How I Stopped Having Migraines

Until two years ago, I had debilitating migraines once or twice a month, during which I would be out of commission for 48-72 hours at a stretch. I was maxing out, or nearly maxing out, my triptan medication, fearing that the next migraine was lurking around the bend. I had started getting migraines nearly 10 years earlier, and by the fall of 2016, they were becoming more frequent and more disruptive. I had feelings that many people on this forum know all too well -- anger and frustration at the lack of control; sadness and more anger at feeling as though I was letting people down by breaking plans; worry over my work, because migraines set me back. In my very worst moments, I entertained thoughts of just ending it all. (I don't say that at all lightly, esp. as I know many migraine sufferers get them even more often than I did.)

It was in the throes of this desperation that I decided to try the ketogenic diet. My husband had read about it in an Italian study that showed that migraineurs who followed the diet had a sharp reduction in headaches. I was deeply skeptical — like many migraine sufferers, I was tired of hearing that if only you avoided certain foods, or kept better track of what you ate, or managed stress better, that the headaches would subside. The diet also seemed extreme. But, I figured things couldn't get much worse. So, reluctantly, I gave it a go.

The first three weeks were very promising. I took my triptan medication just once or twice, as opposed to the usual twice a week. That early success, though, was fleeting. The migraines returned, and soon, seemed to be just as frequent as before. I stayed the course, though, because I felt I had nothing to lose. (I've also experienced more mental clarity on keto, which has been a huge benefit.) Over the next few months, I made two other big changes: I stopped taking the birth control pill, which I had started taking shortly after my migraines started in an effort to control them. (That never really worked.) I also started going to acupuncture. By the spring of 2017, my headaches had become much less frequent. I had just one in four months. Naturally, this raised a big question: Which factor was responsible? Or, were they all helping?

Today, I still don't know the answer for sure. But since April 2017, I've had only one full-blown migraine. I stopped acupuncture in the summer of 2017 (though I'm still a big proponent of it), and still managed to stay headache-free. I suspect keto and stopping birth control have both played a role. Bodies are mysterious, and everyone is different. So, even though this approach won't work for everyone (at least a couple of people on this forum have said keto did not help them), I need to share my experience in case it does help someone. Now migraine-free, I am grateful every single day. I truly, truly wish the same for everyone who suffers now.

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