Celiac Disease and Migraines

What are Migraines?

A migraine is a disabling headache that can cause significant pain for hours or even days. Migraines can cause intense throbbing in one area of the head, nausea and vomiting. When people are experiencing a migraine they are typically very sensitive to light and sound. A migraine may also cause flashes of light or blind spots to appear in one’s vision, or tingling in the arms and legs. It is important to remember that occasional headaches due to stress, tension, or illness are normal, but debilitating, life-interrupting migraines are not and should be addressed by a medical professional. Medications can help with the symptoms related to migraines, and a person may look for a dark, quiet and cool place to rest. The exact cause of migraines is not well known but may be partly related to the trigeminal nerve system (nerves in the face) and chemical imbalances in the brain.

What is the Connection between Migraines and Celiac Disease?

  • Some people with celiac disease find relief from migraines – such as how often they get migraines, the severity of the pain or how long they last – after beginning a strict gluten-free diet       
  • Many people with celiac disease report that they get migraines after they have consumed gluten
  • Past research has found that migraine sufferers have a higher risk of having celiac disease than the general population, however this remains a controversial association.  As always, it is important to be tested for celiac disease before starting the gluten-free diet to alleviate the symptoms of migraine headaches

Where can I learn more?

Do you or a family member suffer from migraines? You may have celiac disease. Find out now. Take our Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist.



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