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Can Food Allergies Cause Headaches

Migraines Headaches And Food Allergies

Can allergies cause migraines?

Home » Blog » IBS Headaches and Migraines » Migraines, Headaches and Food Allergies

Dr. Stephen Wangen is the award winning author of two books on solving digestive disorders, and a nationally recognized speaker on IBS. He has been on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio. He was recently named one of Seattles Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.

It might be surprising to find us writing about headaches, but they are so frequently caused by the same things that cause digestive problems that they have been begging for an article for many years.

Migraines and tension headaches, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome , are often associated with stress. Also like IBS, they can come on for seemingly no reason at all and are often caused by problems far more specific than stress.

Whether or not you have digestive problems, you may be able to completely eliminate your headaches by simply changing your diet. And we can help you do it.

It is not unusual for patients to visit us for digestive problems only to find that after implementing their individualized treatment plan their headaches have also resolved.

Besides food allergies, another interesting cause of headaches can be the presence of a yeast or Candida in the digestive tract. Yeast can trigger headaches via the toxic affect of byproducts that they produce. These are absorbed from the digestive tract and can lead to a variety of health problems including headaches.

Is Migraine Due To Food Allergy

Allergy has been suggested as trigger for migraine. Allergy technically means a particular type of immune response, which has not been found in scientific migraine studies. Some use the word allergy more loosely, where scientific medicine might use the words intolerance or sensitivity. It follows that allergy testing is not helpful in migraine patients furthermore, skin testing can show allergies which are not clinically relevant.

Viral Or Bacterial Infection

Ever heard of someone catching a stomach bug? This is just that: If youve caught a viral or bacterial infection, your whole body is going to go through it. You might experience nausea right after eating, generally lasting 24 to 48 hours, but you may likely experience a whole slew of other symptoms, too, like fever, muscle aches and joint pain.

It generally affects your whole body, says Dr. Lee. This comes on quick and it usually goes away on its own.

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Preventing Food Related Headaches

Preventing food allergy headaches can be as simple as avoiding specific trigger foods once you figure out what your triggers are. But some triggers are difficult to avoid because they are found in most processed foods, this can also make those triggers difficult to find.

If youre having difficulty finding your trigger foods, it may be time to talk to a headache specialist at a headache treatment clinic to learn more about how to prevent headaches caused from allergies. Contact the National Headache Institute for more information on our cutting-edge treatments including stem cell treatment. Call today to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations.

Igg Food Allergy A Possible Trigger Of Inflammatory Processes That Cause Migraine

Food sensitivities are more common than you may think ...

Many people suffer from headaches, more or less frequently. There are more than 200 types of headaches the most common ones are tension headache and migraine. The particular forms of headaches differ in frequency, duration and manifestation or in the type of pain . Migraine and tension headache are classified as so-called primary headaches they are seen as a clinical picture of its own that can be treated directly.

The causes of primary headaches are still unclear. A large number of people affected by migraine suspect that foods could trigger the attacks. A delayed IgG food allergy might be such a trigger. The ImuPro concept may thus be a useful approach: It combines an IgG food allergy test and personalised nutritional guidelines. Learn more.

Migraine is a complex neurological picture. People affected usually suffer from long-lasting and intense headaches. Migraine headaches cause throbbing or pulsating pain, usually on only one side of the head. They can interfere with sleep, work and other everyday activities and may occur as often as several times per week or as rarely as once or twice a year. A migraine most often begins at puberty and mostly affects those aged between 35 and 45 years.

Common Symptoms of Migraine

  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Stomachache

The diagnosis of migraine

The causes of migraine

The scientific approach to migraine and IgG

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How Common Are Food Allergies And Intolerances

Food allergies affect about 1 percent of adults and 7 percent of children, although some children outgrow their allergies. Food intolerances are much more common. In fact, nearly everyone at one time has had an unpleasant reaction to something they ate. Some people have specific food intolerances. Lactose intolerance, the most common specific food intolerance, affects about 10 percent of Americans.

Preventing Food Allergy In Children

Allergy prevention in children is an active area of research. Findings to date indicate that:

  • prenatal there is no conclusive evidence that avoiding allergens in pregnancy will help prevent allergies in your child
  • postnatal exclusive breastfeeding during the first four to six months appears to protect against the development of allergies in early childhood.
  • introducing solid foods around six months is recommended, preferably while continuing to breastfeed
  • breastfeeding avoidance of a food by a woman while breastfeeding is not recommended
  • soymilk formula studies have shown that using soymilk formula does not prevent the development of allergies in children
  • partially hydrolysed cows milk-based formula is not recommended to prevent the development of food allergy.

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You Develop Gas Bloating Episodes Of Belching Loose Stools And/or Diarrhea After Eating

Although there are many causes for these symptoms, this could be due to gluten sensitivity/celiac disease, food allergies/sensitivities, lactose and/or fructose intolerance, and/or SIBO .

Solution: Keep a food diary, do an elimination diet, and see your health care provider and/or a gastroenterologist to get tested for these disorders. Occasionally a CDSA through a laboratory specializing in nutritional medicine can help identify the cause of GI problems.

Headache Triggers For People With Allergies

Headaches Food Allergies Allergy Testing

Allergy doesnt always look like allergy and allergy symptoms can manifest in many different ways. Some experience itchy throat and runny nose. Others know their allergies are peaking when they experience headaches or migraines, and some find that headaches are their only allergy symptom.

Though a definitive cause of migraines isnt totally clear, clinical evidence and research has shown a connection between migraines, headaches, and allergies. Foods, environmental factors and irritants can all be headache triggers.

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What Is Food Intolerance

Food intolerance is a digestive system response rather than an immune system response. It occurs when something in food irritates a persons digestive system or when a person is unable to properly digest, or break down, the food. Intolerance to lactose, which is found in milk and other dairy products, is the most common food intolerance.

What Causes Food Allergies And Intolerances

Food allergies arise from sensitivity to chemical compounds in food, even compounds that are found naturally in food. Food allergies are more common in people whose family members have allergies, suggesting a genetic or hereditary factor may be involved with the development of food allergies.

Food allergies develop after you are exposed to a food protein that your body thinks is harmful. The first time you eat the food containing the protein, your immune system responds by creating specific disease-fighting antibodies . When you eat the food again, it triggers the release of IgE antibodies and other chemicals, including histamine, in an effort to expel the protein “invader” from your body. Histamine is a powerful chemical that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin or cardiovascular system.

The allergy symptoms you have depend on where in the body the histamine is released. If it is released in the ears, nose and throat, you may have an itchy nose and mouth, or trouble breathing or swallowing. If histamine is released in the skin, you may develop hives or a rash. If histamine is released in the gastrointestinal tract, you likely will develop stomach pains, cramps or diarrhea. Many people experience a combination of symptoms as the food is eaten and digested.

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Could A Hidden Allergy Be Causing Your Migraines

Do you get headaches often? Do they interfere with your life? Repeated headaches and migraines have a significant effect on quality-of-life and productivity at the personal level. Collectively migraines and other associated symptoms cost the US economy over ten billion dollars per year , with an estimated 10% to 15% of the population, mostly women, suffering from repeated migraines . If youve ever tried to see a doctor about repeated migraines, youll know that the condition is poorly understood. Medications are available, but prevention is another matter entirely since it is extremely difficult to determine the primary underlying causes in any given individual. Stress levels, hormones, sleep patterns, and even the weather are listed as culprits . Obviously, all of these factors can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to control without making major life-style changes . On the other hand, specific food triggers are rarely mentioned, despite the fact that 50% of migraine sufferers avoid specific foods . Arguably, eliminating a few foods from your diet could potentially be much easier to manage, but scientists are only just beginning to find concrete evidence for the role of food in migraines, and as a result the approach is not standard practice with most doctors.

Amy Sutton is a PhD candidate in the Harvard University department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.


Allergy Basics. WebMD. . April 12, 2013.

Triggers Of Migraine Headaches

Pin on Sinus Infection? Bad Cold? Flu? Chest Congestion?
  • Sleep changes. Getting too much sleep or too little sleep can lead to migraines in some people. 30%-50% of individuals who suffer from migraines also experience disturbed sleep.
  • Beverages. Certain beverages including alcohol and drinks with caffeine are common triggers of migraines. Alcoholic drinks, particularly wine, contain byproducts known as congeners. They are linked to headaches. Alcohol also signals the immune system to produce more histamine which increases inflammation throughout the body and can lead to headaches. Caffeine-filled drinks such as coffee are linked to migraines. The chances of experiencing a migraine increase when an individual consumer three or more caffeinated beverages per day.
  • Stress. Everyone experiences stress at home and at work. Sometimes it can be difficult to manage or control, but too much stress can wreak havoc on the body and lead to migraines.
  • Recommended Reading: Mayo Clinic Allergies

    Could My Symptoms Be Something Else

    If you regularly have diarrhoea, bloating, tummy pain or skin rashes but you’re not certain of the cause, see a GP.

    A GP may be able to diagnose the cause from your symptoms and medical history. If necessary, they’ll order tests, such as blood tests.

    You can also do some research yourself. It may help to find out about other conditions that cause similar symptoms. For example, find out about:

    The bowel is a sensitive organ and it’s common to have bowel symptoms when you have been ill or feel run down or stressed.

    The Relationship Between Migraines Headaches And Food Intolerance

    If you suffer from Migraines or headaches, and have not yet discovered a cause then it is possible that you could be one of the estimated 9 million adults in the UK with a food intolerance.

    These food sensitivities can be very difficult to pinpoint – often a trial and error elimination diet alone can take months before trigger foods are identified, as your migraines could be due to a food you have just eaten, or it could be because of a food you ate earlier in the day, or even one or two days previously.

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    Food Allergies Can Trigger A Migraine

    • May 31 2018, 17:25 ist

    Most of us think that a headache is a common ailment that does not require medical intervention unless it is severe and turns into a migraine. However, did you know that food allergy could also trigger headaches?

    Since the food allergies have a reaction on the body every time the food is eaten, it is still difficult to recognise them as the reaction may vary every time and thats why it is difficult to recognise food-related migraine triggers.

    The foods that trigger a migraine generally contain tyramine or phenylethylamine compounds which are generally found in chocolates, fermented cheese, soy foods, nuts, wine, onions, pickles etc. Heres a list of some food components that may cause severe headaches.

    • Caffeine: It is one of the major food components that result in a migraine. Black tea and other caffeinated drinks cause headaches.
    • Aspartame: The used artificial sweetener causes a migraine. Be careful while consuming diet beverages, yoghurt and sugar-free foods.
    • Additives: MSG, yeast extracts, sodium caseinate etc. are generally used in the Chinese cuisines are bad for people with a migraine.
    • Sulfites: This ingredient is found in dried prunes, figs, apricots etc.
    • Alcohol: Since alcohol causes dehydration, drinking any form of liquor results in headaches.

    How To Reduce Your Allergy Symptoms

    Food Allergies and the Causes of Migraines. Are There Foods to Avoid?

    You can start with over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants to treat the allergy symptoms you’re having now. The next step is getting immunotherapy by making an appointment with an allergist. The doctor will do an allergy test to see what you’re allergic to and create allergy shots to help your immune system. You’ll see a decrease in allergy symptoms, including those painful allergy migraines. Your allergist will give you injections that contain a small amount of your allergens to help your immune system recognize that they are not a threat to your health to build up a tolerance to them instead of overreacting and triggering allergy attacks.

    Limit your exposure to your allergens by avoiding going outside on windy days and when the pollen count is high. Use air conditioning with a HEPA filter to keep the air in your home clean and free of allergens. Avoid yard work and hanging clothes outside to dry. Use allergy-friendly covers on your pillows, mattresses, and box springs. Clean with wet mops instead of brooms, and keep pets out of your bedroom. Replace any carpeting with flooring because carpets can keep allergens trapped in them. Use a neti pot daily to clean out your sinuses. You should see a decrease in your allergy symptoms and headaches or migraines after taking these steps .

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    Should I Give Up Alcohol

    The most common dietary migraine trigger is alcohol. In one study, 29% percent of people with migraine reported alcohol as a trigger for attacks, compared to 19% reporting chocolate, and 18% reporting cheese. Certain types of alcohol contain chemicals that can, in sufficiently large doses, cause headache in anyone: which leads to migraine in those who are predisposed to migraine. Alcohol hangover is very similar to migraine. Some alcoholic drinks such as vodka or champagne contain fewer chemicals matching each alcoholic drink, with an equal amount of water can help avoid dehydration, which contributes to alcohol-related headache and migraine.

    Large Study Identifies Food Sensitivity Testing & Removal Led To Symptom Relief

    The British Allergy Foundation commissioned a study of patients who had recently received an IgG food sensitivity test . The goal of the study was to find out whether removing reactive foods from the diet improved patients symptoms. The results were published in Nutrition & Food Science in 2007.12 Of the over 5000 patients included, 70% rigorously followed the results and eliminated all their reactive foods.

    Patients who successfully removed reactive foods from their diets saw improvement in a variety of symptoms, most within 3 weeks. Symptom improvement was shown to be directly related to the removal of the reactive foods as symptoms returned when the reactive foods were reintroduced into the diet.

    • 76% saw significant symptom improvement
    • 68% saw benefit within 3 weeks
    • 92% had symptoms return when reactive food were added back to the diet

    Symptom relief varied by body system, with digestive symptoms like irritable bowel syndrome and psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression, showing the greatest improvement when reactive foods were removed.

    In Summary

    Many patients who suffer from migraines or chronic headaches will often improve once food triggers are tested and removed from the diet. While migraine headaches are often the result of multiple underlying causes , food identification and removal is a reasonable and effective first choice for pain reduction.


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    With So Many Complicating Factors Whats The Best Approach To Reduce My Chance Of Getting A Headache

    Being aware of foods, drinks and most importantly, the ingredients and chemicals that have been reported as headache triggers can be a helpful tool, a good starting point. Keep in mind that headache triggers vary from person to person. Also understand that pinpointing a headache trigger goes far beyond food/drink products that may have been consumed in the hours or even days before the headache started. So many other factors influence the occurrence of a headache.

    So then, what can you do to lower your chance of headache? The best approach may be to begin to control known influencers of headache. A family history of headaches is something you cannot control. However, getting a good nights sleep, not skipping meals, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and exercising regularly are some of the other things you can control.

    As far as foods, drinks, and ingredients are concerned, it certainly doesnt hurt to try to figure out if one or more food items might be triggering your headache. Eliminate one item at a time over weeks or months and record this information in a headache diary. Only cut out a food if you have a high suspicion it causes headaches, otherwise you might remove foods you enjoy! In this diary, also track other factors that occurred within 24 hours of the headache . With all of this information in hand, you can begin to sort out and discover for yourself the factors that provoke your headache.



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