Ice Cream Headaches

1 What are Ice Cream Headaches?

Ice cream headaches are brief, stabbing pain in the forehead that happen when one eats, drinks or inhales something cold.

The well-known trigger is not when an individual digs into a cone, but consumption of any other cold or frosty items can induce these headaches. These frosty items may include ice pops or slushy frozen drinks. These also have the same effect also known as the "brain-freeze" effect.

These headaches can also be called cold stimulus headaches. In some cases, they occur due to sudden exposure of an uncovered head to cold temperatures, taking a dive in cold water is a common example. But as the cold temperature induced headaches appear, they quickly disappear.

2 Symptoms

There are various symptoms one can exhibit during an ice cream induced headaches.

These symptoms may be as follows:

The presence of a sharp stabbing pain in the forehead, pain during these episodes peaks for about 20 to 60 seconds after it begins and always goes away in roughly the same amount of time and pain that rarely lasts longer than 5 minutes.

Ice cream headaches do not need any medical attention because the are only short-lasting and temporal.

3 Causes

When cold material moves across the warm palate of the mouth or the back of the throat, it causes ice cream headaches.

Ice cream eaten quickly or a cold beverage gulped usually leads to these characteristic headaches. It is still unclear in the scientific community what mechanism lies behind the cause of this pain.

One hypothesis suggests that cold food or drink may temporarily alter blood flow in ones nervous system and this leads to a brief headache. Blood vessels constrict to prevent the loss of body heat and later relax to allow blood flow to rise. As a result of this, a burst of pain is released which subsides once the body has adapted to temperature change.

4 Treatment

Ice cream headaches do not need any form of treatment due to their nature. They are short episodes that usually last for 20 to 60 seconds. Typically, the pain always quickly disappears after the cold food or drink is swallowed.

5 Prevention

The most efficient mode to prevent ice cream headaches is by simply avoiding any cold food or drinks that causes them.

6 Risks and Complications

There is no serious risk associated with ice cream headaches.

Ice cream headaches can affect anyone.

However, some individuals may be more susceptible to ice cream headaches or have more severe ice cream headaches than other individuals. Usually, this is due to the fact that they may be more prone to migraines.

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