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Food cravings

Migraine food cravings symptoms : an introduction

The desire or craving for certain foods has been linked to migraines.

In some, a migraine food craving surfaces during the prodrome of migraines, which is the first stage of migraine that usually occurs before the head pain. However, when a craving happens before the headache phase, the craving – for chocolate for example – can be mistakenly considered a migraine trigger. Symptoms considered premonitory or warning of an impending attack typically occur a few minutes to three days before the migraine attack. Many migraine sufferers crave carbohydrates.

During the head pain phase of the attack, many migraine sufferers no longer have food cravings, but experience nausea with or without vomiting. After the migraine has passed, many people don’t want to eat.

In a 2003 study of 120 migraine sufferers in the U.S., U.K. and Denmark, patients kept a three-month, hand-held electronic migraine journal to record their symptoms. Over the three months in the study, migraine food cravings occurred before 18.2 percent of the migraine attacks, migraine food cravings surfaced during 18.1 percent of the actual attacks and in 15.1 percent as one of the after effects of migraines. In that same study, migraine sufferers were asked how often food cravings accurately predicted a migraine was on the horizon.

A 2001 study found migraine food cravings were found in:

  • 8 percent of people who suffered from migraine aura
  • 18 percent of people who suffered from migraine with and without aura
  • 5 percent of people who suffered from migraine without aura

To manage migraine food cravings, keeping a record of your migraine symptoms will help you. Write down all of your migraine symptoms with each migraine attack in your migraine journal. This will help you see how often you experience migraine food cravings and when they occur.


Written by: Otesa Miles | Last review date: November 2010
Premonitory symptoms in migraine Neurology Giffin 2003