Avatar universal

Migraine - Elimination Diet

Hi Everyone,

This is my first time posting on this forum.
I have had migraine's since I was 14 and I'm now 27. Throughout the time that I have had them they have been more plentiful and severe at different times within this period. I am currently suffering from debilitating migraine headaches lasting anywhere from 4-7 days at least once a month. I suspect that they may be hormone related but I cannot be sure. I also experience visual aura on a daily basis particularly if it is sunny out. I tend to be very sensitive to light.
In the past I have taken excedrin migraine and occasionally sumatriptan for pain relief. I have found that these drugs temporarily relieve pain but do not provide relief after a couple of hours when the pain comes back.
Anyway, I recently decided to begin an elimination diet to rid my diet of allergens (gluten, soy, dairy, sugar, caffeine, unfiltered water etc. ) in hope that i can find a possible solution to this headache. ;) I am wondering if anyone else has found relief through this method? I eat mostly vegetarian, occasionally eating fish, but i consume a lot of soy and dairy products. I'm fairly active and would love to find a solution through diet and exercise.
I recently spoke to a doctor who suggested a beta blocker but i am not sure how i feel about taking prescription drugs on a daily basis. I tend to be very sensitive to drugs and i worry about long term effects/ side effects.
Any input is appreciated. Thanks! :)
19 Responses
875426 tn?1325528416
Welcome!  I eliminated obvious some trigger foods, where I got a big migraine shortly after eating something.

I will say I felt soy aggravated headache in me, though not sure it gave a migraine... I eliminated it for another medical condition I have-IC.  

Re: the beta blocker -do you have high blood pressure (even episodically) or a somewhat erratic heart rhythm?  If so, go for trying the beta blocker the dr. suggested as a preventative, starting out at an extra low dose, since you are sensitive to medications- hopefully you will have a dr. who is sensitive to pts. w/that situation (runs in my family).  With the internest I had at the time my migraines went chronic, the first drug he tried w/me was Inderal (likely generic-HMO), since that's what he took.

You may find it is a trial and error process w/finding a preventative for your needs & if you are mainly having migraines related to menstruation, you may want to give the route you are on a decent try first.  Regular exercise and eliminating trigger foods.  You might consider trying acupuncture too.

Make sure your ferritin (iron stores) isn't low, as low iron can cause headaches & this problem is common in women who are still menstruating.  Make sure your thyroid function is normal as if this is off (like hypo for instance-sluggish), that can cause headaches   Also, if you feel yourself getting any warning of impending migraine-like suddenly notice you're really tired, try eating a snack for better blood sugar level & exercise to get endorphines and circulaton going better to see if you can stave off the ensuing migraine.

I'm concerned about your poor reaction to imitrex and excedrine, especially in someone sensitive to medication- how often do you take excedrine (could your body have developed immunity to it or rebound headache)?  (You said occasionally for sumatriptan usage), -what dosage do you take of that?  I was up to 100 mg, if I remember correctly, but with all the meds I was on & maybe how often I was taking it, though not extremely often I don't think), I recall having similar problem- it helped some for a short while, only it came back worse!
Avatar universal
Thanks for your response!

I have only taken Imitrex maybe 10 times since it was a prescription my sister had given me because she didn't need it. I was taking it in 100mg doses and it would relieve my headache within minutes but it generally would come back after I got some rest. Excederin on the other hand I have been taking off and on for my migraines since I began having them when I was a teenager. Recently, I have grown more dependent upon the excederin for relief and I definitely think that I could be experiencing rebound headaches from that. I have had a migraine for about 7 days now and for the first couple of days I took excederin but then by the third I tried the sumatriptan but neither seemed to be anything more than temporary relief so I have not taken any medicine in the past three days and have started this new diet.

As for the beta blocker here is my real concern... I don't have health insurance but I was recently able to speak with a doctor (family friend) who offered to write me a prescription. Unfortunately, the conversation regarding my migraines was not very in depth and he almost immediately suggested a beta blocker plus plus imitrex. I am very concerned about taking drugs and becoming dependent upon them and potentially winding up with more headaches.

As for the iron it is definitely possible that I could have a deficiency. I have been vegetarian for about five years now and have only recently added fish back into my diet. I will definitely look into this. I have found that recently I have been getting migraines directly after I finish my period.

I appreciate your input, it is very helpful to be able to speak with people experiencing the same types of problems.

681148 tn?1437661591
When I Googled Tyramine Intolerance and migraines I found a site that mentioned the usual culprits for foods that bother people with migraines and IBS both.  Not necessarily at the same time, but some of us do have both.  I thought it was worth mentioning.

I think the comment about iron is worth taking a second look at.  I'll be going in soon to talk to my doctor about taking a blood panel for the nutrient levels, iron being one of them.  I'm often low, so I'll be doing that for sure.  I do take a chelated vegetarian source of iron by Solaray, so hopefully the iron isn't as deficient as it used to be.

I've been taking kelp from the supplement store for thyroid support.  I'm considering getting the natural iodine, too, since most people are deficient.  I know I am iodine deficient for sure.  It drives me nuts that the TSH tests within the normal range but I still have obvious symptoms.  I listened to a webinar about adrenal and thyroid.  The natural doctor was explaining that this can happen because the range may be what is considered normal but is not right for the individual.  He used shoe sizes as an example.  If a certain size is the average size for a group of people, that doesn't mean that the size is the right size for an individual.  I have to go back to find the right range of iodine to take that he mentioned before I take that giant step.
875426 tn?1325528416
If you are going to take the imitrex again, I recommend you get the prescription if the doctor feels it is safe for you with your particular medical history, since it's illegal to take someone else's prescription.  (Learned that legality fact while in nursing school).

Re: beta blocker- do you have a home blood pressure monitor or a drug store/pharmacy with a blood pressure station?  Do you know how to take a pulse on yourself?  

My doctor thinks ferritin (iron stores) blood test is the best indicator of what iron is doing in the body, if you want to limit your blood testing due to no insurance.
875426 tn?1325528416
I have migraines, P.O.T.S., I.B.S., I.C., G.E.R.D., TMJ arthritis w/displaced discs (one torn) and am fighting not to become anemic again.  I am not doing well with certain diet aspects with my various conditions though I do try to avoid the nitrate/nitrite foods and more due to migraine triggers.  

Do get your ferritin checked & let us know how you fair?  Have you ever had your free T4 checked along with the TSH?
681148 tn?1437661591
I can try to get the T3 and T4 tested, but usually protocol doesn't allow it if the TSH is "normal".  It's very annoying when we're all told that the TSH can be normal while the T3 and T4 are off.  None of this makes any sense when everything I've been learning tells me that the thyroid/adrenals aren't operating at the optimal levels.  Everything I've been learning points to undiagnosed P.O.C.S. or undiagnosed endometriosis.  Grr.  The webinar I mentioned before had information about how only the bottom 2% of people with thyroid issues are ever actually diagnosed, and most people don't get diagnosed 'til the thyroid/adrenals are totally messed up.  It doesn't make sense since I'm all for preventive measures.  One would think that dry skin, dry hair, acne, hirsutism, dysmenorhea, extreme fatigue, etcetera would indicate that there is something wrong.  Well, from what I learned from this webinar, my instincts are correct--there is something wrong, even if conventional medicine doesn't recognize problems 'til the glands are so messed up that they have to be treated with pharmaceuticals.  I wish I had enough money to get this treated by a naturopath.  I know for sure my iodine levels are too low.  It's really annoying and embarrassing to pull out ingrown terminal hairs on my face that are on occasion one to three inches long.  It's also annoying and embarrassing that there are as many terminal hairs as there are.  I hate it.  I sure wish conventional medicine would recognize that this isn't as much about it being a cosmetic issue, though, as it is a health issue, even though the cosmetic issues it causes are pretty significant.  So much more is involved.    

I'm fighting not to be anemic again, too.  So, this will definitely have to be checked.  I don't know the abbreviation of I.C.  I forgot the complete definition of P.O.T.S.  I just know that I more likely have P.C.O.S.  Other than that, the rest of your list is almost identical to mine.  I don't have the SED rates to indicate arthritis, even though I definitely have fibromyalgia, but I definitely have issues with my TMJ.  As insurance won't cover the cost of a TMJ night guard, the only thing I know to do that is within my means and covered by my insurance is to have the chiropractor check and adjust the TMJ when I go in to get adjusted.  I don't have displaced discs, but the thoracic disks in my back do cause me a lot of pain.  I am really glad mine aren't displaced, since they already cause me significant pain as it is.
875426 tn?1325528416
You need to get referred to an endocrinologist for your symptoms.  When I was diagnosed w/pituitary tumor in the past, every endocrinologist I went to tested at least TSH and free T4.    Have you had cortisol testing re:adrenals?  

Have you had your FSH tested re:your PCOS suspicion & had ultrasounds w/results that would seem to lend to that suspicion?  Surgery- exploratory laporoscopy is something you might consider w/your gyn dr. re:endometriosis suspicion w/your dysmenorrhea.  They found severe endometriosis in me during emergency laporotomy.  About a year later, I had a complete hysterectomy.  Surgery is usually the only way they find endometriosis.

Radiographic pics showed osteoarthritis in jaws for me, MRI last year showed disc problems in both jaw joints.  My flat-planed splint (have bought two in the last app. 7 years) I've bought for my jaws has really helped w/the headaches I used to wake up with on adaily basis without it.  Last time I skipped a night, I awoke with a horrific migraine.  The investment, though expensive has been worth it for me.
681148 tn?1437661591
What is FSH?
875426 tn?1325528416
Neglected to mention IC = interstitial cystitis
FSH is follicle stimulating hormone, produced by the pituitary- the measurement of this hormone in the blood at the proper time during the menstrual cycle can demonstrate whether you are ovulating or not.
1985088 tn?1327810108
Hey there it sounds like we are suffering exactly same things..
as in symptoms and age factor as well.
i am currently on elimation diet as well have not come across anything as yet.
i am seeing a neurologist in 3 weeks... i know they will only want me to try a script drug my doctor says he puts everyone on Topomax dont know about that. i have heard good and bad reactions with it... i think all have there good and bad parts its just a matter of what we can put up with.
i am on day 11 of a migraine. last 2 days has not been as bad but i feel nausea in the morning though which is aweful and i am getting an MRI this week on Wednesday. i had a CT done in 2008 that was clear.
i find a cold pack relieves alot of pain as well...
RJ x
681148 tn?1437661591
I just started including seaweed in my diet.  It seems to helping overall with my symptoms, which indicates that I am correct about low iodine.  Hopefully, I can avoid ever having to get stuck having to take Synthroid for the rest of my life.
875426 tn?1325528416
That would be nice to not have to take Synthroid for the rest of your life, but of course, they need to monitor your thyroid hormone levels to determine about that.  How are you doing?
681148 tn?1437661591
I'm still tired all the time and still get these "lovely" migraines.  I keep gaining weight when I don't know why.  I'm really getting annoyed with these ever present terminal facial hairs from the Hirsutism that I have to pluck, since shaving doesn't really take care of the problem if I want to feel feminine.  The doctor did blood work last week and said that she was going to test the TSH along with a few other things.  I'm assuming since I haven't heard back from them that they haven't found anything alarming.  I think they would've called if they had found something alarming.

I fell off the seaweed wagon, so I need to revamp my efforts.  I was still tired with that stuff, too, but less so.  I think I fall in the middle in regards to the thyroid hormones.  Just enough to have a sluggish thyroid but not enough to be noticed by conventional medicine.
875426 tn?1325528416
Are you active on the thyroid forum?  They sure are fierce in their knowledge over there about what's right for you when it comes to thyroid hormone levels and finding a doctor who cares.  If it turns out your thyroid is okay, have you ever been tested for diabetes?  I read recently that not only weight loss but weight gain can be a potential symptom for diabetes type II.

I have some hairs from a scar I have to pluck since a dermatologist left the root of a mole behind, just shaving the surface of it.  He left the wound with hairs sticking out of it, I suppose so I wouldn't have as big of scar.  I know that hurts!  

681148 tn?1437661591
The TSH test came back normal again, but I wonder if the level I'm at is still slightly sluggish.  I get frustrated by the differences in what conventional medicine touts as fact and what natural medicine says about those who fall somewhere in between.

The A1c test wasn't too bad, since it wasn't in the pre-diabetes category, but it almost was.  What ***** about this, though, is that I have been eating a low carb diet.  That should help this issue.

What I would like to know how a person can have Hirsutism as bad as I do and still test within the "normal" of TSH.  Protocol says that doctors never deviate from this and test the other thyroid tests if the TSH is "normal".  They simply won't do the other tests.  I can't pay out-of-pocket for these tests myself.
875426 tn?1325528416
Might I suggest telling your primary care doctor your symptoms of weight gain despite dieting and hirsutism and that you want him/her to refer you to an endocrinologist for an evaluation?  An endocrinologist given those symptoms likely would order tests your PCP might be reluctant to.
681148 tn?1437661591
I could ask.  I mean, since an endocrinologist would also take care of patients with diabetes, perhaps I could see an endocrinologist.  I finally got insurance that doesn't require referrals for all new doctors, but a lot of the doctors still require the referrals themselves.  I just saw her, so maybe I won't have to see her again just to ask for the referral.
875426 tn?1325528416
I think you will find endocrinologists will require the referral.  Hope you can research the ones in your plan on vitals or healthgrades or both- finding an endocrinologist that's decent can be difficult.
Avatar universal
Some triggers are aspartame or sugar free tablets,walnuts ,also avoid being empty stomach
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