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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Gluten Headaches
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13 posts in this topic

Hello all. I just received my diagnosis of Celiac Disease on Feb 25th, which came as a surprise since most of my symptoms (acid reflux, gas, bloating, nausea) were mild compared to y'all's. I'm only a few days into the diet so I haven't noticed much.

However, I have suffered from near 24/7 headaches since I was in high school, and I was wondering if they were gluten-related or not. They reside mainly behind my eyebrows, and feel as if my eyebrow muscles are constantly tense (even if they're not, like if they're being massaged) or that something is trying to push its way out of my head. It mostly feels like a dull ache of pressure, not sharp or stabby. When they're really bad my eyes get all blurry and they hurt as well, my forehead and cheeks hurt worse, and sometimes there is a stabby pain or two coming from my eyes area.

I used to think they were eye-related, since the pain is concentrated near my eyes and my eyes get tired very easily, but I was assured that my prescription glasses are perfect, and I was tested for other headache-causing sight problems to no avail.

Then I thought maybe sinuses, since my cheeks hurt sometimes too, and it seemed to focus around the sinuses. Tried several allergy medicines and sinus headache stuff to no avail.

Then we decided they were sleep-deprivation related, since I have a lot of trouble sleeping at night (including bizarre symptoms such as pre-sleep hallucinations) and never feel fully rested when I get up. A doctor prescribed me 20mg of Elavil a night for the headaches, and it has improved my sleep (no more waking up every few hours) and the headaches have definitely improved as well.

But they don't respond to any pain medications at all, including migraine medicines (I don't think they're migraines), and caffeine makes them worse and makes me sick to my stomach.

Could these begin to resolve on the gluten-free diet? I always assumed that I just had to deal with them for the rest of my life. :(

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They could very well be a thing of the past soon. I can't make any promises but my frequent headaches resolved very quickly once I got on the diet. I hope the same happens for you.

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Yes, your headaches should start to ease up. My son had them and I am assuming they were from gluten because he doesn't complain of them anymore. I also had almost daily headaches and sinus problems and they have gone away as well. I think taking dairy out for a while can help too.

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I also suffered headaches all my life until going gluten free. Now the biggest trigger of headaches is when i try and take medicne and mainly vitiams. They are the biggest problem thats how i now i would be able to take cause headaches started within two to three day.And the way you describe your sound like mine.

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What do your headaches feel like when glutened now compared to back before you were diagnosed? Are they a lot worse? Sudden?

I'm planning on cutting dairy out of my diet come Monday, and getting stricter about CC. Hopefully the headaches will vanish! It's always hard hearing people say, "ooh, I've got a headache," when I have a headache CONSTANTLY, you know? For so long I didn't realize how infrequently normal people get headaches.

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I have had headaches for many years and when I went gluten and dairy free I thought they would stop. They did not. I recently went for metal patch allergy testing and included with that was fragrance. The doctor discovered that I have an allergic response to fragrance. I work in an elementary school and each of the sweet young teachers wears a different perfume. Not just a dab either... their scent lingers forever when they breeze through my office. Recently the second grade teachers all got matching strawberry plug-ins and I get dizzy and have trouble breathing when I go down that hall.

The lady in the next office smokes heavily and often runs to her car for a smoke during the day. I live with headaches constantly. Not sure which is worse - perfume or cigarettes. All I know is that my head is in a state of perpetual spin and unfortunately there isn't anything I can do. Tylenol only takes the edge off the pain and because of my health conditions I can't take anything else.

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When I have to endure the smell of gasoline for more than a couple of minutes I will get a migrane. My husband used to put the lawnmower in the basement. Normally he would let it sit outside for a few hours to air out. One day he did not do this and I got a terrible migrane. He got a ear full from me.

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Wow OP...I coulda written your post. I used to get extreme headaches - tylenol was useless & ibuprofen would just take the edge off, maybe get rid of them for an hour. Over the years I have had my eyes examined repeatedly, including by an eye doc. I have had sinus xrays & a ct scan. When all that is negative it is frustrating !

Since cutting gluten and (mostly) dairy about 8 years ago they are essentially gone. In fact, if I get a recurring headache I have to examine what product I might be 'getting' myself with. Headaches seem to be my CC alarm !

Likewise, scents bother me as well. Walking through the cosmetic department of a department store will give me an instant headache. People with too much perfume or cologne also get me.

FWIW, I also started out with the reflux issues, nausea, bloating...my reactions are more extreme these days. It's been awhile but wicked stomach cramping and fatigue is definitely on that list too.

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this gives me so much hope!

I might be sensitive to chemicals as well (not scents per se) because I'm pretty sure when I worked at a daycare and had to spray everything down with bleachwater at the end of the day it totally got to me. So I started wearing a mask when I did that. Helped a little. Nevertheless, the headaches also have other causes because when out hiking in the Alaskan wilderness I still had 'em to some degree, and there's no scents or gasoline or anything in places like that (and snowshoeing in winter there's no pollen or allergens either).

Headaches might be getting worse before they get better, but I'm trying to be very strict. Just cut out dairy today. Scrubbed part of my kitchen (where I used to bake) down for CC yesterday.

oh and even though it sounds terrible, I kinda want my reactions to gluten to get more sensitive in the future. Being a silent celiac taking damage unknowingly is more scary to me then having noticeable reactions that will help me figure out what foods etc. are giving me problems.

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My headaches/migraines before going gluten free usually felt like a railroad spike had been inserted in the middle of the back of my head. It was a constant pressure. Sometimes though it felt like it was thundering in my head, there would be short bursts of pain on both sides in the temple area which I invision looking like lightening strikes. Sometimes there was a stabbing pain in the temple area this I envisioned as chop sticks being inserted in my temples. After going gluten free it seems I still have a few migraines which I believe are hormonal, these are not as severe as the pre-gluten-free migraines. However the migraines caused from gluten are in some ways worse. I'm not so much sure the pain is worse as the other things that go with a migraine (depression, nausea, etc). Prior to going gluten free 4 months ago I was averaging 16 days of migraine per month. In February I only had 4 days of migraine. 2 likely from hormones and 2 from accidental gluten consumption.

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this gives me so much hope!

I might be sensitive to chemicals as well (not scents per se) because I'm pretty sure when I worked at a daycare and had to spray everything down with bleachwater at the end of the day it totally got to me. So I started wearing a mask when I did that. Helped a little. Nevertheless, the headaches also have other causes because when out hiking in the Alaskan wilderness I still had 'em to some degree, and there's no scents or gasoline or anything in places like that (and snowshoeing in winter there's no pollen or allergens either).

Headaches might be getting worse before they get better, but I'm trying to be very strict. Just cut out dairy today. Scrubbed part of my kitchen (where I used to bake) down for CC yesterday.

oh and even though it sounds terrible, I kinda want my reactions to gluten to get more sensitive in the future. Being a silent celiac taking damage unknowingly is more scary to me then having noticeable reactions that will help me figure out what foods etc. are giving me problems.

hmm if you ever figure the headache thing out as far as getting them from out doors..let me know, I noticed lately walking on the trails down by some resort, when I am walking up the hill at the end near the lodge I start getting a headache and by the time I'm at the car it's like ughh.. so weird, cause I have no allergies..least I never used to (need to get tested I'm sure lol)

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Hello all. I just received my diagnosis of Celiac Disease on Feb 25th, which came as a surprise since most of my symptoms (acid reflux, gas, bloating, nausea) were mild compared to y'all's. I'm only a few days into the diet so I haven't noticed much.

However, I have suffered from near 24/7 headaches since I was in high school, and I was wondering if they were gluten-related or not. They reside mainly behind my eyebrows, and feel as if my eyebrow muscles are constantly tense (even if they're not, like if they're being massaged) or that something is trying to push its way out of my head. It mostly feels like a dull ache of pressure, not sharp or stabby. When they're really bad my eyes get all blurry and they hurt as well, my forehead and cheeks hurt worse, and sometimes there is a stabby pain or two coming from my eyes area.

I used to think they were eye-related, since the pain is concentrated near my eyes and my eyes get tired very easily, but I was assured that my prescription glasses are perfect, and I was tested for other headache-causing sight problems to no avail.

Then I thought maybe sinuses, since my cheeks hurt sometimes too, and it seemed to focus around the sinuses. Tried several allergy medicines and sinus headache stuff to no avail.

Then we decided they were sleep-deprivation related, since I have a lot of trouble sleeping at night (including bizarre symptoms such as pre-sleep hallucinations) and never feel fully rested when I get up. A doctor prescribed me 20mg of Elavil a night for the headaches, and it has improved my sleep (no more waking up every few hours) and the headaches have definitely improved as well.

But they don't respond to any pain medications at all, including migraine medicines (I don't think they're migraines), and caffeine makes them worse and makes me sick to my stomach.

Could these begin to resolve on the gluten-free diet? I always assumed that I just had to deal with them for the rest of my life. :(

I had a positive blood test for celiac in early January of this year but was not able to have a biopsy to confirm until mid March. I had to keep gluten in my diet for two months knowing it was what was making me sick. I did a brief test during that time and limited my gluten intake for about a week. I would basically eat gluten free but include one food that contained gluten everyday. I was shocked to learn that the headaches that I have been suffering for as long as I can remember were being brought on by gluten! Every time I ate gluten I would get a headache within a half an hour.

I've been completely gluten free for two weeks now and my headaches have completely disappeared. I've had maybe two headaches in the last two weeks and they have been a direct result of a accidental "gluttening".

I hope you will have similar results. It really has been wonderful to not be in pain all the time.

Hang in there!

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Keeping my fingers crossed- no hay fever or headaches since I went gluten-free in November 2010. Totally new experience for me. Wonderful!

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