Migraineurs Support Community
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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?1325532016
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?1437665191
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?1325532016
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?1325532016
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?1437665191
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.
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