The Real Reason You Get Headaches From Certain Smells

You may want to think twice before you take time to "stop and smell the roses" — specifically the kind in a bottle of perfume — if you've become prone to bad headaches or migraines due to certain smells.

If your headaches or migraines seem to be triggered by specific smells, you may have hyperosmia, a condition characterized by a highly sensitive sense of smell (via Healthline). The cause for your hypersensitive nose may be related to any number of various medical conditions such as pregnancy, Lyme disease, autoimmune diseases, and certain neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. People who suffer from hyperosmia may even feel physically sick when exposed to triggering odors, especially odors that are chemical in nature like perfumes or cleaning products.

Another potential cause of aroma-triggered migraines is a condition called osmophobia. Unlike hyperosmia, which is associated with specific medical conditions, osmophobia is psychological in nature. The resulting discomfort is triggered by an emotional response to certain smells (via Verywell Health).

How to relieve headaches triggered by certain smells

If you find that you are experiencing headaches or migraines from certain smells, the easiest place to start is to simply avoid those circumstances whenever possible. If you are sensitive to perfumes, choose unscented products when available, and if you must use a product that is scented, try to use it in a space that allows for adequate air circulation (via Wonderopolis). If you take measures like these to protect yourself, but you still find you're experiencing headaches, try treating the headaches with an over-the-counter pain reliever.

If your odor-induced headaches or migraines persist, there are other measures you can take. Experts at Boston Clinical Trials recommend being observant of your surroundings and noting any triggers in these locations. Be mindful of any premonitory symptoms such as moodiness, dizziness, or fatigue. If you identify certain fumes associated with these symptoms, stay clear of those in the future and note if you feel any improvement. Also, if you are experiencing migraines at work or at home, talk with your boss or roommate to figure out ways to eliminate the odor causing the issue.

Getting a headache or migraine from certain smells can be a drag, but if you can identify the root of the problem and take appropriate action, chances are that your life will begin to smell a whole lot rosier.