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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Increased Rates of Migraines for People with Celiac Disease, IBD

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    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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    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!

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    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!

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    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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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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  • Forum Discussions

    To the OP, once in a while this stuff happens.  Please feel free to start a new topic if that would make it easier.  I am afraid this is just part of forums on the internet. I hope this didn’t chase you off.  
    @anasss Nobody in this thread has called anyone "ignorant," so please don't say that if it did not happen. Also, the use of all capitals is, in forums and other places on the Internet, generally considered yelling and impolite, and there ...
    Bshake, Look up the "baking soda test" ...it is a nice home test to see if your daughter could have low stomach that is triggering the ulcers or creating the perfect conditions for ulcers to develop....mastic gum as has been mentioned...
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