Monsoon Migraines: Can the monsoon cause migraines?


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — If you’re feeling a little under the weather, why not just blame the weather? As it turns out, the monsoon season doesn’t just cause physical damage, it can also cause migraines.

The monsoon season, which lasts from June 15 to Sept. 30, has already brought many days of extreme weather changes in the Borderland, with a little more than six more weeks to go.

According to the American Migraine Foundation (AMF), those who experience migraines are “more susceptible to the influence of transient factors … that raise the risk for having a migraine attack,” including hormonal fluctuations, environmental stimuli such as weather (the monsoon!) or bright lights, certain smells and foods, alcohol, poor sleep and high stress.

Headache specialist Dr. Amaal Sterling, a professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic, said severe weather changes from dry heat to humidity and rain could trigger those migraines.

“It doesn’t necessarily matter what part of the world you live, any place you live that is going through dramatic weather changes, those individuals with migraines could be particularly vulnerable to migraine attacks,” she said.

Many people can feel a change of weather coming due to an achy feeling in their joints and many of Sterling’s patients say they can predict a shift in the weather better than a meteorologist. She said up to 60 percent of her patients tell her that weather is a strong predictor of a migraine attack, but there are ways to help mitigate that. Sterling said doctors can prescribe preventive medicine to be used at the first sign of an oncoming migraine.

“Around the time of the monsoon is when we see an increase number of calls from patients in our headache
clinic, because they are just not doing well, and they need additional support, medications or even sometimes procedures to help break a bad migraine attack,” she said.

Nationwide, migraines affect more than 37 million men, women and children and costs more than $20 billion due to its debilitating nature, the AMF said.

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