When ANOTHER new trigger emerges- hot pepper

Migraine is a wily, sneaky little devil. Right when you think you know how your typical migraine episode progresses, the pattern changes completely. The drugs that used to allow you to bounce back to regular life at almost 100% now barely work. The typical diet you once enjoyed is now rife with triggers that have emerged over time, but sometimes you can sample a food that once caused you agony only to find it’s no longer a trigger for you. Your ability to pull all-nighters is long gone now that a messed up sleep schedule can cause you to be bedridden for an entire day (or week!) due to the resulting migraine.

A few months ago, I talked about red onion emerging as a migraine trigger only once I got into my thirties. This is a food I enjoy to this day, though I now pluck it out of salads and remove it from stir-fry dishes in order to avoid the migraine that comes along with it. Years ago, I wrote a post about having to say goodbye to my beloved beverage, beer, and hundreds of you responded about how hard it was to say goodbye to something you love because it turned out to be a migraine trigger.

Now I have a new loved thing to add to my list of no-nos: hot spices and/or peppers. (Why the vagueness? I’m still not sure what particular ingredient is to blame.) You know how people say you should have some hot and spicy soup if you have sinus congestion because it’ll clear you right up? I used to be one of those people. That is, until a few months ago when having certain spicy foods stuffed me up instead of clearing me out.

I get a full feeling in my ears, followed by significant sinus pressure and discomfort. If I’m already primed for a migraine, this sensation caused by the hot/spicy ingredient will certainly be the straw that broke the camel’s back and I’ll end up with a migraine. If I have been fairly healthy and haven’t exposed myself to many other migraine triggers, the spice will cause me to feel a short-term tension headache and discomfort, both of which dissipate eventually.

I’m at the point now that I am going to ask a couple of restaurant manager friends what exactly is in their taco hot sauce or spicy soup. Not all spicy things trigger migraines for me, and I’ve had several different types of cuisine (BBQ, Mexican, Vietnamese, and more) that have elicited this response.

Does anyone reading this have a similar reaction to spicy foods? Have you been able to deduce what ingredient is at the root of this? How do you investigate your food and drink triggers when any given dish or beverage can have multiple ingredients sourced from numerous companies/locales?

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