Migraines and Endometriosis

Last updated: August 2022

Those of us with endometriosis are more likely to suffer from migraines.1

If you suffer from migraines, you will know that they can be disabling and severely impact your quality of life, impacting work and social activities.

What are migraines?

Migraines are characterized by frequent headaches and are a recurring pain disorder.2

They are more likely to occur in women between 40-49 years but are also linked to oral contraceptive pill use, depression, and problems with sleep and certain foods.1,2

While migraines are a complex disorder influenced by a range of factors, the underlying cause of migraines is hyperactivity throughout the central nervous system caused by inflammation.1

Chronic inflammation in endometriosis is thought to be a contributing factor to the increased frequency of migraines seen with the disease.

Can you prevent migraines?

Do you ever notice a pattern with your migraines? When you are away from work or in a time of your life when there is minimal stress, you may have noticed your health is much better.

However, most of us don’t live in a way where we feel more relaxed. Usually, most of us live in a state of fight or flight, where our sympathetic nervous system is in charge, leaving us more susceptible to headaches and pain.2

This means that finding ways to reduce and manage our stress levels can help our nervous system to move into a state of ‘rest and digest,’ otherwise known as the parasympathetic nervous system. When our body is in this relaxed state more often, we can digest our food properly, have more regular bowel movements, and experience less pain.3

Diet and migraines

As a nutritionist, the most common triggers for migraine I see with my clients are diet; however, this can be complex to uncover, as many foods and food chemicals can trigger migraines.

One of the most common triggers I have seen in my clients with endometriosis is histamine, a chemical produced naturally by the body. Still, it is also found in certain foods, particularly fermented foods such as pickled vegetables, alcohol, and processed meats such as salami.2

Potential dietary triggers of migraines:

  • Chocolate
  • Citrus
  • Nuts
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Dairy products
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Histamine
  • Tyramine
  • Nitrates
  • Phenylethylamine
  • Aspartame
  • Sucralose
  • Gluten

This is a long list, so if you believe food could be a trigger, you may want to try removing some of these foods or food chemicals from your diet.2

Besides food, staying hydrated is also important, so keeping your water intake will be helpful.

Keeping a diary is helpful to see if there is a pattern to your migraines or an association with certain foods; if you don’t notice one, your health practitioner or doctor may be able to notice any possible triggers.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Endometriosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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