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Celiac Disease and Migraines

Celiac Disease and Migraine

What is Migraine?

Those with a migraine disorder tend to have disabling headaches that can cause significant pain for hours or even days. Migraine attacks can cause intense throbbing in one area of the head, nausea and vomiting. When people are experiencing a migraine attack they are typically very sensitive to light and sound. A migraine attack 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 headaches are not, and should be addressed by a medical professional. Medications can help with the symptoms related to a migraine disorder, and a person may look for a dark, quiet and cool place to rest when symptoms are at their peak.

The exact cause of a migraine disorder 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 migraine attacks—such as how often they suffer from migraine attacks, 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 have migraine attacks after they have consumed gluten.
  • Past research has found that those with migraine disorders 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 if you are considering eating gluten-free to alleviate the symptoms of a migraine disorder.

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.

Think you may have celiac disease?

Symptoms Checklist