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Migraine and Gut Health – Migraine Awareness Series

My Migraine Story

As a migraine sufferer for almost 11 years now, I was surprised to release a few things regarding migraines and the sort of practical things we could do to prevent or at least reduce the recurring migraine attacks during one of the talks I attended a few weeks ago.

I came home and felt a little unhappy with myself that I hadn’t looked into it just yet. As many people do, I looked at one of the symptoms, which were depression for me and worked around bettering it. Once my depression was getting better, so was my migraine attacks. They were so much less.

I used to get them weekly, but now it’s once in a few months.  Usually, when I am overly stressed and didn’t sleep for a few nights.

So I decided to look a little more in-depth on migraine and use the information to educate others on the June 2019 Migraine Awareness month.

What Is a Migraine?

A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. A migraine attack typically followed by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.

Migraine is a complex neurological condition which is classified by the World Health Organisation as the 7th most disabling disease worldwide, the 4th for women. (1)

Many factors triggering migraine attacks have identified. The commonly reported ones include environmental factors, menstruation, sleep disorders, changing stress levels, changes in the air, smells, and foods.

Migraines, which often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood, can progress through four stages:

  1. 4 Stages of Migraines
    Prodrome,
    Aura
    Attack
    Postdrome

Not everyone who has migraines goes through all stages.

Migraine and Gastrointestinal Disorders

In my case, I believe gut health was essential toward improving the number of migraine attacks.

Even, recent reports confirm a risen frequency of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders in patients with migraine compared with the general population. However, the precise mechanisms and pathways linked to the gut-brain axis in migraine need to be fully clarified. (2)

A 2017 study has shown that migraine headache is often associated with concomitant gastrointestinal diseases. There is a higher predominance of headaches in patients with digestive disorders. These associations between migraine and gastrointestinal disorders suggest a possible link to a bidirectional modulation of gut microbiota and brain function. The underlying working mechanistic links between migraine and digestive diseases may include increased intestinal epithelial permeability and inflammation. (3)

Migraine is a common type of headache, but its pathogenesis is still not fully understood. Triggering factors may vary in migraine patients.

The connection between Gut Health and Migraine?

Food Sensitivities- Everyone is different, but there are kinds of foods that are possible triggers for migraine than others.

Common foods triggers are :

Alcohol usually wine
Sulphite
Nitrate
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
Chocolate
Cheese
Coffee
Wheat
Gluten

Here are a few possible aetiologies in my migraine journey.

Blood Sugar Dysregulation
Stress
Sleep deprivation – Insomnia
Food Intolerance
Estrogen Dominance
Leaky Gut – inflammation
Histamine Intolerance

I know that this list looks long and exaggerated, but it is all interconnected. One lead to the other.

A simple example is a stressed body doesn’t digest the food properly; therefore, it can have malabsorption, inflammation, and insomnia.  This could lead to other issues such as estrogen dominance, histamine intolerance and a raised blood sugar level.

For the next few weeks, I will be sharing more on how to work each factor and try to reduce migraine attacks.

Sign up to our mailing list here, so you don’t miss any of the June Migraine Awareness Series.

Regain your Health With Diet and Nutrition- Book  Your Appointment

References

Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Vos et al. The Lancet, Volume 386, Issue 9995, Pages 743 – 800, 22 August 2015
2016 Study on Gastrointestinal disorders associated with migraine: A comprehensive review Available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037083/
Potential Beneficial Effects of Probiotics on Human Migraine Headache: A Literature Review. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28158162

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