No popular authors found.

Categories

No categories found.


Join Celiac.com's forum / message board and get your questions answered! Our forum has nearly 1 MILLION POSTS, and over 62,000 MEMBERS just waiting to help you with any questions about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. We'll see you there!






Follow / Share


  FOLLOW US:
Twitter Facebook Google Plus RSS Podcast Email  Get Email Alerts

SHARE:

Popular Articles

No popular articles found.
Celiac.com Sponsors:

Migraine Headaches in Women and Celiac Disease

Celiac.com 01/11/2010 - When I first went on a gluten free diet, my migraines disappeared completely.For five wonderful years, I only felt the twinges of a migraine (or maybe just a blessedly “normal” headache) during those few times when I inadvertently consumed gluten.Another thing also happened once I went on a gluten free diet – I got pregnant.

But, five years later, I learned that there could be more than one trigger for my migraines and unfortunately, gluten was only one of them.After two cycles of pregnancy and nursing, my hormones eventually normalized into a regular cycle.Now, that, in and of itself, amazed me, that for the first time in my life my body had learned to have a 4-week textbook cycle.But, along with those cycles came the worst migraines I had ever experienced in my life.I realized, sadly, that gluten wasn’t my only migraine trigger.I could avoid gluten, but I couldn’t avoid my cycle.The irony of it all struck hard– the gluten free diet had made me healthy enough to have a regular cycle – a regular cycle attached with horrific migraines.Once again, I was going from doctor to doctor, but this time (unlike the years until my celiac diagnosis), I received a fast diagnosis – menstrual migraine.The neurologist who diagnosed me said that they were probably the worst type of migraine out there – very resistant to medication, fierce in their strength, and often lasting for days.Well, he hasn’t been wrong.

Four years of migraines later, I honestly believe I may have tried every migraine treatment known to woman!I have been searching for a solution in the hope that if I could cure mine, anybody’s could be cured.However, along the way, many of the things I have tried that have temporarily worked, have worked for others too, with more lasting results.Hence this article – why not share what I’ve learned in the hope that others can be helped?Maybe, too, in this process, someone out there will know of a treatment that I have not yet tried.

Before I go on, I do want to say that staying on the gluten-free diet is the only option to having a good life at all – even though it allows the cycles that bring the migraines.Before going gluten-free, I was sick all the time with migraines.Now I am much healthier, but do get terrible cyclical migraines.I obviously choose the latter.

This article focuses on migraine prevention.I do have in my cabinet some very expensive, strong prescription triptans (Amerge works the best for me) and these are a necessity…simply because I do not want to land up in my local emergency room with a migraine that feels like it’s killing me.I think of the prescriptions as my rescue doses, for those times when all the prevention and care in the world fails.

I have tried many, many preventative treatments – supplements, herbs, Chinese medicine, bioidentical hormone pills, natural hormone creams, allergy treatments, massage, chiropractic, and even acupuncture.People swear by massage and acupuncture, I tried it some, but did not perceive enough of a benefit to continue – the expense alone was giving me a migraine.

To date, nothing has taken away my migraines, but the following items have definitely helped.And, the good news is that every item listed is affordable and completely doable! 

  1. Wake up at the same time every day.  My neurologist has a beautiful explanation as to why this can prevent a migraine, and it surprisingly has nothing to do with low blood sugar!  I cannot remember his eloquent explanation.  But, many migraine sufferers will find they get a migraine on their day off – the “Saturday Migraine”.  Usually, it’s from sleeping in and messing up the sensitive sleep/wake cycle.  My alarm has one setting – for week days as well as weekends.  If I’m tired later in the day from getting up early after a late night (which would usually happen on a weekend), I do my best to take a nap, but I rarely sleep in.
  2. B complex.  Every migraine guide you read anywhere, always mentions the B vitamins.  As I have already posted, and others have commented, celiacs have low absorption of the B vitamins since often the damaged portion of the small intestine is where absorption of B’s should occur.  This can be overcome by taking large doses of B’s.  I finally found a B-complex I can tolerate, and that’s Solgar B50.  They have a stronger dose, Solgar B100, but the B50 works for me.  B2 is often singled out for migraine sufferers, and Solgar makes an isolated B2, but this doesn’t work well for me.  It may for you, and at under $10, it’s certainly worth a try – in fact, I wish I could give you some of my almost-full bottle to try!
  3. Magnesium.  I’ve taken magnesium all along, but recently, from a commercial on the celiac website in the migraine section, I read about Dermamag.  (My husband joked with me that purchasing a supplement from an online Ad, was akin to finding a date on the internet, but it does look like this has been a good thing!)  The premise behind Dermamag, is that people with migraines are not absorbing enough magnesium through their digestive systems (sounds like a celiac to me), and that their “patented” formula is the first of its kind to deliver it through the skin.  Well, $29 and a few days later, my first bottle arrived, and I must say, I’ve been quite pleased.  It does sting my skin a bit, so I apply it to wet skin, but it has definitely stopped a few days from turning into migraine days these past few weeks.  I’m hoping that after a few months of use, the overall benefit will increase.  It might work just as well to soak in a bath of Epsom salts every night, and it would certainly be cheaper, but you know, that isn’t a “patented” way to increase your magnesium levels!!!
  4. Lemon Juice.  About three years ago I read a little side article in an educators magazine, of all places, that women in their mid-thirties often start experiencing terrible cyclical headaches.  The article blamed this on our western acidic diets and went on to say that one of the best ways to counteract an acidic diet is to squeeze lemon in your water.  Now, that made about as much sense to me as nothing – since lemons are acidic themselves, but lemons are cheap – much cheaper than the dozens of supplements I have tried over the years.  I have since been told that although they are acidic, their net effect in the body is basic (?!!) but illogical logic aside, I started squeezing lemons into my water that same day and for THREE MONTHS I did not have one migraine.  Of course, you have to be careful not to overdo it – too much acid cannot be good for a sensitive stomach.  Currently, I consume at least one lemon every day – most people go to the store when they run out of milk, I go when I run out of lemons.  I honestly think that at this point in my migraine journey, without “lemon-water” I would have a migraine every day. Vitamin D.  I actually break open my vitamin D capsule and rub it on my skin every other day.  I know the latest articles are pushing 4000 IU’s of vitamin D a day and higher, but if I take that much (orally or transdermally) I get welts on my skin.  I showed the welts to a health care practitioner once and he immediately said they were from excess vitamin D.  I reduced my dose and find that 2000IU every other day seems to be optimum for me.
  5. Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) from Hemp Oil.  I think, I hope, I pray, that this oil is turning into my own personal magic bullet.  A few months ago I purchased some Manitoba Harvest Hemp Oil on the advice of a friend and went 5 weeks without a migraine.  I had previously tried a great brand of EPO in the capsule form, but honestly couldn’t afford to take it in the doses I required.  The Hemp Oil, however, brings you the EPO in a nature-made n-3:n-6:n-9 fatty acid ratio.   When I ran out of the Manitoba harvest, I couldn’t find it locally, so I bought a different brand and my migraines returned.  Frustrated, I gave up on it, until just two weeks ago, when someone I had suggested try it raved on and on how it was helping them with PMS.  I finally found my original brand, and have been back on it for 10 days.  The difference so far has been amazing, I don’t even feel like I could get a migraine at all!  Obviously, time will tell, but for now I’ll continue to be hopeful.  I actually take Nordic Arctic Fish Oil, too, so I mix a little of each and swallow the whole nasty mess.  I have friends who mix it in juice or incorporate it in their food, but I don’t want to ruin the food I’m eating, so I just take it straight and get it over with.  A word of caution – EPO has been known to cause uterine contractions, so do not take it if you are pregnant!
  6. Finally, and I will not belabor this point since I have have mentioned it in another article, I do take Solgar’s prenatal multivitamin simply because it’s the only multi that I can tolerate.  And, I only take half a dose.  
  7. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D from Solaray. 

That’s my personal regime.  I have come up with it by research, reading, severe trial and error, and much wasting of money.  Hopefully one of those items can help you in your quest to become migraine free.  As always, I would never try more than one new thing at a time, our bodies are too sensitive and there needs to be time for us to gauge our own reactions.  

Good luck, God bless, and I would love to hear of any of your own personal successes against migraines.  Maybe, between all of us, we can beat these things, and instead of counting the years until menopause, we can enjoy the intervening years gluten AND migraine free!!!

Celiac.com welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).



Related Articles




Spread The Word





30 Responses:

 
Timothy Bauer
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
12 Jan 2010 10:33:20 AM PST
To all:

As a long time sufferer of migraines the information in this article by Jennifer Arrington is very good. I would also recommend for some persons to try a breathing program. Many people do not breath correctly which can help with stress-relaxation-etc. The internet has many articles on this. I personally use Gay Hendricks product-called "The Breathing Box" which was recommended to me by my naturopath. To good health everyone.

 
Dru
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
13 Jan 2010 10:39:29 AM PST
You might want to try magnesium glycinate, a much more absorb-able form that what is normally available in magnesium supplements.

 
Deanna
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
14 Jan 2010 4:55:23 PM PST
Very informative and helpful. Thank you!!

 
Helen
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
21 Jan 2010 3:25:58 AM PST
Like you I have coeliac disease and did have migraines for years. My migraines also disappeared on commencing the diet, but they came back later as the mestrual migraines. My cure? Omit all coffee and caffeine form the diet. It worked a treat. I have had no migraines for well over a year now and I feel great.

 
Jennifer
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
25 Jan 2010 6:15:09 PM PST
Helen, I am now on day 2 of caffeine-free. As I told you in my email, day 1 was unbelievably difficult - I had a terrible migraine all day and no migraine-caffeine-med to fix it. Today wasn't as bad, just foggy. I'm going to try this for a month. Thanks so much for your post and helpful emails.

 
Elizabeth
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Feb 2012 7:55:09 AM PST
My bedtime migraines are helped with Oregon Chai Tea Latte Concentrate "The Original." I drink an ounce straight (no dilution)! The ingredients say "black tea, vanilla, spices, and honey," and although it has some black tea in it, it seems to take the edge off my migraine, sometimes takes it away completely. It settles my stomach, too. By the way, I've tried other chai teas, and they don't seem to work like the Oregon Chai brand.

 
TRACIE
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
21 Jan 2010 12:04:55 PM PST
STAYING AWAY FROM CHEMICALS ON A DAILY BASIS IS ONE OF THE MAJOR THINGS THAT HAVE HELPED ME. THAT MEANS PERFUMES, COLOGNES, FRAGRANCES, LAUNDRY PRODUCTS, HOUSE HOLD PRODUCTS, ETC. THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. IT IS HARD BUT COMPLETELY WORTH IT.

 
Debi Dalio
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
01 Feb 2010 11:11:22 AM PST
I finally figured out my migraines are caused by chocolate and caffeine, so I have given up both. You might consider soaking in a bath of Epsom salts as an option.

I take magnesium. I've found that if I don't get enough magnesium I get occasional irregular heartbeats.

 
Jennifer
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
01 Feb 2010 12:28:27 PM PST
Something that I need to add: I'm about halfway through the book by David Buchholz, MD, Heal Your Headache: The 1.2.3 Program for Taking Charge of your Pain. I wish I would have known about this book before I posted my article. He does a wonderful job explaining the difference between triggers and food intolerance and has a laundry list of potential food triggers. He lists caffeine as the number one food culprit, which, thanks to your comments I have already cut out. I'm going to cut out the other foods on his list, too...not fun, but I'm tired of headaches running my life :) I highly recommend the book.

 
katy
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
14 Nov 2010 4:49:00 PM PST
I was just wondering if you were going to cut out the lemon juice as I am following Dr. Bucholz book and he says no citrus -- so I cut out lemon. Please let me know.

 
dawn
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
29 Aug 2011 10:00:16 AM PST
I too am reading David Buchholz's, book and alas giving up many favorite foods, along with going gluten free. I am on day four and still suffering nightly from killer migraines but my energy level has astounded me. Having a hard time getting up but once my feet hit the floor I am on the go. I give this to the gluten free diet and God for letting them find out about my celiac disease. Migraines....I think I'm rebounding. I can't break away from the imitrex, with intense pain from migraine. I am really trying to go cold turkey. Thanks for everyone's input...very supportive.

 
Ruth A.
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
01 Feb 2010 1:33:03 PM PST
I too experienced terrible migraines on those days of the month. Especially the day before and the first 2 days. Now I rarely if ever get any headaches......the miracle cure is Water (3 liters a day) and 16 oz during the night if I feel one starting.

Please read the book: Obesity, Cancer, Depression - Their Common cause & Natural Cure by F. Batmanghelidj, MD

 
Emily
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
03 Nov 2012 6:50:06 PM PST
I get great relief with Amerge... Only drug that touches my headache. I also avoid red wine, chocolate, and nuts during my period. They are definitely triggers. We get these headaches from a sudden drop in estrogen... hard to prevent without taking hormone supplements. I'm not willing as long as I have Amerge.

 
Anita
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
03 Feb 2010 2:42:47 PM PST
For 6 years I experienced intense migraines every month about 7 days before my period, so I assumed these headaches were associated with hormones. However, once I was diagnosed with celiac and followed a gluten free diet, I rarely experienced migraines. If I did, they were much milder and usually related to accidental ingestion of gluten. Something that works well when I do still get the occasional migraine is an ice pack on the neck (works miracles for me), 4 ibuprofen, 1 benadryl, and a dark quite room.

 
Denise L
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
10 May 2010 3:10:50 PM PST
WOW something for us to try. My husband suffers from migraines from 8-13 per month. He has tried everything from diet to botox, chiropractic etc. He has never tried a gluten-free diet, something that I am going to investigate. he goes through his relpax medication like candy and the are 6 tablets for 106.00 but he gets relief. Any other suggestions would be so very helpful.

 
Elizabeth
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
03 Nov 2014 9:59:40 PM PST
I was getting 15-20 migraines a month. Chiropractic, combined with traction to relieve pressure on the nerves in my neck, and a gluten free diet have made big improvements. To put it in perspective, I was going thru 9 Relpax and at least 30 norco per month, now I don't worry so much about running out of pain relief drugs before I can get a refill. Relpax was my "magic pill" the only one that worked, but with the decrease in both frequency and severity, I am now able to use rizatriptan, a generic of Altmig I believe. You might want to read the Keeler Migraine Method. It explains how migraines work and a variety of techniques for discovering your triggers and things that may provide relief.

 
katy
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
14 Nov 2010 4:51:05 PM PST
Also, How much hemp oil do you ingest at a time?

 
Trudy
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
19 Nov 2010 8:14:34 PM PST
I am so pleased to have this information. Thank you so much for sharing it with us fellow migraine sufferers. My menstrual migraine became much worse when gluten free but the daily headaches were gone. All of your suggestions are going on my list of things to try as I am very grateful for your research and the time you to took to share it here.

 
christy
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
15 Dec 2010 8:07:18 PM PST
I have been suffering with migraines since I was a young child. I am a 35 yo female who has had much pain from recurrent migraines especially associated with menstrual cycles. I notice at times my they start in the back of my neck and travel up to temples. I am not able to lay down due to intense throbbing..it's better to keep head above heart level. I have always used an over the counter product called BC powders. I take 2 "powders" and dump the powder into 2 ounces of coke or sprite and after it drink it down. This has helped me more than any other pill from the doctor. It has aspirin and caffeine. When i do get my cluster migraines that last for days.. I will take a prescription thats very effective called fiorcet (acetaminophen, Butalbital, Caffeine) does not make me feel drugged at all., its prescribed for tension headaches, but it works for my migraines. I think it help relax the throbbing vessels that hurts so much. Also during a migraine I have found very hot rags held on my forehead combined with bc powders have saved my life many times. note. try to eat a little piece of bread or anything with bc powders since they are like advil which can irritate the stomach. but its not a big deal... go out and get these little powders and you will thank me I swear. Also stay hydrated! and don't skip meals.. avoid processed meats and aged cheeses, and alcohol. Also there is a new gene found that could give us hope for a cure on day.

 
Anita
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
22 Jul 2011 11:36:26 AM PST
I too am a migraine sufferer, I actually had one last night the made me throw up for 5 hours. I also have coeliac disease and just found out about that. I have been chronically sick for years and years and have incurred enough medical debt that I now have to file for bankruptcy. Since I literally just found out about the coeliac disease I have not yet changed to a completely gluten free diet but am planning on doing so immediately. I have found that 1/2 a teaspoon of low sodium salt with potassium helps my migraines. I put it directly on my tongue, let it dissolve, then swallow. It hasn't been helping lately as much as it did at first but maybe it could help one of you. I plan to start some of these regimens asap to see if they help as well. Thank you all for your input and thank you Jennifer for this article. Will keep in touch!

 
Ilir Thaci
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
04 Oct 2011 11:48:00 AM PST
This is a great article, thank you. My daughter and I have been diagnosed with celiac last December and she's been getting her migraines during her period (since April).

This article is the first one that is giving me some insights and has similar appearance to my daughter's migraines. I really appreciate the information and will we will try to use some of your suggestions. Hopefully will get some positive results. I will definitely give feedback.

 
Mattelyn
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
08 Oct 2011 5:40:52 AM PST
Migraine sufferer for years, especially during teen years, during childbearing years with pregnancies and as many miscarriages as children, and now during menopause. Just started many of the things that have worked for you and so far are helping. Had one migraine-free portion of one day, first in three weeks, yesterday! Really focusing on gluten free, lemon juice, magnesium, and sugar elimination. Oxygeated magnesium works well (not magnesium oxide) with regularity, which is a main factor for me. Also have found some relief with alkalinized, oxidized water; although the Western world does not recognize the benefits, I certainly have. Thanks for great information and encouragement. Am sharing your info with a friend/coworker.

 
Karen
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
20 Oct 2011 5:18:24 PM PST
I have also suffered from migraines and spent a lot of money trying to work out answers. I have been gluten free for 18 months and this did help a lot. Learning to stop and take naps before I get exhausted helps but it is hard to get everything done and it is hard to find somewhere to rest if you are out for the day or working. I have tried acupuncture with lasers and needles I think it helped decrease the intensity of my headaches but I had to go for 6 months once a week and am only just trying to wean off to once a fortnight. I have had a headache free week for the first time in years (I am mid cylce). I am vitamin D deficient and iron deficient so I have been taking supplements for those for 3 months. I will definitely try the other supplements. Menstral headaces have been shown to be from the changing levels of estrogen at the beginning and end of a period, it is good to know there is something that has helped others.

 
Matica
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
19 Feb 2012 1:56:15 PM PST
Suffering for 32 years...want to die!

 
Teri
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
17 May 2012 8:50:20 PM PST
You may want to consider seasonal birth control. The kind you take for 3 months instead of one. You end up with 4 cycles a year instead of 12. I did this switch specifically for my migraines and it helped a lot. Now I get minor migraines in between but only the major ones every 4 months, which is a blessing. Hopefully now with my celiac disease diagnosis I can get rid of the ones in between. I have had more headaches and been tired since I started my diet so far though. Hopefully the vitamins will help when I start taking them.

 
Shelby
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
04 Jul 2012 5:05:22 PM PST
I too have been implementing a "seasonal" birth control. I have had celiac disease for 3 years (misdiagnosed for 10 years prior). About 2 years ago, I started suffering from menstrual migraines. I am 35. I try and target my cycle to skip bad allergy seasons, as they increase my chance of migraines. This helps but I still get some whopping headaches. Sometimes caffeine actually helps relieve them, though I avoid fried foods, processed foods and alcohol like the plague. I have started B50 vitamins a year ago and the lemon water. Unfortunately, I didn't keep up with the lemon water but would like to try again. I eat a very healthy diet but can suffer from intense acid reflux. I hope the lemon water can balance my acidity. Good luck everyone!

 
Kris
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
20 May 2012 7:32:44 AM PST
My neurologist has me on 500mg magnesium, 400 mg b-2 (riboflavin), and one regular aspirin a day. This has helped, and I have not been diagnosed with celiac disease, but I think I have it. I'm taking massive quantities of other vitamins as well, but I haven't tried some of these other tricks. I am contemplating going gluten-free. I meet with a gluten intolerance specialist next week. Thanks for posting this.

 
Letitia
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
12 Dec 2012 7:14:19 PM PST
Thank you so much for all your suggestions. I have suffered from migraines for over 30 years and like most of us have tried everything going. I have not tried a gluten-free diet but willing to give it a go. I have to say my migraines are like clockwork but I have gone through menopause and nothing has changed. We still have hormones operating and it may not be the ones you think that are triggering the attack. Sorry to be sounding pessimistic, but it is not a cure for everyone and I still think there is a lot more genetic predisposition. There is a condition called Hughes syndrome that has migraines as a primary symptom. If anyone is suffering with migraine and has had recurrent miscarriage or blood clotting it is worth getting checked out for. If this is the cause blood thinners can make an enormous difference. Best of luck to everyone!

 
Kris
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
21 Feb 2014 12:29:53 PM PST
I have been gluten and corn free for 5 weeks now working up to 8 weeks. At 8 weeks I will eat corn and see if I have a reaction then add gluten back and see how that goes. I have regular headaches and menstrual migraines and recently mid cycle horrible migraine. I attribute it to stress. I am on 600 mg of magnesium citrate a day, b-12, riboflavin and I just started taking Fioricet (muscle relaxer with codeine and caffeine) that works great most times. I have taken Maxalt for 3 years and it has been less and less effective. I want to try Amerge. I also will try the hemp oil. For temporary relief I have mint ice cream, I want to rub it all over my face though when it's really bad.

 
sandra klark
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
22 Oct 2014 8:46:45 AM PST
Utalbital/Caffeine Aspirin is a pain reliever, as well as an anti-inflammatory and a fever reducer. Butalbital is a barbiturate. It relaxes muscle contractions involved in a tension headache. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It relaxes muscle contractions in blood vessels to improve blood flow. The combination of aspirin, butalbital, and caffeine is used to treat tension headaches. This medicine is not for treating headaches that come and go.




Rate this article and leave a comment:
Rating: * Poor Excellent
Your Name *: Email (private) *: