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Lisa16

How Does Celiac Cause Migrains?

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Just out of curiosity, does anybody know what the mechanism is that causes migrains from gluten?

Is it a vitamin deficiency? Or is it a nerve thing? Or maybe something else?

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I don't know the specific reasons, but migraines are reported as a symptom of celiac disease. Prior to my diagnosis, I had severe migraines from time to time. After being on the gluten-free diet for some time, I realized that I had not had a migraine in over a year. I know I didn't directly answer your question, but this might be of some help.

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I'm going to ask my doctor about this and report back, but my understanding is that gluten acts as a neurotoxin, which is why some people have seizures if they're undiagnosed. I'll check it out, though.

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Thanks Psawyer-- you always do your very best to be helpful and answer the question. I used to get them frequently-- so bad I was on my knees and rocking. I was missing work because of them and they were getting worse and worse.

Now they are gone. But I recently got glutened and I got the beginning s of one again and I started to wonder what causes it. If it is a vitamin deficiency, maybe one could just take a pill.

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Thank you FMcGee!

I will be very curious to find out when your doctor says :)

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The cause of migraines, period, isn't entirely understood. Current thinking is that some trigger causes a change in various levels of chemicals in the brain, the brain responds with inflammation, the inflammation causes the blood vessels to dilate, which presses on nerves and causes horrid, horrid pain. (My bad migraines require me to be stone still, or the nausea is overwhelming.)

There are a couple of ways a gluten intolerance could affect that. Perhaps when either the fragments of gliadin, or products of the autoimmune reaction in the intestines which escape a leaky gut, manage to cross the blood-brain barrier and affect chemical release/take-up. Perhaps the intestinal damage signals for an inflammatory response in the body, and the whole body kicks in, including the brain. Perhaps there is some other mechanism of blood vessel dilation that occurs for some people.

No one knows for sure, though.

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I am so new to this, forgive me. Migraines are a symptom of Celiac too?

I have had them forever. And yes I haven't had one since I started eating gluten-free.

I am interested in how Celiac causes migraines but I am thrilled to know that the diet will keep them from coming back! :D

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It could have to do with Histamine levels. Several of the problems associated with Celiac's disease are also associated with either low or high histamine levels in the blood.

I haven't been gluten free for all that long, but I have not had a headache since I started, nor joint pain...

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I'm guessing going gluten-free isn't going to stop my migraines. It's been six weeks and I still get them sometimes. Sigh. I'm happy for all of you, though!

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I'm guessing going gluten-free isn't going to stop my migraines. It's been six weeks and I still get them sometimes. Sigh. I'm happy for all of you, though!

The worst of my migraines came on long after I went gluten free (and dairy free, and I don't eat a whole lot of soy or corn). They got worse when I moved to Washington, and I think they are at least somewhat triggered by weather changes. (Recent study has backed up the "related to the weather" theory.) I had to go on daily preventatives (Topamax, for me), and OMG! I am so glad I did. The frequency of the migraines went from 1-3 migraines a week, each lasting 2-3 days (yeah, do the math, it sucked), to maybe once a month, on a bad month. The severity of them also went from something around an 8 or 9 to a 4 or 5. (As in, going from "Don't talk becauseit hurts to much. breathing... breathing isn't very pleasant either, pain wise." to "Gah, my head hurts. I don't want to drive, but I can. Where are my sunglasses so I don't squint all the way to closed eyes?")

I'm coming off of it at the moment, and so far, it's not been too bad. But I also have to regularly see my chiropractor, as at least some of the migraine trigger is chronic neck tension from a forward head position, which puts a lot of stress on the muscles and joints in the cervical spine, which can inturn promote inflammation.

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B12 deficiency (which is common with malabsorption problems) can cause all kinds of neuro problems, including headaches, hearing loss, tinnitus, dizziness, brain fog, etc.

Meniere's Disease (which is not really a disease but a collection of those symptoms) is sometimes referred to as an aural migraine (migraine of the ear).

You might look into a sublingual B12 supplement, which is absorbed under the tongue rather than through the damaged intestines, and see if that helps your migraines.

If not, there are some supplements out there that may help. My neurologist recommends Petadolex, riboflavin, and coEnzyme Q10. Reducing chemicals, additives, and sodium are also likely to help.

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B12 deficiency (which is common with malabsorption problems) can cause all kinds of neuro problems, including headaches, hearing loss, tinnitus, dizziness, brain fog, etc.

Meniere's Disease (which is not really a disease but a collection of those symptoms) is sometimes referred to as an aural migraine (migraine of the ear).

You might look into a sublingual B12 supplement, which is absorbed under the tongue rather than through the damaged intestines, and see if that helps your migraines.

If not, there are some supplements out there that may help. My neurologist recommends Petadolex, riboflavin, and coEnzyme Q10. Reducing chemicals, additives, and sodium are also likely to help.

Thanks for that info Fiddle-Faddle. I have Meniere's Disease too. Your list of symptoms for B12 deficiency is a partial list of MY symptoms! I also have the typical digestive issues related to celiac, depression and anxiety.

No one has ever been able to tell me why I have these problems. I have truely doubted my sanity and my ability to survive the rest of my life this way.

This is such a revelation after not knowing why I felt so bad for so long. Now its a combination of relief that I know what is going on and dismay that it took so long to figure it out....

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If you have Meniere's Disease, there are some VERY interesting discussions on some of those forums.

In particular, there are two unrelated ideas for alternative treatments that seem to be helping a lot of people. One involves chiropractic neck adjustments. I showed the thread to my chiropractor, and he already knew all about it--I had just never complained about the symptoms to him before. And the neck adjustments WERE helpful.

Only problem is, there are unfortunately lots of chiropractic quacks out there, and I don't know how to narrow down the search for a good one. I just happened to luck into this one--my doctor recommended him after I had an accident, broke my tailbone, and knocked two discs out of place.

The other treatment was developed by a high school biology teacher. (Google "John of Ohio regimen") It involves some very interesting and compelling studies linking herpes viruses (simplex and zoster) with Meniere's symptoms. He recommends a regimen of supplements that happen to be gluten-free, with no side effects. Lysine is one--it inactivates the herpes virus. Vinpocetine is another--it's supposed to help with circulation and permeability to the blood vessels to the brain (and ear). And citrus bioflavonoid is the third main component.

I had a terrible couple of months earlier this year, but with the help of this regimen, the chiropractor, and B12 (methylcobalamin sublinguals), I am doing much better.

The herpes connection seems valid. Interestingly, my first Meniere's attack was within days of my husband coming down with shingles (herpes zoster--the chicken pox virus), and my second was within days of his having a post-shingles neuralgia attack (by the same virus).

Personally, I think Meniere's is even worse than celiac, so I'm very grateful to have found something that's more promising than what the ENT offered me (a cortisone shot to the ear, with a statistical chance of remission equal to that of a placebo).

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It could have to do with Histamine levels. Several of the problems associated with Celiac's disease are also associated with either low or high histamine levels in the blood.

I haven't been gluten free for all that long, but I have not had a headache since I started, nor joint pain...

TK-- I find it interesting that you mention this because the ONLY thing that would help me was taking a couple of benadryl. I used to think it was because it made me sleep. but maybe histamines are involved somehow. Huh.

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The worst of my migraines came on long after I went gluten free (and dairy free, and I don't eat a whole lot of soy or corn). They got worse when I moved to Washington, and I think they are at least somewhat triggered by weather changes. (Recent study has backed up the "related to the weather" theory.) I had to go on daily preventatives (Topamax, for me), and OMG! I am so glad I did. The frequency of the migraines went from 1-3 migraines a week, each lasting 2-3 days (yeah, do the math, it sucked), to maybe once a month, on a bad month. The severity of them also went from something around an 8 or 9 to a 4 or 5. (As in, going from "Don't talk becauseit hurts to much. breathing... breathing isn't very pleasant either, pain wise." to "Gah, my head hurts. I don't want to drive, but I can. Where are my sunglasses so I don't squint all the way to closed eyes?")

I'm coming off of it at the moment, and so far, it's not been too bad. But I also have to regularly see my chiropractor, as at least some of the migraine trigger is chronic neck tension from a forward head position, which puts a lot of stress on the muscles and joints in the cervical spine, which can inturn promote inflammation.

Wow-- mine were sometimes in conjunction with a drop in pressure before a storm or hormones. Sadly, I could not do the Topamax because of other allergies. This is so interesting. But since going gluten-free, these too are gone. Perhaps there are multiple factors going on with these?

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The worst of my migraines came on long after I went gluten free (and dairy free, and I don't eat a whole lot of soy or corn). They got worse when I moved to Washington, and I think they are at least somewhat triggered by weather changes. (Recent study has backed up the "related to the weather" theory.) I had to go on daily preventatives (Topamax, for me), and OMG! I am so glad I did. The frequency of the migraines went from 1-3 migraines a week, each lasting 2-3 days (yeah, do the math, it sucked), to maybe once a month, on a bad month. The severity of them also went from something around an 8 or 9 to a 4 or 5. (As in, going from "Don't talk becauseit hurts to much. breathing... breathing isn't very pleasant either, pain wise." to "Gah, my head hurts. I don't want to drive, but I can. Where are my sunglasses so I don't squint all the way to closed eyes?")

I'm coming off of it at the moment, and so far, it's not been too bad. But I also have to regularly see my chiropractor, as at least some of the migraine trigger is chronic neck tension from a forward head position, which puts a lot of stress on the muscles and joints in the cervical spine, which can inturn promote inflammation.

I'm glad you're feeling better! I was on Topamax for about a year, and then I started having really horrible side effects from it and had to go off. Also, the doctor never told me it cancels out birth control. Fortunately, nothing unexpected happened, as it were, but I was very annoyed at not having been told. I have to go to the chiropractor for exactly the same reason as you, and I think that's helping. I try to be conscientious about my posture, which might not fix the headaches, but can't hurt!

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I'm guessing going gluten-free isn't going to stop my migraines. It's been six weeks and I still get them sometimes. Sigh. I'm happy for all of you, though!

My daughter and a few others I know have had great relief with a natural product called Migrelief. You can order it online or we just call WalMart pharmacy to order it. They get in in within 24 hours. It contains magnesium, riboflavin and feverfew. It has proved very effective for the persons that I know.

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My daughter and a few others I know have had great relief with a natural product called Migrelief. You can order it online or we just call WalMart pharmacy to order it. They get in in within 24 hours. It contains magnesium, riboflavin and feverfew. It has proved very effective for the persons that I know.

Thanks for the advice! I'll give it a try. I've been meaning to go by Wal-Mart to see if they have the new Betty Crocker goodies, anyway!

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