Migraine sufferers have a heightened awareness to strong odors. “Migraine patients are far more sensitive to perfumes than other people who don’t have migraines,” says Christine Lay, MD, director of the Center of Headache at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. “They walk into the department store perfume aisle and end up with a terrible headache. We don’t understand if it’s the odor affecting the lining of the nose, but we definitely know that [strong scents] are a trigger.”
The fix: To find out if certain smells are headache inducing, skip all fragrances for a month. Try unscented deodorant, hair products, soap and laundry detergent, and give air fresheners in your home a miss. If your headaches lessen, or vanish, you can try reintroducing certain scents and see how well you tolerate them.