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"silent" Migraines - What To Watch For?
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Hi All,

I preface this by saying that I have never had a migraine. Not the head-splitting, need to hide in the dark for hours, horrible horrible headache that migraines classically are. However, I'm starting to wonder if I might not be showing symptoms of a so-called "silent" migraine.

I know migraines can be hereditary. My father used to have them (he died of a brain aneurysm at 35), and I recently found out that I have a small (insignificant, the neurologist said) aneurysm myself. Hopefully nothing that will ever be a problem, but I haven't had it fully accessed yet (would really rather pretend it's not there...)

Anyway, last year I had a lot of trouble with what I thought was my inner ear (dizziness and near-vertigo, fullness and some drainage in my left year, sinus headache). After a bunch of tests that determined that my inner ear is fine and it's not actually a balance issue, I cut back on salt, cut out casein and soy, and have generally been much better in the dizzy department.

However, on occassion (like right now, actually) it'll come back, usually right after I eat. For example, right now I have slightly blurred vision (trouble focusing), dizziness, nausea, headache that seems to be all over my head. Not super serious, but not very nice. My hands feel all tingly too. I'm not getting any visual disturbances other than blurriness (I have "floaters and flashers", but that's a constant. My vision is terrible on the best of days).

I am wondering if this sounds familiar to anyone that has experience with migraines, silent or not. I remember the neurologist asking if I'd ever had a migraine, and I said no, nothing that I could describe as such. But he never asked about specific symptoms. When I see him again (likely not until next year. I am not looking forward to having dye pumped into me so they can see this bubble in my brain...) I will mention it and see what he thinks, but in the meantime it would be good to know what to watch out for. Maybe i really am having migraines and don't know it?

Diet-wize, I have been extremely careful lately. Virtually everything is cooked at home from as scratch as possible, no gluten, dairy/casein, soy, added salt. I'm taking digestive enzymes with meals.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Peggy

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Others might have different ideas, but this sounds to me like postprandial hypotention. I have it. Check this out:

http://heartdisease....Hypotension.htm

Low blood pressure after eating (postprandial hypotension). Postprandial hypotension is a sudden drop in blood pressure after eating. It affects mostly older adults. Just as gravity pulls blood to your feet when you stand, a large amount of blood flows to your digestive tract after you eat. Ordinarily, your body counteracts this by increasing your heart rate and constricting certain blood vessels to help maintain normal blood pressure. But in some people these mechanisms fail, leading to dizziness, faintness and falls. Postprandial hypotension is more likely to affect people with high blood pressure or autonomic nervous system... I got it from here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/low-blood-pressure/DS00590/DSECTION=causes

It can be associated with dehydration, or low salt intake. I need to eat a lot of salt and drink plenty of water to stop it.

What is the silent migraine: http://www.webmd.com...ilent-migraines (In the past, experts thought migraines were primarily a problem with blood flow in the brain) This could be it? Postprandial hypotension can cause silent migraine because of a reduced blood flow into the brain?

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Hmmm... I have had migraines but my symptoms are not like yours.

Uusally but not always at the start of it there will be visual disturbances. There might be portions of my vision that are missing. I might see something that looks sort of like the outline of a crown that is brightly colored and shot through with black. Sort of like a firework. I don't always get this. But if I do and I can lie down in a dark, cool, quiet area for a couple of hours, it might go away. Or it might not.

If it progreses, I will usually get a pain sort of around one eye but it also will give me pain in my neck and into my shoulders. Feels like I should be able to rub it out but I can't. This area will be very stiff.

I will also feel like I am going to throw up. Eating anything at all can be very difficult. I just don't want to do it.

This will usually last for 2-3 days and then will usually end in throwing up. And then I will be fine.

I don't ever get dizzy. I do have floaters. I don't really know what flashers are. I don't usually have blurred vision althogh I do have that over 40 eye thing and I am nearsighted. I do wear glasses. I do have trouble reading with my glasses on, unless I am at the computer like now. I do have my glasses on and I am far enough back that it isn't a problem.

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I do get migraines, but also have an entirely separate condition that comes and goes and is entirely impacted by diet. Pseudotumor cerebri. It isn't scary at all, just too much pressure and can make you feel like there is too much pressure in your head, causes all sorts of visual disturbances (how I got diagnosed, the Doctors at the ER thought I was having a stroke or had a real tumor) and can have some other effects on me. I can literally feel the pressure in the left side of my head, I do feel it in my ear also which makes me dizzy, which in turn makes me nauseous. If unchecked it will proceed to a full blown headache. For years I honestly believed I just thought I was stressed and needed to relax or something. I always felt tense in my neck and shoulders.

Could be migraines too, but just a thought of something you could bring up. It's something controlled 100% by diet once it's under control. My doctor told me that the "high risk factors" were being female, being overweight (even a little), and being at or nearing middle age. Check, check and check in my case. Anyway, that's my two cents because I'd hate to see them throw migraine medication at you and then you end up frustrated if it doesn't help if it simply isn't the answer.

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Did you know that floaters and flashes can also be signs of holes in the retina or retinal detachment?

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Thanks guys

I'm not jumping to conclusions, but was just curious of other people's experiences. I actually have considered the low blood pressure after eating thing, which is always possible, but I want to keep an eye out for migraine symptoms because of my family history, that's all. (mostly with concerns about this alleged aneurism. If I start having migraines like my father did, that could be an issue. I haven't found any information on possible symptoms caused by a micro-aneurysm, which is apparently what i've got. Aparently if it's under 4mm, it isn't supposed to affect anything...)

Adalaide, that probably sounds closest to my situation, but not as bad in the visual disturbances area. I definitely get very mild "vertigo" (feeling a bit floaty and that you're moving when you know you're not). Feels like an inner ear/sinus thing but it's not. Ooh, speaking of, just finished lunch and here we go again! Hopefully not as bad as yesterday. The nausea refused to let up and I had to go home early.

This problem was a lot worse last summer, when it was almost a constant and I was positive something was wrong with my inner ear. Nope. But changes in my diet helped a lot, and another elimination round might be in order. (nightshades are my suspect...)

As for the eyes, I've had problems since I was born and am now at about -10 and -8. Thank god for condensed lenses! I had the detached retina speech a few years ago. I saw an opthamologist last year and she said that aside from the horrible vision, my eyes are pretty healthy.

Good news, I'm not having migraines. Yet. Bad news I still don't know what's causing this problem.

Any other info/advice/experience about migraines and other possibilities appreciated though.

(aw shite. My head is doing the same thing as yesterday. At least I have ginger on hand this time...)

Thanks guys!

Peg

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Glad you got the detached retina speech. Worth knowing, especially with short sight.

I missed mine until I got the full shadow/curtain across my vision. Thought the floaters and flashes were part of my migraines.

Good luck sorting stuff out

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Floaters and flashers can also be a sign of glaucoma.

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Cobweb type floaters can also be a sign of a vitreous detachment. That happened to me back in the 90's but only in one eye.

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Well, like my perpetual tinnitus, I've gotten used to it and mostly ignore it. But since I'm only 28, I hope this doesn't mean serious problems in the not-so-distant (earlier than most people) future.

Yeah, if you suddenly start seeing spots, go see an optometrist. It could just be bits of stuff floating around (aparently small bit of tissue can detach and become "floaters"), but it could be the beginning of a detached retina so best to know.

I don't think they have any connection to Celiac/migraines/etc etc (as far as I know)

When I do notice my vision occasionally get more spotty, it's a blurry vision think, more like you're spacing out than you're loosing your vision. It's neurological, and probably triggered by something I ate (like right now I'm experiencing my post-lunch fuzzy eyes).

Thankfully I haven't had a bad spell like last week again.

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Hi again.

Well, I might have to turn this conversation away from "silent" migraines to recognising an actual one.

As of now, I've had an increasingly bad headache for the past hour or so, pressure in my sinuses but my nose and ears are fine (nose was runny earlier today, but ok now). Vision going fuzzy, really really hard to concentrate, bit nauseous. Pain is all across my forehead but mostly on the right side right now. No "aura", just blurred vision if I don't try to focus. Also, this did not start while or right after I had lunch.

Anyway, now I'm wondering what people who do have migraines noticed when they first started having them. As I've said before, I've never gotten a headache so bad I'd qualify it as a migraine, but I do get sinus headaches (more pressure, less head pain), but that seems to be shifting lately. Did you get a full-on classic migraine the first time, or did it progressively creep up on you until you either went to the doctor or figured it out yourself?

As for potential causes: my last potential glutening was on Saturday (asked if everything was ok, but there's always a risk. Also, might have eaten a very small amount of dairy), they fixed the heater in my office today, so now it's pretty warm in here which could be screwing with my head. I've been a bit stressed the past week (my shoulder/neck is a bit tense), and we just had the storm roll through so could be the weather as well.

I've managed to survive to the end of the day, but just barely. Now time to go home and hide...

Any ideas/stories/advice appreciated.

Thanks

Peg

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I get the dizziness too, and had balance tests to rule out any inner ear problems. In my case, they theorized that it might be caused by a bacterial overgrowth. When I eat, the bacteria eats it also, and gives off toxins. I was told this could be triggering silent migraines.

I get full blown migraines and the symptoms are MUCH worse! It would make sense as a cause if it's worse after eating, when a flood of new food hits the intestine.

I went on a medication (amitriptyline) which is supposed to prevent migraines. While on the med I ate a small amount of dairy and it set off a full blown migraine. I'd say the jury is still out on "silent migraine"?

I've cut out all GMO foods. I've seen videos about them and they aren't good for us. I think some of us are more sensitive? It's only been a few days off of them for me so I don't know if it will help?

You might consider removing corn, soy, canola oil, cottonseed oil, zucchini and yellow squash, and sugar beets? These are the foods that are GMO and usually aren't labeled. If you can find untinkered with versions you can eat them.

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Peg - I have suffered from eposodic severe vertigo attacks for the last 5 years. I went gluten-free 2.5 years ago and have only had 2 attacks since then (had about 8 in the previous 2.5 years) but I still often feel off balance. But to date no doctor has ever confirmed or even suggested any kind of connection between the two. I was diagnosed with Meniere's disease but after testing showed no problem with the inner ear my diagnosis changed to vestibular migraine. I also went very low sodium about 3 or 3.5 years ago and that may be what is helping, not the gluten-free diet. I really don' know and I'm not willing to test putting a lot of either back into my diet.

When younger I suffered from horrendous migraine headaches, lasting 4-6 days, unbearable pain. At the time of menopause the headaches when away and the vertigo came. I'll take the headache over vertigo anyday.

If you haven't checked out mvertigo.com give it a shot. It's full of people who suffer from kinds of dizzy and vertigo problems related to migraines. A lot of their symptoms sound like yours.

Jane

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Thanks Jane. I suspected Menieres or some kind of vestibular disorder when I had the dizzies last year (also, my mom had a couple vertigo attacks when she was my age). Went through inner-ear balance testing, MRI, whole bit. Nothing showed as unusual and the ENT said there was nothing wrong with my inner ear. Back to square one. So I changed my diet, cut down on salt (which did help a lot! maybe I've been backsliding on that and it's getting worse again), cut out dairy (casein), which helped even more, and earlier this year cut out soy, which has also helped. If I have dairy or soy, the first thing that goes is my head.

Bubba's Mom, that actually kind of makes sense. Is there any way to test for a bacterial overgrowth in the ear? Is it similar to a yeast overgrowth? In any case, something I'm eating is affecting my balance, if only neurologically. Salt/dairy/soy will make my left ear fill up though (or at least it feels like it)

I also do my best to avoid GMO foods. I eat mostly organic and avoid processed foods with artificial preservatives, etc. Most organic/health foods will list whether they use non-GMO ingredients. I've found a good non-GMO corn pasta, and only buy chips/popcorn made with non-GMO corn. If it doesn't say non-GMO, check their website. If a company knows it's using non-GMO, they will list it somewhere.

Anyway, my horrid headache went away a while after I got home on tuesday, but came back a little bit later (not as bad), but yesterday morning I woke up with stomach pain and D and nausea and called in sick to work. No fun.

Thanks again

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