Coping with Migraine and Sensitivity to Smells

Coping with Migraine and Sensitivity to Smells


Many migraine sufferers, including myself, have experienced the debilitating effects of a migraine attack triggered by smells. It is crucial to understand and manage these triggers in order to lessen the frequency and severity of crises de migraine. In this article, we will explore the impact of crises de migraine and sensitivity to smells, how to identify smell triggers, and strategies for coping with them.

Understanding Migraine and Sensitivity to Smells

Migraine is a neurological disorder that affects the brain and nervous system. It is characterized by severe headaches, often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. One common symptom experienced by migraine sufferers is sensitivity to smells, also known as osmophobia. During a migraine attack, this sensitivity is heightened, making certain smells unbearable.

For example, I remember a time when I had a migraine attack triggered by the smell of a strong perfume. The perfume scent seemed overpowering and intensified the pain and discomfort of the migraine.

The neuroscience behind smell triggers and crises de migraine involves the activation of the trigeminal nerve and the release of neuropeptides. This process leads to a cascade of events that result in the throbbing pain and other migraine symptoms.

Identifying Smell Triggers

A helpful strategy in managing crises de migraine and sensitivity to smells is keeping a migraine diary. By recording potential smell triggers and symptoms experienced during attacks, you can begin to identify patterns and understand your individual triggers. This will help you make informed decisions and take necessary steps to avoid or minimize exposure to these triggers.

Common smell triggers for migraine sufferers include perfumes and strong scents, chemicals or cleaning products, certain foods and beverages, and smoke or strong odors. However, it is important to note that triggers can vary from person to person. For example, while some people may be highly sensitive to perfume, others may be more affected by the smell of certain foods.

Personalizing your triggers is an essential step in managing them effectively. This involves identifying your individual sensitivity to specific smells and tracking the patterns and frequency of crises de migraine related to smells. By doing so, you can develop a better understanding of your triggers and take proactive measures to avoid them.

Tips for Coping with Smell Triggers

Minimizing exposure to smell triggers is key to managing crises de migraine. Creating a clean and scent-free environment can help reduce the likelihood of an attack. Consider using unscented or fragrance-free household products, such as detergents, soaps, and cleaning solutions. Opt for natural or unscented personal care items, such as shampoos, lotions, and deodorants.

Planning ahead for potential triggers is another helpful strategy. Informing others about your sensitivity to smells can help create a supportive environment. For example, you can explain your condition to family members, friends, and coworkers, and ask for their cooperation in avoiding strong smells when you are around. If you are attending an event or visiting a location where you anticipate encountering strong odors, consider speaking with the organizers beforehand and requesting accommodations or alternative arrangements.

Exploring alternative therapies can also provide relief and reduce the impact of smell triggers. Aromatherapy with migraine-friendly smells, such as lavender or peppermint, may help alleviate symptoms or provide a calming effect during or after a migraine attack. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, can help manage stress levels and reduce the likelihood of triggers.

Working closely with healthcare professionals is essential for managing crises de migraine and sensitivity to smells. Consulting a doctor or specialist can provide guidance on treatment options and potential medical interventions to address your sensitivity to smells. For some individuals, medications or preventive measures may be prescribed to reduce the frequency or severity of crises de migraine.

Lifestyle Adjustments for Managing Sensitivity to Smells

In addition to managing smell triggers, making specific lifestyle adjustments can contribute to managing crises de migraine and sensitivity to smells effectively. One important lifestyle consideration is diet. Identifying and avoiding trigger foods and beverages, such as processed foods, certain types of cheese, chocolate, and caffeine, can help reduce the likelihood of an attack.

Furthermore, maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated can benefit overall well-being and potentially reduce the frequency of crises de migraine. It is essential to listen to your body and pay attention to any dietary patterns that may be contributing to your crises de migraine.

Regular exercise and healthy habits, such as stress management techniques and quality sleep, can also play a role in managing crises de migraine. Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins, natural pain-relieving chemicals in the brain, which can help reduce the frequency and severity of crises de migraine. Implementing relaxation techniques, such as yoga or deep breathing exercises, can help manage stress levels, as elevated stress levels have been linked to increased risk of crises de migraine. Additionally, maintaining a regular sleep schedule and improving sleep hygiene can have a positive impact on migraine management.

Seeking Support and Understanding

Communicating with family, friends, and colleagues about your sensitivity to smells is important in obtaining support and understanding. By explaining the impact of sensitivity to smells, you can request cooperation and empathy from those around you. Educating them about your condition can foster a supportive environment where they are more mindful of the fragrances they use or avoid strong odors when you are present.

Joining support groups or seeking online communities can provide a sense of belonging and a platform to share experiences and tips with others who can relate. Connecting with individuals who understand what you are going through can provide emotional support and practical advice for managing your crises de migraine and sensitivity to smells.


Recognizing and managing sensitivity to smells are crucial steps in coping with crises de migraine. By understanding the neurological impact of crises de migraine, identifying smell triggers, personalizing your triggers, and implementing coping strategies, individuals can improve their quality of life and reduce the frequency of crises de migraine. Seeking professional guidance and support from loved ones can provide additional tools and resources for managing crises de migraine effectively.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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