What is a Migraine? What Causes Migraines?

If you have ever had a migraine then you know how excruciating they can be.  In college I use to get debilitating migraines all the time until I finally went off birth control and then they mostly stopped.  Throughout the years migraines would come and go but there didn’t seem to be any type of pattern to explain why.  Being gluten free has almost eliminated them all together for me and now the only time I get one is when I am dehydrated.

Migraines can be brought on by numerous things and it is hard to really pinpoint the exact reason except through trial and error of cutting things out and being aware of when you get them and what possibly could have been the culprit.

Here is a great article by MedicalNewsToday.com

What are migraine headaches?

Migraine headaches result from a combination of blood vessel enlargement and the release of chemicals from nerve fibers that coil around these blood vessels.

During the headache, an artery enlarges that is located on the outside of the skull just under the skin of the temple (temporal artery). This causes a release of chemicals that cause inflammation, pain, and further enlargement of the artery.

Migraine headaches can be very debilitating.  A migraine headache causes the sympathetic nervous system to respond with feelings of nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. This response also delays the emptying of the stomach into the small intestine (affecting food absorption), decreases blood circulation (leading to cold hands and feet), and increases sensitivity to light and sound.

According to the National Library of Medicine1, approximately 12% of Americans get migraine headaches. Females are much more likely to get them than males.

The National Headache Foundation5 (Foundation) says that over 37 million people in the United States suffer from migraine. It is a vascular headache which tends to affect people between 15 and 55 years of age. Approximately three-quarters of all migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine.

The Foundation adds that fewer than half of all migraine sufferers have been properly diagnosed by their healthcare provider. Migraine is commonly misdiagnosed as tension-type headache or sinus headache.

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Tags: allergies, Gluten Free, headaches, Health Today, Migraines, Women's health

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  1. Pingback: Depression and Migraine | NAMI South Bay

  2. Reply

    This was really helpful!

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Hi, I’m Kirsten

Kirsten is a Registered Dietician in training, pursuing certification towards becoming a Registered Dietitian, and a Gluten Free Nutrition Consultant. She has a Bachelors of Science from Illinois State and and a Bachelors of Science from Metropolitan State University of Denver in Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

I was diagnosed w/ Celiac disease in 2010, my goal is to provide a path for healthy living to individuals who are seeking a tailored made lifestyle specific to them and their needs.

I believe that everyone is different, there’s not one diet that can work for everyone. The word Diet, is a short-term concept, let’s change diet into ‘lifestyle change’ instead and think long-term. Make healthier decisions not just today but for the years ahead of us as well. A lifestyle change is a journey not a sprint.

Living the gluten free lifestyle is not an easy one and can be very overwhelming: from grocery shopping and social events, to deglutening your own household. I will help you navigate the gluten-free maze with tips, tricks, humor, healthy recipes and more.

Please contact me for more information –  glutenfreegal1@gmail.com

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