I'm at my wits end so hoping you can maybe point me in a right direction; I have been dealing with these migraines triggered by smells for over 5 months now. This smell issue has compounded 10 fold lately and can't understand why. Someone told me that it could be that I need to do a liver cleanse. Everything these days is scented so makes it really hard to go and do anything. I just retired and this isn't the way I envisioned retirement life to be. It's dominating my life!!! I have been seen by a Neuro Dr. this week. She has me on Inderal (80mg) for one week; next week start 160 mg. daily. In my opinion no one wants to address the "smells" trigger issue. I use a neti pot which is only a very temporary fix. Do you think it's an allergy problem? What do you think???
Migraines have been known to get triggered by smells like perfumes, chilly, and cigarette smoke. Peppermint oil or any minty smell has been known to help patients with smells as a trigger for migraines. Other scents apart from peppermint which have been known to help migraineurs are lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus. You might want to give them a try.
Thanks for responding; sorry to take up your time but am confused to your response. Eucalyptus is so very strong, can't imagine sniffing that stuff to help my migraines. How would peppermint oil help a migraine? Seems to me that would only trigger another migrraine. Maybe I'm not understanding your response.
The exact mechanism of how these oils help migraine headache is not known but patients with migraine in general and those in whom migraines are triggered by smells have found relief in these products.
Thanks for your advice; Went to the Vitamin Market a few days ago; had a very interesting talk to their owner who suffers w/migraines & triggers of "smells" as well. She also suggested peppermint oil; she uses it daily and also suggested 800+ mg of Magnesium and B6 as well as a liver cleanse. So thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
For the most part, smells don't trigger my migraines... except for strong brewing coffee and used coffee grounds... those smells often trigger migraines. So, I try to avoid the smells... hard, because coffee is often unavoidable. I don't work in coffee shops anymore (i used to) so that's one thing that I do.
I noticed you are retired... otherwise I would have suggested asking your boss to institute a "no strong smells" policy in your work place (many work places have such policies because of allergies and since migraines are a health concern and disability, an employer would have no problem doing this and if they did, they would have to comply unless there was a very good reason not to... i.e. it was a perfume store) ... but, since you said you retired, doesn't really apply, just thought i'd mention it for others reading this in similar situations.
Still... many public places already have such polices in place or CAN have such polices in place, such as doctors offices, many school buildings... i don't know if you volunteer anywhere? ... you should ask around to the management of establishments that you frequent often and see if they have "no strong scent" policies already in place or if they would be willing to consider establishing such a policy in consideration of those who frequent their establishment who have serious allergies/asthma/migraines/etc. You might not get a positive response everywhere you go... but, as long as you stay friendly and positive, it doesn't hurt to ask and you might get quite a few of the places you frequently visit turned into "scent-free" havens. Also, if you do notice a "this is a scent-free environment" sign up somewhere and notice that someone is wearing a heavy perfume, you can take it upon yourself to either A. inform someone who looks like they are in charge of the area or B. very politely point out the sign to the person and mention that you're not trying to be a pain but the only reason you are mentioning the sign is because although you think their perfume smells beautiful, it is causing you a serious reaction that you needed to/need to take medication for (in the politest way possible of course... because most people just don't realize that the heavily scented axe spray on 5 times a day might cause other people headaches...).
As for the peppermint oil... yeah, I use peppermint oil too. I think it works because it "distracts" the brain from the other scents. It is much more powerful than any other scent. The brain processes the most powerful scent in the room... sort of like how there is a whole bunch of sound waves in the room too, but you usually only hear the conversation you're having or the television or whatever... not every little sound wave. So, since peppermint oil is so strong, that's what your brain "hears" over all the other "quieter" scents. Now... not all of the "good scents" that they suggest for migraineurs work for all migraineurs. Lavender is one of those famous "good scents" that people are always suggesting for headaches... I personally hate the smell of lavender... but it doesn't give me a headache, I just don't like it. My brother, on the other hand... very very rarely gets migraines but lavender is one of the few things that will ALWAYS trigger a migraine for him (ingesting or smelling). Also, peppermint oil doesn't help my brothers headaches at all, but it doesn't give him headaches. Whereas peppermint oil REALLY helps my headaches and it helps pretty much everyone else I know.
Oh, and yeah, magnesium is great. I've never heard it prescribed at 800mg before. The clinical trials all show that there is improvement with migraines at 400mg daily, not more. Magnesium can cause stomach upset and constipation... so, if you find that you get an upset stomach or cramps with 800mg of magnesium, the standard treatment for migraines is 400mg daily so don't worry if you need to cut back to 400mg daily.
There is a vast amount of evidence and clinical research to show that B2 at 400mg is very effective as well. I do believe that there is some stuff out there suggesting that B6 helps... but, you might also want to look into B2, as the clinical trials have shown B2 at 400mg daily has had results similar to some of the daily preventative medications used to treat migraines (such as seizure medications).
Also, one last thing... you are female, right? Now... you said you just retired...? Depending on your age/what stage of your life you're in... there is a possibility that your migraines have increased in number and severity recently due to hormones. Most women find that their migraines decrease dramatically, or entirely stop and never return, after menopause. Although, during menopause, sometimes... because of hormones (migraines and hormones are very connected) migraines can become temporarily much much worse. If you think you might be nearing menopause, are currently experiencing perimenopause, or you recently experienced perimenopause and you are not sure if your hormones have actually settled... you might want to talk to your doctor about this connection and ask your doctor to refer you a Gynecologist (hormones) and a Neurologist (migraines) in order to help you you get this rough patch of migraines until the hormones naturally settle into an entirely stable place.
I'm glad you wrote into the forum about the smells trigger, they bother me too. Certain smells anyway, ESPECIALLY perfumes or cigarette smoke, I can't even clean the shower with strong chemicals they set me off, fortunately my husband will clean the shower if I ask him to. I will get up and move if someone sits by me in church or elsewhere and is so strong, I believe it's better to move than for me to get a terrible migraine. Thankfully I live in IL. where we have a no smoking law, which does help some. I do like that idea marileew gave about scent-free signs. I hadn't heard about Peppermint Oil, but would be nice to try, so I may give it a whirl, we'll see, I just hate trying new things, ya know? I do, however take 800 mg. of the Magnesium tabs since 2/09, it is not strange, my neuro prescribed everyday. I also take Topamax too and Verelan PM both are Migraine preventatives. I'm not one that likes to take a lot of meds, but since I had a mild stroke in Aug. 07 from a complicated migraine and then 2-09 I had another episode, we're trying to figure out if it was a TIA or just a complicated migraine, the MRI showed I did not have a stroke this time. I agree with you, but do not know how to handle the smells issue either. Lots of Luck!!
I'm the same way with cleaning products but I totally forgot about it because I've switched all of my cleaning and soap products to non-scented stuff... mostly by a company called Method. Great stuff. You can buy it at places like London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart and Safeway in Canada (where I live)... and in America you can buy it at all those same places but also they sell it for really reasonable prices (way cheaper than in Canada) at Target. The non-scented scent is called "go naked," hehehehe!! But... yeah, I can actually do house work again... which, was pretty exciting for a few months until the novelty of housework wore off and it started to feel like house work again... haha, but... still, it's nice to just not have to worry about ever having to worry about walking into a freshly cleaning bathroom or getting into a freshly washed bed and getting a migraine!!
Also, there are lots of other house-hold products with non-scented lines too... not just Method. It's just my favourite product. But... you should check out what they have... well, maybe get your husband to check it out actually, as long as you trust him to, otherwise order it online and have your local grocery store delivery it if they offer that service... because, I know that even walking NEAR the cleaning isle in the store can cause a migraine!!! But, once you have the non-scented products in the house, they can be usable! ;)
Also, you should really talk to your minister (?) about either instituting a no-scent policy with signs at your church OR maybe a few Sundays in a row having the minister/pastor (?) putting out a friendly request that people don't wear perfumes to church and don't smoke right before entering church for the benefit of those with severe allergies and asthma so that everyone can take part in Sunday service as some of the community has serious health concerns... which ever way (signs/policy or request as part of the service) would feel most appropriate for your church. I know some of the churches in my area have such policies in place so that everyone, even those with severe asthma, can attend church. (Because God and Jesus love and want to help people with asthma and migraines too, right!)
I suffer from Migraines almost everyday. Been hospitalized for them as well. It seems like my life has stopt do to these migraines. I am going to a Neurologist but I find that its no help to me. He asked me to keep a calender of my headaches and when he saw it his comment was "wow thats alot of hedaches". That I already know. I thought he was going to look at the calender and try to see what days are more frequent or what was going on. Instead he gave me more pills. Researching on my own I have found that is three things that actually cause my headaches. 1. STRESS 2. My PERIOD, 3. My NOSE.............Stress and my period I could control but the sence of smell I can not. I had my car detailed and they stuff they used has cripled me. The best way I can describe how it affects me is like when Superman reacts to Kryptonite.
I've resorted to wearing the masks from icanbreathe.com when I have to go out in public. I have to ride public transportation, and you can imagine what that's like with so many people in a little closed in space when it comes to smell triggers. The masks help a lot. I get the decorative ones with lace covering them, because I get a better response from strangers. The plain beige honeycomb one is not something I recommend, unless you are going to decorate it yourself. It looks too much like hospital and medical in the minds of the general public. The decorative ones get a better response. If someone asks, and usually they do ask politely if they're going to ask, they usually say that they can tell that the mask is obviously not meant to be for colds and flu. So, they're really just curious. I know people are going to wonder, because I would, too.
I get more than migraines from all the really toxic stuff. I get nose bleeds, too. That usually lets people know that I'm doing this because I find it to be a necessity, so that is good enough for them.
I had a migraine today that was triggered by odor. Across from my school they were tarring the roof of a building. The smell of that Tar was so pungent and unfortunately the wind was blowing in the direction of my classroom (Our classes open to the outside). The smell of this Tar was so bad a migraine developed. I saw the strange lights before my eyes, then I could not keep my eyes open, and my Principal had to send me home. So i get what you are going through.
I'm in the same boat; the smell of strong perfume, coffee, cigarettes, tar, lavender, vanilla, and many of the "tropical" scents will send me into a migraine in less than 2 minutes. I've read about peppermint oil, but I've had some wonderful luck with Olbas oil. It also come in a mini nasal inhaler (like a Vicks or Benzedrex inhaler). It's a blend of oils, one of them being peppermint oil. Dr. Wilson (neurologist of an amazing headache clinic) recently went to a conference & told me there were studies that showed the scent of green apple have been shown to help ( I've only found 1 candle & it hasn't helped but I question the quality of the candle). I had suffered from rebound headaches and had a migraine or a severe headache daily. Luckily, Dr. Wilson prescribed BOTOX. I get it every 3 months, if I have a migraine that lasts more than 3 days I go and get an infusion to help break it up. I do take Maxalt and Zofran together before I get to the infusion stage.
I also take Magnesium 400 mg a day and B2 400 mg a day. Butterbur 75 mg a day and CoQ 10 has also been quite helpful.
Unfortunately, the darn weather, sources of caffeine, and food triggers like bananas are not fun. Food triggers can be different and the least expected food, it's definitely something to look into.
I'm extremely sensitive to sunlight & there are sunglasses that have red lenses which are supposed to filter out the waves that contribute to migraines. There are many types on Amazon.
And... I don't know if you have a smartphone but there are many wonderful apps to help track migraines. This information is very helpful for your neurologist to pinpoint your triggers & also help you learn some biofeedback exercises which truly work.
I wish you the best of luck and know that there are plenty of options out there.
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