. Research shows that the most common foods causing reactions were wheat (78%), orange (65%), eggs (45%), tea and coffee (40% each), chocolate and milk (37% each), beef (35%), and corn, cane sugar, and yeast (33% each).

When an average of ten common foods were avoided there was a dramatic fall in the number of headaches per month, with 85% of patients becoming headache-free. Both immunological and non-immunological mechanisms may play a part in the development of migraine caused by food intolerance.(11)  Research demonstrates that tests for IgE-specific food allergy appear helpful in selecting patients likely to benefit from diet therapy. (12) Research confirms that a food-allergic reaction is a cause of migraine.(13)

Other Common Food Triggers Include:

  • Cheese, particularly aged cheese
  • Alcohol, particularly red wine and beer
  • Cured meats (ham, hot dogs…)
  • Dairy products
  • Nuts

6. Stress
Stress takes a toll on your body and is a common cause of migraine headaches.  Take good care of yourself, eat healthy, get sound sleep, exercise, and make time to relax. Psychosocial stress preceding the onset of migraines by several days was suggested to play an important role in the occurrence of migraines.(14)

Conventional Treatment 

Conventional doctors will typically prescribe medications such as Imitrex, Zomig, Maxalt, Relpax, Topamax, Inderal or Lopressor. These medications do not come without side effects, and they don’t solve the cause of your migraines, either, which means that your migraine can reoccur. Side effects include:

  • mild headache (not a migraine)
  • pain or chest tightness
  • pressure or heavy feeling in any part of your body
  • weakness
  • feeling hot or cold
  • dizziness
  • spinning sensation
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • drooling
  • burning/numbness/pain/irritation in your nose or throat after using nasal spray
  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingling under the skin)

There are also over-the-counter medications that are used to treat migraines which include analgesics, NSAIDS, and caffeine, including: aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. Again, these are not solving the underlying cause of your migraines.

Watch as Dr. Hotze explains the common underlying causes of migraines:

Is Hormone Decline Causing Your Migraines?

Do you think hormonal imbalance could be the cause of your migraines?  Take our symptom checker quiz to find out. Contact our Wellness Consultants today at 281-698-8698 for a complimentary consultation. Don’t wait, it’s time to conquer your migraines and get your life back!

1. Defining the Relationship Between Ovarian Hormones and Migraine Headache
2. Treatment of Menstrual Cycle Associated Migraine
3. Prevalence of Migraine in Subclinical Hypothyroidism: A Case-Control Study
4. Headache in Recent Onset Hypothyroidism: Prevalence, Characteristics and Outcome After Treatment with Levothyroxine
5. Frequency of Subclinical Hypothyroidism In 5- To 15-Year-Old Children With Migraine Headache
6. Efficacy of Levothyroxine in Migraine Headaches in Children with Subclinical Hypothyroidism
7. Effect of Systemic Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) on Headache and Pericranial Muscle Sensitivity
8. Aspartame as a Dietary Trigger of Headache
9. Aspartame Ingestion and Headaches
10. Why all Migraine Patients Should be Treated with Magnesium
11. Food Allergies and Migraine
12. Food Allergy and Adult Migraine: Double-Blind and Mediator Confirmation of an Allergic Etiology
13. Migraine is a Food-Allergic Disease
14. Stress and Psychological Factors before a Migraine Attack: A Time-Based Analysis

Source: migraineresearchfoundation.org, migraine.com, rxlist.com

Written By: Steven F. Hotze, M.D.

Steven F. Hotze, M.D., is the founder and CEO of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center, Hotze Vitamins and Physicians Preference Pharmacy International, LLC.


One response to “6 Common Causes of Migraine Headaches”

  1. Hotze Team says:

    Thank you for your comment and for sharing the website for tinted glasses. That is a wonderful solution for light induced migraines. We are so glad they helped you and that you found a natural solution. You are correct that both light and caffeine can trigger migraines, as well. Here’s to staying migraine-free!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

By filling out the above, you agree to receive educational, informative emails on alternative medicine and hormone balancing. You will have the option to unsubscribe at any time.


AboutHotze Health & Wellness Center

Since 1989, Hotze Health & Wellness Center has helped over 33,000 patients get their lives back using bioidentical hormones that restore hormones to optimal levels, strengthen immune systems, and increase energy levels. Our treatment regimen addresses the root cause of hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, menopause, perimenopause, low testosterone, allergies, and candida.

Led by best-selling author, radio host and leading natural health expert, Steven F. Hotze, M.D., our medical team has over 100 years’ combined medical experience backed by a staff of nearly 100 caring professionals who provide an environment of hope and extraordinary hospitality for each of our patients, who we call our guests. It is our deepest desire to help you obtain and maintain health and wellness naturally so that you may enjoy a better quality of life, pure and simple.



Do you want to live a healthy, happy, purpose-driven life? Do you want to restore your health so that your loss of energy, weight gain, joint pain, depression and lack of drive or motivation won’t hold you back from achieving your personal and professional goals?

Dr. Steven Hotze wants that for you, too. In fact, in his powerful and passionate video entitled, “What I Believe”, Dr. Hotze shares how his Christian worldview and pivotal experiences have ignited a deep desire to offer the message of hope and optimal health to all who need to hear it.

Follow Us

As seen on:

  • ABC
  • Fow News Channel
  • NBC
  • CNN
  • The Biography Channel
  • Bloomberg Businessweek
  • The Early Show
  • Good Morning Texas
  • Great Day Houston

Our Doctors

At Hotze Health & Wellness Center, our doctors are changing the way women and men are treated through the use of bioidentical hormones. Our natural treatments have helped over 33,000 individuals with hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, menopause, perimenopause, low testosterone, allergies, candida, detoxification and nutritional deficiencies.

Meet our doctors

Guest Testimonials

Melanie B.

"I went from feeling tired and foggy to to getting my energy and vitality back!”

Read More guest testimonials
Pam White
Pam White
At Hotze Health and Wellness YOU can truly find restoration of your health and vibrant life! You will find the most caring and effective healthcare available! Don't hesitate call them today!!!
Ron Guidry
Ron Guidry
Doctors are not the final authority in our journey of achieving/maintaining health and wellness but having a good team of doctors in your support and guidance community is not only helpful it is wise and also essential. The team and staff at Hotze Health and Wellness are health professionals that you can trust to help you navigate all the misinformation that may be keeping you separated from your optimal level of health.
Caral Reeves
Caral Reeves
Hotze Beauty is a first class facility! Extreme level of professionalism , knowledge & genuine care❤️‍🩹
Julie Hryszko
Julie Hryszko
I’ve been a guest at this facility for 15 years. They are the most efficient, thorough and caring group of individuals I’ve ever experienced. Dr Hotze looks to change the way a typical doctor treats patients and looks for root causes to eliminate medical issues instead of treating “symptoms”. My life has improved 100% since my initial visit. The cost of the treatments are worth it.
Shavon Sisson
Shavon Sisson
Always a great experience dealing with everyone at Hotze Heath and Wellness! Everyone is kind and helpful.
Kori Misson
Kori Misson
I cannot accurately describe in words how I feel about this practice and the entire staff. I have had quite a few health issues throughout the years, rheumatoid arthritis, sjogrens, weight gain, hair loss, irritability, and that is just the beginning. I had pretty much given up on feeling good, just decided to "live with it" and hope for the best. Two very close friends love the Hotze Wellness Clinic and they have experienced life changing health. Made my appointment and from the beginning I felt heard. Not a in and out fast food style practice. They are looked and are looking at my entire body for overall health and wellness. Connections from mind and body to clinical blood work, even dental questions....they care and I feel as if I can trust them. I am on a path to complete wellness and my goal is to have my RA back in remission as it once was....make yourself a priority. Having hope is an incredible feeling!