Do you ever wonder why a floral scent triggers migraines? Here is my conclusion after some research. The scent of a flower is a chemical that is produced in order for the flower to survive. The flower can actually change the chemical it emits in order to either attract pollinaters or repel predators. The odor is a chemical messenger that is dissolved in the air. We unsuspecting migrainuers inhale it and it interacts with receptors in our bodies that transmit it through the nose and olfactory bulb and then on to the limbic system (part of the brain). The limbic system is tied directly to the pituitary and hypothalamus glands which control hormones that affect heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance. The hypothalamus produces growth hormone, sex hormones, thyroid hormone, and serotonin. The fluctuation or change in hormones is well established as a trigger for many a migrainuer. Our weary heads are triggered by the changes created by sniffing our flowering friends (or fellow airplane passengers).
What can we migrainuers do about floral scents? When we have the opportunity we can let our loved ones know about our sensitive snouts. When we get the stinky bouquet it may be an opportunity to educate our friends about what flowers we can tolerate. There are a number of flowers that give off barely any scent at all. The following flowers I can enjoy without triggering a headache: