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National Migraine Centre
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Headaches associated with food and drink

Hi I am diagnosed with coeliac disease, have been strictly GF for almost 5 years but havent felt great on the diet.

I have given up dairy which made me feel slightly better but have still be plagued by horrible headaches, they are similar to being hungover or having your head filling up with cement.

During the last 3 weeks I have tried to find out what is triggering the headaches and alcohol seems to be one cause, one glass of white 3 weeks ago resulted in headache, last week a glass of red and this week I tried cider and again it resulted in a headache. Yesterday I made gravy with a Knorr beef stock which is supposed to be GF today I have another headache, I think this is with the stock cube having maltodextrin as an ingredient.

I am just wondering whether anyone else has these issues and whether there is any alternative treatment for them, I am wondering whether acupuncture might help but don’t want to waste money if it’s not going to be of any use.

I have been prescribed tablets to take called Topiramate that will prevent headaches but haven’t taken them as I am a bit reluctant to put myself on daily medication when I know that certain foods are causing me to feel ill. If anyone can help it would be appreciated. I used sumatriptan when I get a headache and it does help but the GP's said that they didn't want me taking them all of the time

Just wondering whether anyone else has similar symptoms.

Any help anyone can provide would be appreciated

6 Replies

Hi, I have left various posts previously concerning 3 things you mention: 1) I have been taking a daily dose of Topirmate for a couple of years as a preventative (now 50mg X 2 per day). I find it highly effective in controlling my migraines which I was suffering 2/3 of my life. I haven't a migraine for about 6 weeks now and I feel so well and full of energy. I have kept a strict daily migraine diary for 6 years now, so I can say this with total accuracy. I find Sumatriptan a life saver if I do get an uncontrollable migraine and if 'all else fails'. I find there can be various 'triggers', including diet (MSG is a shocker, likewise too much alcohol, manchego cheese) - as I have said previously, my teenage daughter's ultra-healthy, (but delicious and very varied) vegan diet which I have inadvertantly been following for some months seems to have helped me feel incredibly well...'food for thought'! Although it is difficult to judge scientically whilst I am still taking the daily topiramate. A real test would be for me to be brave enough to come off the topirmate one of these days, stick with the uber-healthy vegan diet and see what happens. But I would say try the topiramate, with your doctor's approval. It seems one does not have to suffer without trying different medications. I have been at rock-bottom with my headaches in the past, and I feel so, so different now. (I am 47, female). Good luck.

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HI Blinc Many thanks for your response, i am glad to hear that your migraines are now under control and you feel well. I also posted on the coeliac forum and have had several suggestions one of which is poor gut bacteria causing food allergies, I think I am going to make an appointment with my GP and discuss thing with him and find out more info about the medication. I was prescribed it about 8 years ago by a neurologist and on the instructions it did say to tell friends or family that you were taking it as it could make some feel suicidal. I have just looked and cannot find this listed on the newer version of the tablets I have now, but this was enough to worry me into not taking it at that time. Thanks again


Oh that's interesting - no it certainly hasn't affected my mood at all - just tingling in the extremities in the first few months of taking (I forgot to mention that), but nothing compared to having headaches. Best of luck with you and the way forward now...


Hi Blinc thanks for the helpful advice I have made an appointment with my GP to discuss thing with him so hopefully I will be able to get myself sorted out. Keep well x


Be sure you and your GP address mineral balance. Knee-jerk elimination of salt was a problem for me when I tried to improve Blood Pressure numbers. It's NOT JUST sodium but the balance of Sodium, Magnesium and Potassium. I hope you find a savvy nutritionist to help out. As they often say (tongue in cheek), Accupuncture couldn't hurt 😜! The problem there is that the effects are cumulative and - at least in the US - expensive.


Thank you Fran


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