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There May be a Link Between Migraines and Celiac Disease

There Could be a Link Between Migraines and Celiac Disease

As a little talked about topic within the celiac disease community, migraines and celiac disease can indeed go hand in hand. Diagnosing celiac disease and gluten sensitivities is almost never an easy task for both patients and healthcare providers alike. The relation between migraines and a sensitivity to gluten has been studied by numerous researchers throughout the years. While there is no known cure for each celiac symptom and gluten sensitivity related symptoms, a gluten-free diet and proper vitamin intake has been shown to decrease the amount of migraines and headaches. Some scientists now believe that migraines are caused by brain activity that is abnormal.

It has been found that women are also more likely to suffer from headaches than men, with only 18% of men reporting migraine headaches versus the 43% of women. This can be seen as hormonal for some, although those with a reaction to the proteins found in gluten could very well be struggling with migraines that are related to celiac disease and other gluten processing conditions. Those who suffer from migraines that are related to celiac disease and gluten sensitivities were found to suffer from anxiety and depression at a higher rate also. In some cases, the only condition that a celiac disease patient may suffer from are migraines, even if the symptoms for intestinal problems are not showing up.

Some migraines can last for hours or even days at a time. An intense throbbing sensation and the inability to process thoughts clearly are common symptoms of a migraine. If a migraine is followed after eating a gluten based product, this could very well be cause for concern as to what is causing the intense migraines. Simply treating the pain with common pain relievers will not eliminate gluten related symptoms. Even if the pain goes away at certain times, the damage that is being done to the central nervous system is still prevalent in numerous individual cases. If migraines continue to be a problem even after an elimination diet, further assistance from a neurospecialist could be suggested by a primary care provider.           

How to Discuss Options with a Healthcare Provider

This does not necessarily mean that those who suffer from migraines and headaches should seek an immediate switch to a gluten-free diet before consulting with a healthcare professional. Since gluten can cause some inflammation in the central nervous system in those with celiac disease, this is thought to be the cause of the migraines and headaches. Not only are migraines reported as a symptom among those with celiac disease, other side effects such as coordination issues and central nervous inflammation are reported as well.

Chronic fatigue can also be found in migraine sufferers. This issue doesn't just pertain to individuals with celiac disease; those who have gluten sensitivities and wheat allergies are also subject to migraines and other nervous system disorders. Those who suffer from only migraines may think that treatment isn't a worthwhile option if they can alleviate headaches with pain medications, but lasting damage can still be done.

How To Assist Migraine Issues With Gluten-Friendly Options

While it is not a permanent solution to celiac disease and although migraines may still occur, those who stick to a gluten-free diet report fewer headaches and migraines after one month of sticking to a strict gluten-free diet. Though a trial and error process for some, eliminating gluten and bringing it back slowly under the careful watch of a healthcare professional can offer some solutions for those facing migraines caused by celiac disease. A diet that is free of barley and wheat will usually stop migraines, although each individual case is different.

Migraines are also known to be a possible early symptom of celiac disease, although more studies are needed for this. Keeping track of when migraines strike could assist healthcare professionals in making the sound choice for a gluten-free diet. Migraine symptoms do not just relate to the head. Multiple symptoms can coexist with one another. A sudden loss of appetite, fever, nausea, a consistently tired feeling, and sensory disturbances are all other side-effects of a migraine. These could also be masking other symptoms, which is why an elimination diet is vital in determining if a person has celiac disease. Without an official diagnosis, the rest is simply guesswork.

Topics To Keep In Mind When Talking To A Healthcare Provider About Diet

If migraines are continuing to worsen with the intake of gluten, an appointment to test for celiac disease is recommended, especially for those who have first-degree relatives with already existing conditions. There are different types of tests that can be done, although a blood and endoscopy are the most common forms when diagnosing a patient with celiac disease or any other type of gluten related disorder. Checking the intestine for damage is paramount in gaining better knowledge for some patients that have more severe symptoms.

Avoiding bread might be easier for some than others. In addition to the typical foods that people usually think of regarding gluten intake, other names stand out and could surprise some. Some forms of soy sauce, durum, bulgur, barley, and spelt are just a few examples of the list of gluten sources that should be avoided when seeking out a gluten-free diet. Foods that can help alleviate headache and migraine pain may even be found in vegetables and fruits that do not contain gluten. This can include starchy foods and most dairy products. Quinoa and beans are just a few foods that can help someone suffering from celiac disease.

Determining If a Migraine is Related To Celiac Disease

It could take several weeks for the effects of the gluten-free diet to kick in. Keeping track of when the migraines strike will allow an individual to possibly determine what triggers are causing problems. If other methods do not seem to be working and/or an individual wants a more alternative method, massage treatments and acupuncture can be discussed as possible options. It is important to remember that migraines are generally a rare issue facing those with celiac disease, meaning that proper healthcare advice is necessary.

While it could very well be related to gluten sensitivities and celiac disease, there are other far more common issues that could be at play. If left untreated, depression , bloating, abnormal thinking, and stomach pains are problems that could continue. If the symptoms are treated but not the true cause, problems can persist over time. This is why pinpointing the cause is vital. Those who suffer from migraines related to gluten interactions could also see an improvement in a relief of other symptoms over time that were caused by the intense stress upon the body.

It might take more than just eliminating gluten from their diet for some people suffering with gluten related migraines and headaches. With an almost $25 billion a year cost, migraines are a rising expense for the American healthcare system. With the growth of celiac disease and other gluten affiliated causes, further knowledge is needed now more than ever. Migraine relief is not just a simple task; it can take time and numerous trials before any success is truly found.