All those who suffer from allergies have lots to deal with already. Nausea, rashes, and even breathing troubles are just some of the unpleasant side effects of allergies. Now, it has been found these allergens can even cause migraines (or worsen them). In a study conducted in 2014, it was found that allergy sufferers were 37 percent more likely to suffer from frequent migraines.
If you’re one of those unfortunate groups that suffers from both migraine and allergies, here’s why it happens, and what all you can do to find some relief.
A less direct link exists between migraines and food allergies, but nonetheless many sufferers report experiencing some kind of link between certain foods like aged cheeses and chocolate and developing migraine headaches.
Most of the patients initially don’t realize that their migraines are linked to their food, because in most cases, they avoid the foods they’re allergic to. While most of them won’t experience any classic food allergy symptoms when consuming certain foods, however, they will definitely be sensitive to some pharmacological actions of those foods. So in other words, chemicals present in certain foods act in a certain way on brain chemistry, which can trigger migraine attacks.
Nasal allergic reactions, including sinusitis and rhinitis, have been the biggest cause of migraines. In people who suffer from sinusitis, this is believed to be directly related to the swelling of inflamed and irritated tissues in your sinuses, which builds up intense pressure on nerves. Now that pressure sends signals to the brain, and this often results in the debilitating and familiar effects of migraine.
More than one third of all those who suffer from allergies also report migraines to their doctors, and just 6 percent of all migraine sufferers don’t report experiencing any kind of nasal allergies as a part of their medical history. So in other words, if you’re suffering from any kind of sinus or nasal allergy, you’re either already suffering from migraine disorder, or are likely to get one in near future.
Some people react badly to common indoor allergens like pet dander, urine, dried skin flakes, mold, cockroach particles, and droppings of dust mites. They can cause lots of symptoms ranging from nasal congestion to hives, normal headaches, to the dreaded migraines.
Besides various direct factors of chemicals and pressure in our food, there is another important player in the game of migraines and allergies: histamine.
Histamine is a chemical produced by the body in response to allergens it believes to be a threat, and it’s this chemical which is responsible for all the trouble. This chemical causes vasolilation, hives and anaphylaxis. These same reactions are happening in the brain, which can be one of the reasons for allergy related migraines, according to some allergy researchers.
How to deal with allergy linked these migraines?
If you’re already receiving migraine treatment, then hopefully your doctor has been able to establish a link between your allergies and your migraines, and you’re taking necessary steps to manage both conditions. If you also suffer from “sinusitis headaches” or you find that certain foods you eat trigger your migraines, then you might not have made the necessary connection yet. The best way to go is to keep a headache journal and record when you suffer migraine and which of the external factors contribute to your symptoms.
As far as limiting the effects of hay fever and allergies on your head, here’s all that you need to know.
If allergies are worsening your migraines, then first and most important step for you is to somehow control your allergies.
Consult an allergy specialist to ascertain the exact cause of your allergies. Remember there can be thousands of potential causes of allergic symptoms, and it’s important for you to narrow down the substances that you need to avoid in your immediate environment.
If you feel your migraine is linked to food sensitivity, try eliminating common trigger foods like cheese, chocolate, wine, and processed foods that contain nitrates. You can get a completely list of culprit food triggers from your doctor.
For all those who’re suffering from allergies and are sensitive to airborne allergens, remove all carpets in your house, install HEPA filters and take all steps to avoid causes, such as pet dander or feather pillows.
Ask your allergist or doctor abut prescription allergy shots or medication, which are more effective and targeted than OTC counter antihistamines.
By taking steps to control your allergies, you will see an amazing drop in the frequency of your migraine attacks if they’ve been triggering your headaches. Even if you take all these steps, you’ll still find you’re getting migraines. If that’s your case, you will need a specialized treatment and your doctor will prescribe new medications that will help in reducing allergy-linked inflammation and swelling.