It’s been a while since I posted, but I do have some updates that I hope are helpful to someone.
I am still on the diet that I have been following while posting here with the following exceptions:
- I have successfully added almonds back into my diet as indicated by some of my later posts.
- I have eliminated Craisins because I was finding that my migraines became more frequent when I ate them (see modification of this granola recipe).
As I’ve noted previously, my migraines decreased in frequency and intensity with my diet changes, but they were still debilitating enough to make a major impact on my life. So, I kept trying to figure out what else to do. Some of my attempts are noted under the “Thoughts” portion of this blog. None of these was a complete solution though.
My research indicated that more women have migraines than men, and that women on synthetic hormones (hrt and birth control) tend to have problems in this regard. I have been on synthetic estrogen for 15 years and decided that it was time to stop. Getting off of hrt is not an easy task, and the withdrawal can actually induce migraines if it is done too quickly. While it was difficult, I noticed a gradual reduction in migraine episodes while I was decreasing. In fact, even though I didn’t take my last dose until the first week of December, I hadn’t had a migraine since the first week of November. And I still hadn’t had one until the last 3 days…….
Both of these last 2 migraines were caused by exposure to chemicals in the air. The November one was due to a Glade air freshener, and this second one was due to a very strong cream someone near me was wearing. By eliminating the food triggers and the hormones, at least I was able to tell that fragrances seem to be my remaining issue. I have had no migraines associated with weather changes as I had previously considered. I have also been able to tolerate more light than I had been, but I still do use my clip and visor at times.
My conclusion is that chemicals that get into my brain are the cause of my migraines. The tyramine in foods, synthetic hormones, and fragrances (or associated tag-along chemicals) are the culprits. Eliminating exposure to these has been helpful for me, but it is not always possible. In fact, my life is becoming lonelier as I am having to refrain from being around people with fragranced cream, laundry detergent, shampoo, hairspray, etc.. Unfortunately, this includes most people unless they make their own or use products that are TRULY fragrance free.
I have found magnesium supplementation to be helpful when I do start having head pain. However, it works best if the exposure to the fragrance is limited to a short time. Once a migraine is full blown, magnesium dulls the pain, but doesn’t completely halt the migraine with all of its other symptoms. My main course of action in these cases is to clear my schedule for a couple of days, hunker down with ice packs and ear plugs, and trust God.
I have not found stimulating the daith region of my ears to be of much help, and I’m glad I was able to determine this before having the piercings. I get temporary minor relief by massage of the area, but it is not significant and does not consistently work for me.
I don’t plan any diet changes as this point. Someday, I may be able to add more foods back in, but I simply want to enjoy having more pain-free days for now. My hope is that, over the next few months, my body will adjust to the lack of estrogen and the migraine days will be far between. I’ll post updates as I find out!