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Migraine Triggers: Caffeine

Migraine Triggers: Caffeine

The migraine brain prefers balance and routine. It craves consistency. As with all other aspects of migraine management, consistency is the key to handling your intake of caffeine.

Many migraineurs find that the occasional caffeinated beverage like a can of Coke is helpful in alleviating the symptoms of a migraine attack. However, most migraineurs will notice that if they overdo their intake of caffeinated beverages, they are more likely to experience a migraine attack.

I think the key is to make deliberate choices. If you’re a coffee drinker, maybe just have a small cup of coffee every morning rather than a jumbo latte. Also, avoid skipping that daily cup so you don’t upset your migraine brain into triggering a migraine attack. If you enjoy having a soda at the movies or a ball game, go ahead and have a small one or share a big one with a friend. Just make the rest of your beverages water. This is for two main reasons. First, dehydration is a common migraine trigger. Second, caffeine has the tendency to make you dehydrated all by itself.

Also, a quick word about artificial sweeteners: If you use these in your coffee or usually drink diet soda, be aware that these can be a separate migraine trigger. You may want to avoid ingesting them when you have your routine cup of coffee or soda. And since you’re not going to be ingesting that much of your favorite beverage anyway, having those extra calories probably isn’t going to blow your diet. Read Janet’s article for more information about artificial sweeteners as a migraine trigger: Migraine Triggers: Artificial Sweetener.

How does caffeine affect your migraines? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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

Comments

  • MsPiggyknows
    2 years ago

    I drink coffee to help get started in the morning. It actually opens my sinuses. This time of the year it helps my voice work. In the Winter it does the same. I try to drink a gallon of water a day to stay hydrated. Water not only keeps headaches at bay it also improves weight issues and energy levels. Green tea is my drink (hot green tea with lemon and spearmint) after my coffee. It has caffeine as well but not as much. Green tea also has many health benefits and with lemon and spearmint it tastes good at any temperature! Though I have found, when you have a bad headache of almost any kind, the first remedy to try is aspirin, ibuprofen or Aleve (liquid gels preferred), and a strong, hot cup of coffee-or if the individual does not drink coffee-a soft drink but not a diet one. Artificial sweeteners can completely scuttle the entire plan.

  • Anna
    4 years ago

    I find myself reaching for the coffee when I feel a migraine coming on. Am sure it’s something to do with opening up the vessels in the brain… always makes me feel better!

  • Dolly Ward Paice
    5 years ago

    I take butalbital, so we all know it contains caffeine. However, I have found that when I’m on one of my coffee kicks, as in drinking every day, I tend to get more frequent migraines. So now I just limit myself….

  • Pam<3Tide
    5 years ago

    Caffeine helps me. If I have it with my migraine meds, it helps to stop them.

  • Mr FBP
    5 years ago

    Drinking tea helps my migraines. I drink too much by most peoples standards – a couple of mugs an hour if I’m at my desk for the day, but switch to decaf after lunch. I tend to have one or two mugs of coffee a day (14g per mug), any more and I’m too wired to function-unless I’m doing lots of exercise, when caffiene helps as a stimulant. I reckon coffee has about seven times more caffeine than tea per mug.

    My wife challenged me to give up caffiene for a week, because she thought I was an addict! I managed quite well, though I had a cracking headache (not migraine) the first couple of days.

  • Ashley Nicole Phipps
    8 years ago

    I quit coffee, soda, and energy drinks all together. but I started one by one. first I quit energy drinks, then I quit caffeine, then I quit soda cause there are caffeine free soda.

  • Christina J Natividad
    8 years ago

    Did that help your migraines?

  • Dominique Forti
    8 years ago

    I have quit Caffeine. I allow myself a nice cup of coffee, on a sunday. But I usually have a migraine! so by then I think what the H! I eat, gluten dairy and coffee out of frustration.

  • Kathy Stage
    8 years ago

    My doctor told me to stop drinking my morning coffee, since I woke up with migraines. I gave it up for several months and saw no change in my migraines, so I am back to drinking my coffee. When I stopped I did it slowly by adding decaf to my regular, so I would not get migraines from giving up the caffeine all at once.

  • Sara Batchelder
    8 years ago

    Quitting caffeine did nothing to change my daily chronic migraines, but I now drink one or no decaf lattes per day and I drink caffeine free natural zevia cola (no aspartame)! It gives me the taste of diet coke with no chemicals. Again, no effect on my migraines, but at least I feel healthier without too much caffeine or aspartame…. Very rarely taking some caffeine for a migraine will help, but not much.

  • Jennifer Mectare
    8 years ago

    Another cause of migraines is polysorbate 80 (which also decreases fertility levels) … are you getting flu shots? In those flu-shots is: , mercury (causes brain injury), polysorbate 80, egg particles, also in these shots are: Ethylene glycol is used as antifreeze. Ethylene glycol and its toxic byproducts first affect the central nervous system, then the heart and finally the kidneys. Ingestion of sufficient amounts can be fatal.

    Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is used as a disinfectant and dye. Phenol was originally used as an antiseptic in surgery but it use was abandoned because it causes skin irritation. Before and during the Second World War, phenol injections were used by Nazi Germans as a means of rapid execution!

    Formaldehyde is the chemical used for embalming. It is used in vaccines as a perservative. Formadelhyde is a known cancer-causing agent and it can also cause allergic reactions. Its use in cosmetics is banned in Sweden and Japan.

    Aluminum is a toxic metal used as an additive in flu shots to promote antibody response. Aluminium is widely associated with Alzheimer’s disease and studies have shown that people who received five or more flu shots during a 10-year period has 10 times higher risks of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, compared to those who had fewer than two flu shots. Aluminuim has also been shown to cause seizures and cancer in laboratory mice.

    Antibiotics like Neomycin and Streptomycin are used as, well, antibiotics, They are added to flu shots to kill any bacteria that may be present. These antibiotics can cause allergic reaction in some people.

  • Val Milo
    8 years ago

    I totally relate, I have a love/hate relationship with caffeine. I’m addicted to it. I also believe, contrary to “official” opinion, that artificial sweeteners cause migraines!

  • Louise M. Houle
    8 years ago

    I actually recently took up drinking coffee in my early 40s. (I remembered how a Mono loco (coffee, ice cream, banana) in Costa Rica had aborted an oncoming migraine years ago.) I find, as you say Diana Lee, that the caffeine can help prevent or at least push back an hour or two an attack. But I worried that I soon NEEDED that one small cup a day. This is the first I’ve read about that maybe being OK, as long as I’m consistent. My chronic migraines are no worse or better for this change in my diet – and I must confess, I am enjoying that cuppa! And no sugar for me. The rice milk sweetens it enough. Thanks for your post!

  • Marie Rachel
    8 years ago

    Cafe O.K. !

  • David Gates
    8 years ago

    I LUV my java. Welcome to the club.

  • Emily Jennings Pittman
    8 years ago

    My doctor just took me off all caffeine and artificial sweetners….after having having migraines for 20 years, seeing numerous doctors, getting no relief, having migraines 3-4 time a week and trying every preventative out there. I guess it’s worth a shot. I am at the end of my rope.

  • Lisa Fiedler
    8 years ago

    What is this book you speak of?

  • Louise M. Houle
    8 years ago

    Caffeine withdrawal… uggh. Hope it passes soon! Hope the headache diet helps you. Tried it once and it helped a bit, but I lost steam at some point. Thinking of trying it again. Perhpas we should start a headache diet club 🙂 to encourage each other. I could start with “I’m Louise, and I’m a chocoholic. I haven’t had chocolate for, oh, 2 hours now”. I have a bit of work to do 🙂

  • Emily Jennings Pittman
    8 years ago

    I’m having headache from not having caffeine!!! Just ordered the book for the “headache” diet. Can’t wait to try it…

  • Louise M. Houle
    8 years ago

    Is it helping? Are you also trying the “headache” diet? Let us know how it goes.

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