Many people with chronic headaches suffer for years with no permanent relief.
Whether or not you have migraine headaches, tension headaches, sinus headaches, or an undetermined form of headache, it is very possible that you are suffering from food allergy-induced inflammation. Recent research on migraines indicates that food allergies mediated by IgG-type antibodies are specifically to blame.
A headache is really a symptom of something else. It is obviously pain in the head, but the common factor is that headaches of all types usually involve inflammation. If the immune system reacts to one or more of the foods that you eat, then an inflammatory reaction is taking place that can potentially affect your head. Such reactions are far more common than many people realize.
The inflammation and thus the headache will resolve once the triggering food or foods are removed from the diet. Sometimes this is easier said than done, because the foods that we eat are often complicated combinations of numerous base foods. But once the problem is understood, the results can be dramatic.
Food Allergies and Headaches: Q&A with the IBS Treatment Center’s Dr. Stephen Wangen
Is It Possible to Eliminate the Pain and Inflammation without Drugs?
Very often it is actually possible to eliminate the cause of the pain and inflammation without resorting to drugs to suppress it. Inflammation is actually caused by the immune system, which then leads to pain. The important question is, “Why is the immune system creating inflammation?”
What Triggers the Immune System to Create Inflammation?
As you already know, bacteria, viruses, and parasites trigger an immune response. But anything that triggers an immune response also triggers inflammation. This includes foods that are incorrectly identified by the immune system as not belonging in the body. Therefore an allergic reaction to a food can result in inflammation.
What Foods Cause Headaches?
The body can be allergic to any food, therefore any food allergy is capable of causing inflammation and headaches. This is why it can be so difficult for one to recognize the relationship between their diet and their symptoms.
Let’s use a dairy allergy as an example. If you eat any form of dairy, be it milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, or even dairy in the form of casein or whey in another food product, such as bread or milk chocolate, then you can potentially trigger the symptoms of your food allergy, in this case a headache. You should also know that allergy symptoms may show up hours or even a day later, well after a food is absorbed into your system.
How Do I Determine if I Have a Food Allergy?
Most doctors are not well versed in evaluating patients for food allergies. Skin testing is inadequate, and many blood tests are not thorough enough to discover a food allergy. The best way to determine if you have a food allergy is to have your blood tested for both IgE and IgG antibodies to a variety of foods. This is done with an ELISA Food Allergy Panel, which measures your immune response to approximately 100 different foods. To have this testing done please call our office at 206-264-1111 to schedule an appointment.
Although there are other potential causes of headaches and not all patients with chronic headaches have food allergies, those that do can get substantial relief by identifying and avoiding the foods to which they are allergic.
STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? CONTACT THE OFFICE OF THE IBS TREATMENT CENTER AT INFO@IBSTREATMENTCENTER.COM.
(photo credit: commons.wikimedia
Dr. Wangen is the founder and medical director of the IBS Treatment Center, the award winning author of two books, and a nationally recognized speaker on digestive disorders. He has been on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio, and was named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.