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Increased Rates of Migraines for People with Celiac Disease, IBD

Celiac.com 06/27/2012 -  If you have celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and also suffer from migraines, you are not alone. In fact, you are part of a growing group of people who suffer migraine headaches along with their celiac disease or inflammatory bowel condition.

Photo: CC -- dirk@vorderstrasse.deA recent study found that people who are sensitive to gluten have higher rates of migraine headaches. The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 21 to 28 in New Orleans.

A research team led by Alexandra Dimitrova, M.D., from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, studied the association in U.S. patients.

The team conducted a survey of 502 individuals. The survey group included 188 people with celiac disease, 111 with IBD, 25 with GS, and 178 controls.

Each member of the survey group completed a self-administered survey which included details on medical history, medications, alcohol/caffeine/drug use, method/duration of celiac disease/IBD diagnosis, duration of gluten-free diet, and headache type and frequency.

The team diagnosed migraine using the ID-Migraine screen, and assessed severity with the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6).

The results indicated that 30 percent of people with celiac disease, 56 percent of those with gluten sensitivity, 23 percent of those with IBD, and 14 percent of control patients reported chronic headache.

After the team compensated for confounding variables, patients with celiac disease, GS, and IBD showed significantly higher rates of migraines compared with control subjects, with odds ratios of 3.79, 9.53, and 2.66, respectively.

As measured with HIT-6, patients with migraines who had celiac disease suffered from more severe headaches compared with the other groups.

"Our findings suggest that migraine is a common neurologic manifestation in celiac disease, GS, and IBD," the authors write. "Future interventional studies should screen migraine patients for celiac disease, particularly those with treatment-resistant headaches."

Do you know anyone who has celiac disease, gluten-sensitivity, or IBD and also suffers from migraine headaches? Let them know by sharing this study information. Let us know by commenting below.

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17 Responses:

 
Brother Rolf
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said this on
27 Jun 2012 9:52:07 AM PST
True with me.

 
Susan
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said this on
03 Jul 2012 6:52:49 AM PST
Very interesting. My mom (age 77) was recently diagnosed with celiac disease. She has suffered her whole life with migraines. Makes you wonder if she has had celiac disease her whole life. Thanks for the info.

 
Regina
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said this on
02 Jul 2012 4:06:37 AM PST
My son, who was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 9 had constant headaches before diagnosis and I had terrible, disabling migraines before adhering to a strict gluten-free diet. Twelve years into the diet, we only have headaches rarely, when unintentionally "glutened".

 
pepper
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said this on
02 Jul 2012 5:00:43 AM PST
I have had celiac disease for 5 years. I never had migraines before, but I have had them for 4 years.

 
Donnie
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said this on
02 Jul 2012 7:42:05 AM PST
I have celiac disease and migraines. Several members of my family have migraines, and some also have celiac disease or symptoms of it.

 
Dawn
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said this on
02 Jul 2012 11:13:35 AM PST
I have celiac disease and whenever I am exposed to gluten I get a migraine cycle, which takes about a week to break. I have to take migraine medication 2-3 times per day for 6-7 days until the migraine finally breaks. Non-gluten migraines go away after the first or second migraine pill.

 
Rohin
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said this on
02 Jul 2012 12:23:13 PM PST
Thanks for the article. My wife is a celiac but luckily has not experienced this yet. Hopefully it'll stay that way! Any word on why they believe that celiacs have more migranes?

 
Mary Thorpe
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said this on
02 Jul 2012 12:32:19 PM PST
It's amazing to me how many people have shrugged off the suggestion that their migraines might be gluten related. I had terrible migraines for 30 years before going gluten-free and they ceased miraculously. I was angry that my physicians had given me no clue and even poo-pood the idea that they could be "allergy" related. I had tried everything. Imitrex was new when I went gluten-free and was the only thing that worked after all those years. I still keep it on hand for the inevitable slips. I would have tried anything that held the possibility of relief from the debilitating pain and nausea and it's mind boggling to me that people would rather live with that than contemplate the idea of giving up gluten.

 
Susanne
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said this on
02 Jul 2012 1:15:00 PM PST
I was diagnosed with celiac disease two years ago and have been eating a gluten-free diet since, but I still have chronic migraines. Did the study mention if the headaches will get better after going on a gluten-free diet, and how long it would take? Thank you for the article.

 
Lissa
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said this on
02 Jul 2012 5:56:34 PM PST
I'm a celiac and have been gluten-free for a year. I've just met with a neurologist to battle these migraines.

 
cate
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said this on
03 Jul 2012 1:21:56 AM PST
Oh yes - migraines were one of the many 'unrelated' health issues that seem to have resolved since diagnosis and going gluten-free. I'm obsessive about my gluten-free diet (I follow the specific carbohydrate diet), but migraine seems to be the first symptom I get if I have an accidental brush with gluten. For example, I was recently required to attend a team building cooking session for work, and inhaling flour that others were using was enough to launch the visual symptoms and headache. It was short-lasting, thank goodness.

 
Gill
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said this on
03 Jul 2012 5:07:46 AM PST
I had really debilitating migraines since I was a youngster. Now 64, I was diagnosed Hashimoto and Graves thyroid 3 years ago. I have irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, (not doctor diagnosed), which led me to going gluten-free 3 months ago. I now find that I have fewer migraines, (2 in 3 months instead of minimum of 6), and they are less severe.

 
Dave
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said this on
04 Jul 2012 12:15:33 PM PST
I have been diagnosed with celiac disease for about five years. I regulary have headaches and migraines even though I am on a gluten-free diet.

 
Pamela
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said this on
08 Jul 2012 9:51:03 PM PST
Great article. I've suffered with migraines for 20 years, I was diagnosed with celiac disease in December and I am working to get both under control.

 
Mary Pat
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said this on
06 Nov 2012 1:35:52 AM PST
I have been eating gluten-free for about 8 or 9 months. I am undergoing tests now to diagnose my problem, but in order to make sure, the doctor asked me to re-introduce gluten for two weeks before the tests. I have had two migraines and the first week is not over yet.... Very interesting article because I thought the headaches might be related, but I am pretty sure from this week's experience that gluten and migraines are related for me!

 
dana
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said this on
01 Dec 2012 5:23:02 AM PST
I was diagnosed with celiac disease two years ago (at age 49) and hoped that going gluten free might help lessen my chronic migraines that I've had for 30 years. Unfortunately, the migraines are still as prevalent as ever, but the gluten-free diet has certainly been a god-send for the celiac symptoms! Thanks to everyone for sharing--it helps to see that others are experiencing the same cluster of symptoms!

 
Kirsty
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said this on
05 Jan 2013 2:07:19 PM PST
I have been diagnosed with migraines recently and they have been causing me so much grief that often most pain relief wont work. My family also has celiac disease on my dad's side. I think it might be a good idea to finally get tested after reading this article... (I hate needles!)




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