I was reminded last night about some horrible migraines I had a few years ago. A friend called knowing someone who had almost the same thing happen to them. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced. It started when my twins were just over a year. It had happened several times and had been getting progressively worse. The first time I passed out I didn’t even have a headache. On the scariest night, I had a great night filled with red wine, chocolate chip cookies, tortilla chips, salad, and more. I now know those foods most likely set the migraine off. I went to bed as normal and at 2 am I was woken from my sleep feeling very sick. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom. I could feel that I was going to faint. Next thing I know, I’ve passed out and am blocking the door so my husband can’t get to me. I’d hit my head and gone into what looked like a seizure. When I woke up I couldn’t stand or move. My husband and I thought it was my low blood sugar, but I started throwing up and refused any food. I was completely unable to get up and get in the car so we had to call the ambulance. Two paramedics tried to take my blood pressure, but I barely had one. I had to be taken out of my house in a stretcher. I spent three days in the hospital doing tests. The entire time I was there I kept complaining of a headache. I was given Topamax which I had an allergic reaction to. Tests ruled out real seizures. I had a positive tilt table test where my heart stopped for 11 seconds. This meant that when my blood pressure gets low my body is unable to pump the blood properly to the heart to keep me from fainting (I think this is an accurate description). I was sent home on 40mg of Paxil because the doctor told me it was just anxiety and never once told me I had migraines. I went home and felt horrible from the 40mg of Paxil and refused to take it again. I later found out that 40mg is a completely inappropriate dose for me and for the first time you take it. I called my primary doctor who prescribed Metroprolol daily. This helped a lot, but I still had migraines. I take Axert when I get a migraine and if I take it early I can usually go about my day. I also go to a neurologist and take Depakote 250mg once daily.
So what does this have to do with food allergies? When I learned about my son’s corn allergy, I started wondering if I could have one too. From what I remember being told as a kid, allergies are hereditary. I was eating popcorn as a snack every day and the migraines had gotten worse. I seemed to have really bad headaches after eating tortilla chips. By the way, if you could put me on a deserted island I would chose to have popcorn and tortilla chips as my only food! I decided to cut back on the corn and my headaches were getting better. One night I went to a Mexican restaurant and was starving. It was a long wait and tortilla chips were my only option of food. I had some. What a mistake. I had a 3 day migraine. One year later, I decided this just couldn’t be. I had some popcorn. The next day I started another 3 day migraine. If I eat things I’m not supposed to and they contain any form of corn I wind up with horrible migraines. I get dizzy and sick for days.
There are many other factors to migraines other than food allergies, but I find that food does set mine off. In addition to corn, soy also sets mine off. What I’ve found to be the most helpful is to take preventative medicines, take the medicine you need as soon as you get a migraine (don’t wait!), and watch what you eat. I’ve also started acupuncture which is very helpful.