The comparison of the main dietary and non-dietary trigger factors in women with chronic and episodic migraine

Nutr Diet. 2022 Nov;79(5):616-622. doi: 10.1111/1747-0080.12761. Epub 2022 Aug 18.


Aims: Migraine is one of the most common neurological diseases and the second cause of disability worldwide. Various trigger factors have been reported in different populations. The current study was designed to extract the main trigger factors using factor analysis, and compare the chronic and episodic patient scores for every extracted pattern.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 300 migrainous women (25-55 years old) participated. A constructed 46-item Likert questionnaire was developed to assess the primary triggers. The validity of the designed questionnaire was assessed by Content Validity Ratio and Content Validity Index coefficients. The test-retest method was employed to assess reliability. The exploratory factor analysis was performed to extract patterns of correlation among 46 triggers. Each participant was given a score for every extracted pattern. The mean scores of chronic and episodic patients were compared using the Mann-Whitney test.

Results: The mean body mass index of participants was 28.17 ± 5.44 kg/m2 . Most participants (90.7%) had migraine without aura. Four factors were extracted using factor analysis that explained 22.37% of the total variance: (1) environmental and behavioural factors; (2) condiments; (3) nitrite, tyramine and caffeine; and (4) fats. None of these factors explained the difference between chronic and episodic migrainous women.

Conclusions: The current study suggests that environmental and behavioural factors, relative to dietary triggers, play an essential role in causing migraine in women and more than dietary triggers. The most important triggers did not differ between episodic and chronic migrainous women.

Keywords: factor analysis; migraine; triggers; women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Migraine Disorders* / etiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires