Celiac.com 04/10/2013 - People with celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease have higher rates of migraine headaches than their counterparts without those conditions, according to a new study.

Photo: CC--Bored-NowThe research team included Alexandra K. Dimitrova MD, Ryan C. Ungaro MD, Benjamin Lebwohl MD, Suzanne K. Lewis MD, Christina A. Tennyson MD, Mark W. Green MD, Mark W. Babyatsky MD, and Peter H. Green MD.

A team of researchers recently set out to assess the rates of migraine headaches in clinic and support group patients with celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and to compare those with a sample group of healthy control subjects.

A number of European studies have shown higher rates of migraine headaches in patients with celiac disease and IBD compared with control subjects.

For the study, participants all answered a self-administered survey containing clinical, demographic, and dietary data, as well as questions about headache type and frequency.

They also used both the ID-Migraine screening tool and the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6).

The research team analyzed five hundred and two subjects who met exclusion criteria. Of these, 188 had celiac disease, 111 had IBD, 25 had gluten sensitivity (GS), and 178 healthy subjects served as controls.

Thirty percent of celiac patients, 56% of gluten-sensitive patients, 23% of IBD patients, and 14% of control subjects reported chronic headaches (P < .0001).

Using multivariate logistic regression, the team found that all subjects with celiac disease (odds ratio [OR] 3.79, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.78-8.10), GS (OR 9.53, 95% CI 3.24-28.09), and IBD (OR 2.66, 95%CI 1.08-6.54) had significantly higher rates of migraine headaches than did control subjects.

Migraine rates were influenced by female sex (P = .01), depression, and anxiety (P = .0059) were independent predictors of migraine headaches, whereas age >65 was protective (P = .0345).

When it came to grading their migraines, seventy-two percent of celiac disease subjects reported having migraine that were severe in impact, compared with 30% of IBD, 60% of GS, and 50% of C subjects (P = .0919).

The number of years on gluten-free diet had no influence on the severity of migraines.

Migraine headaches were more common in people with celiac disease and IBD patients than in control subjects.

The team points out that future studies should screen migraine patients for celiac disease and assess the effects of gluten-free diet on celiac disease patients with migraines.

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