Headaches are terrible, but migraines are the worst! Having to drop everything you’re doing to pop a couple of Tylenol and go lay down in a dark room for hours is not how you want to spend your time. Not only are these headaches/migraines physically painful, but struggling with them consistently can take a mental toll on your well-being. Today I’m sharing how to get rid of chronic migraines for good using a Functional Medicine approach.
Migraine symptoms can vary from person to person and even from migraine to migraine. Some people can’t stand bright lights while other people are more affected by noises. Here are some common migraine symptoms:
Sensitive to bright lights
Sensitive to loud noises
Seeing flashes of light
Taking Tylenol, let alone maximum strength Tylenol, on a constant basis is not good for your health. High doses can damage your gut and deplete your body of your most powerful antioxidant – glutathione. More importantly, Tylenol simply covers up the root cause of your migraine.
When you’re struggling with a migraine and pop a Tylenol, it only masks your symptoms. It doesn’t address the root cause. This means your headaches are going to continue to come back with no real solution. The ultimate way to get rid of migraines for good is by getting to the underlying cause of what’s causing them in the first place.
Getting to the root cause of migraines will offer you relief in the long run. Some people struggle their entire life with migraines without finding relief. In reality, something is triggering these. The question is…what are your triggers?
Let’s chat about some possible underlying reasons for constant and chronic migraines/headaches. And note that it may not be just one of these that is the trigger. A combination of underlying imbalances could contribute to the frequency and severity of your episodes.
Poor Gut Health
Your gut influences your overall health, from your mood to your energy levels to your skin health. When your gut microbiome (which consists of billions of good and harmful bacteria) becomes unbalanced, it can cause health issues. This imbalance is called dysbiosis, and it can contribute to headaches and migraines.
If you need access to a stool test, a gut health expert, and personalized protocols, keep an eye out for when my gut healing program is open for enrollment! This is a very comprehensive program that also focuses on nutrition, detox pathways, nervous system, clean environment, and more. You can sign up HERE to be the first to know when enrollment opens again.
You may have sensitivities to certain foods or even filler ingredients that you consume on a regular basis but are completely unaware that they are causing your headaches. This is because symptoms of food sensitivities can arise hours or even days later.
These foods to which you’re sensitive trigger the release of IgG antibodies into your bloodstream. As a result, the immune response may result in headaches/migraines.
The most common food sensitivities are dairy, gluten, and eggs. Take these out of your diet and see if your headaches still occur. Food sensitivity tests can be super helpful in detecting which foods your body is reacting to. There could even be “healthy” foods that are causing your headaches.
Imbalanced hormones can cause a plethora of symptoms, including migraines. One of the most common hormone imbalances is estrogen dominance. This is when your estrogen levels are elevated in ratio to your progesterone. Unfortunately, many women struggle with this because of poor diet, low fiber intake, environmental toxin exposure, impaired liver function, and chronic stress.
Our bodies were designed to eliminate harmful toxins. However, we are bombarded with environmental toxins every day, multiple times a day, in our current world. Think of your beauty products, laundry detergent, hand soaps, furniture, and even food and water sources! It’s not pretty, and it is overburdening our bodies.
Because of this toxin overload, your detoxification pathways can become impaired. Essentially, your toxin bucket gets too full and starts to overflow. As a result, your liver can’t function optimally and these toxins get reabsorbed back into your body. From there, they are damaging to your cells, cause inflammation, impact your hormones, and contribute to headaches.
When your body gets exposed to an allergen like dust or pollen, it triggers histamine to boost blood flow to the area in order to get white blood cells to fight the “intruder.” However, too much histamine can cause issues like migraines. Too much histamine can come from high histamine foods or even from elevated estrogen levels (because histamine is up-regulated by estrogen). This is why you may experience migraines more often around ovulation when estrogen levels are at their highest.
You could even have a deficiency in Diamine Oxidase (DAO), which is an enzyme responsible for histamine breakdown. In fact, one study found that almost 90% of patients who struggle with migraines have a deficiency in DAO.
Keep a migraine journal to investigate triggers
Eliminate chocolate, tomatoes, alcohol, and other high-histamine foods, especially around ovulation.
Avoid processed foods, gluten, dairy, and excess sugars.
Increase fibrous foods to promote bowel movements. This will help get toxins and excess estrogen out of your body.
Stick to an organic, whole foods diet as much as possible with a lot of anti-inflammatory foods.
Swap out conventional products with non-toxic alternatives.
Talk to your provider about DAO supplementation to decrease the length of migraine attacks.
Get functional lab testing ordered by a Functional Medicine provider
Getting in touch with a functional medicine provider can be the best decision you make to help achieve migraine-free months alongside optimizing your health. Sometimes it is helpful to consult with a neurologist and do imaging as needed to rule out other more serious causes of migraines. But typically patients that end up in my office have already done this and are given a prescription that sometimes helps symptom management without offering a real solution.
Functional medicine providers get to the root cause of health issues rather than covering them up with medications. We can perform lab tests that look at hormone levels, nutrient deficiencies, gut microbiome, and toxic exposures, just to name a few.
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