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Ask Dr. Nandi: Too much caffeine may spell trouble for migraine sufferers

Posted: 8:52 AM, Sep 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-24 08:52:29-04

Caffeine and migraines – is there a link? New research says yes - drinking too much can raise your risk.

Here’s the good news, if you only drink 1 -2 servings of caffeinated beverages a day, you’re likely okay. But if you drink 3 or more than your risk goes up.

Now this new study involved 98 participants, all of them suffered from episodic migraines. Their caffeine intake, health behaviors and headaches were tracked over 6 weeks. And researchers found that the participants who had 3 or more servings were 1.4 times more likely to get a migraine that day, while those who drank 5 or more had 2.64 times higher odds.

Now those numbers may not seem all that high, but if you get migraines, you’re pretty much willing to almost anything to avoid them.

For a cup of coffee or tea, the serving size was between 6 and 8 ounces, while soda was 12 ounces.

But what I’d like migraine sufferers to be aware of, is that some foods and medications can also contain caffeine. Many of you know that chocolate has it, but so can ice cream, frozen yogurt, pudding, even some breakfast cereals. And pain relievers can also contain caffeine because it helps the medication work more quickly.

So if you suffer from migraines, you might want to stick to one caffeinated beverage a day if you’re also consuming caffeine in other forms.

It’s important to know your triggers. What triggers a migraine in one person may not trigger it in another.

Besides caffeine, other things that can set off migraines are sleep changes, emotional stress, bright lights, hormonal changes, and weather changes. Even food can play a role, for example aged cheeses and anything processed can be triggers.

So if you have regular migraines, please keep a diary to track them and see your doctor for treatment. Because if you self-diagnose and overuse headache-relieving medication, this can also lead to more migraines.