Monsoon migraine: Does the weather control your headache? Here are doctors’ top tips to tackle it

Doctors are seeing a rise in the number of people coming to the OPD with complaints of 'Monsoon Migraines'. Here are some tips to manage it.

ByChetana Belagere

Published Jul 28, 2023 | 9:00 AMUpdatedJul 28, 2023 | 9:00 AM

The number of people experiencing monsoon migraines has increased in hospitals. (Wikimedia Commons)

As the monsoon rains descend upon our cities, a significant number of individuals find themselves grappling with debilitating migraines. The number of patients in OPDs complaining of migraines has increased, with nearly 10 to 15 of them visiting clinics every week.

Speaking to doctors regarding the impact of weather change on headaches, South First also brings to you potential ways to alleviate this seasonal burden.

“There have been multiple studies and much anecdotal evidence that show significant impact of monsoon weather on migraine frequency among susceptible individuals. The correlation between weather changes and migraines underscores the need for tailored management strategies during this season,” explains Dr Prabhudeva G, Consultant Neurologist, Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru.

Meanwhile, Dr Sudhir Kumar, Consultant Neurologist from Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, says that 15-20 patients are visiting him every week with complaints of migraine ever since the monsoons began.

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What are monsoon migraines?


Migraine comorbidities. (Wikipedia Commons)

Monsoon migraines, also known as weather-related migraines, are headaches that occur in response to changes in weather conditions during the monsoon season. The monsoon season typically involves heavy rainfall, high humidity, and frequent weather fluctuations, which can trigger migraines in susceptible individuals.

Dr Prabhu explains that these migraines are characterised by throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head, and can be accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances.

Speaking to South First, Dr Keni Ravish Rajiv, Consultant, Neurology and Epileptology at Aster CMI Hospital in Bengaluru, explains, “During monsoons, weather fluctuations are high and so is the humidity in the air due to which blood flow to the brain gets affected, which causes severe migraine spells. These are also called ‘monsoon migraines’.”

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Common triggers for monsoon migraines

Dr Sudhir Kumar says that an increase in headache frequency with change in seasons can occur in about two-thirds of patients suffering from migraines.

“For people prone to migraines, the shifts in barometric pressure during the monsoon can lead to the dilation or constriction of blood vessels in the brain. This, in turn, can cause inflammation and irritation, triggering the migraine attack,” Dr Kumar explains.

Meanwhile, Dr Rajiv says that high humidity during the monsoon can lead to dehydration, another common migraine trigger. Dehydration can cause blood vessels to narrow, reducing blood flow to the brain and triggering a headache.

For some individuals, allergens like mold and pollen that tend to be more prevalent during the monsoon season, can also act as migraine triggers. Even high level of stress and hormonal changes can lead to migraine headaches, say the doctors.

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Managing migraines

Doctors warn that monsoon migraines can be particularly challenging to manage, as the weather changes are beyond an individual’s control. However, understanding the potential triggers and adopting preventive measures can help reduce the frequency and intensity of these headaches during the monsoon season.

Dr Rajiv says that increase in water intake, lifestyle adjustments, and seeking medical advice for personalised treatment options are essential steps in managing monsoon migraines effectively.

Here are some tips from Dr Rajiv to manage monsoon migraines:

  • Avoid direct light, use eye protection

  • Manage stress

  • Manage the indoor environment/surroundings to keep it free from any kind of fungi growth or allergens

  • Keep the humidity level low

  • Avoid alcohol intake

  • Follow a healthy lifestyle and eat balanced meals

  • Sleep for seven to eight hours straight

Migraine headache

Migraine headache. (Creative Commons)

He adds that to manage stress levels, one must practice meditation/mind-relaxing activities like yoga and deep breathing techniques.

Interestingly, Dr Sudhir Kumar explains that intake of certain foods like chocolates, cheese, Chinese food, and too much coffee can trigger migraines in some patients and, hence, it is best to avoid them.

“If any one develops an allergy or sinus infection, which are both common during monsoons, they should be promptly treated,” Dr Kumar adds.

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Treatment options

Dr Sudhir Kumar explains that if the headache frequency remains high despite trying preventive strategies, anti-migraine drugs are needed.

For this, one should consult a neurologist and start on appropriate medication. However, choice of drug depends on age, gender, migraine severity, and any comorbid illness, he adds.