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Surprising Headache Triggers

Pain pounding at your temples can stop you in your tracks, make you grouchy and interfere with keeping up with your healthy lifestyle. To avoid headaches you need to avoid some common but unexpected triggers. WebMD has compiled a list a five surprising headache causes and here are highlights:

  1. Perfume: Strong odors may activate the nose’s nerve cells, which stimulate the nerve system associated with head pain. Ironically, the offending scents are often pleasant. To remedy the situation look for scent-free products and when a perfume-induced headache strikes try aspirin or acetaminophen, but avoid pain relievers with caffeine.
  2. Weather: Studies show that the headache prone are especially attuned to changes in barometric pressure, rising temperatures, high humidity, lightning, and cloudy skies. The meteorological shifts are thought to trigger chemical and electrical changes in the brain that irritate nerves — sometimes causing fairly dramatic pain. Try ice packs or take pain reliever before predicted weather changes.
  3. Earrings, headbands, and ponytails: The muscle groups around your scalp don’t have pain fibers, but their connective tissues do. “Ponytail headaches” result when tightly pulled hair irritates the muscle system. And your swingy up-do isn’t the only thing contributing to your pain: Tight-fitting hats, headbands, and heavy earrings are also culprits.

There are two more reasons – one involves your belly and the other involves your sex life. Curious to see how these can cause headaches? Then


  1. Hunger: There’s a reason some nutrition gurus recommend that we eat several small meals a day: It keeps our blood sugar on an even keel. Dieting, fasting, skipping lunch — they all can cause you to bottom out, which may trigger a headache. Experts believe low blood sugar may stimulate nerve pathways that bring on these common headaches, but the exact mechanism is murky. Eating sugar on an empty stomach may cause a headache, too. So if you are hungry and have a headache, don't reach for Skittles, eat some healthy, filling foods.
  2. Sex: “Coital headaches” can occur during foreplay or right before orgasm. Marked by a general head pain, these headaches typically last from a few minutes to an hour. It’s probably a type of “exertion headache.” During arousal, the culprit is likely pressure building up in the head and neck muscles. And orgasm sometimes requires a lot of “work.” Running, coughing, sneezing, even straining during a bowel movement, can lead to similar pain, although those activities are generally not as fun as getting it on!


Join The Conversation
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
I'm dealing with a headache right now and have been for the last day & a half.
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
This is WEIRD, I get headaches from TASTE, yes, taste. If I have eaten something with a strong flavor, like spaghetti, and I don't eat gum afterwards, I'll have a huge headache an hour later.
ella1978 ella1978 9 years
My headaches are usually stress based or sinus pressure based. I don't get them often, and luckily they aren't bad. I feel really bad for people with migranes. I can only imagine how debilitating they are!
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
hunger, weather and perfume bother me a lot. :( cigarette smoke is especially bad (even on someone's clothes) but i think part of that is to do with certain chemicals. oh, i also get headaches with cleaning product aisles. scent-free environment all around me, please.
emalove emalove 9 years
Most of my headaches are due to my TMJ and my allergies, but I have DEFINITELY gotten headaches before from wearing a headband all day. I love them and think they look so cute, but unless they're cloth, they give me such bad headaches.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 9 years
Weather and headbands and glaring sunlight are my big three.
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 9 years
My neurosurgeon said headaches are not supposed to happen on a regular basis. He NEVER gets them! I was amazed too!
raieven raieven 9 years
good to know thx
k-squared k-squared 9 years
I get headaches when I go to the movies sometimes.. Bright lights, loud sounds, and the smell of popcorn (I hate popcorn xP) give me temporary migraines.
Allytta Allytta 9 years
smoke from cigarettes when I am not the one smoking.
amers230 amers230 9 years
some of my headbands are the worst culprits. also, putting my hair back when it's wet is pretty much a guaranteed headache for me. weather is also an issue for me, esp. when it randomly changes (as it likes to do here in MI.) when it goes from 50 degrees to 20 degress in two or three days i'm usually dying.
scully22 scully22 9 years
I suffer from daily headaches and migraines (about 6-10 migraines a month - I know the weather plays a big factor in it for me, esp when the seasons change!
DreaAST DreaAST 9 years
I totally agree with the headbands. I love headbands but I always have to take it off at some point b/c it hurts my head!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Perfume and hairstyles have most definitely given me headaches. Ughhh...
merymery merymery 9 years
Skittles ALWAYS give me headaches, even if I've already eaten something else. They have a new chocolate kind though that I really want to try :)
jjlyn jjlyn 9 years
i get headaches after consuming drinks/gum with aspartame. blech
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I get aroma-induced headaches but only when I go down the laundry detergent aisle at the store or the perfume counters at department stores. I think it's just a mix of a million different smells and it overwhelms my nose. My dad's the same way, so maybe it's hereditary. I also get the sex headaches too...they aren't too bad though. They usually go away a couple minutes after I orgasm, so I'm not too worried about them.
GrapeBubbleGum GrapeBubbleGum 9 years
I get weather induced headaches! well, they arent really headaches, just a strange pressure that doesn't really hurt, but doesn't really feel good either. I notice that it happens on bright, cool days when the weather had previously been bad. It's so strange...I'm glad that I'm not making it up though.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Yea, the weather definatly makes my head feel not so good...
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