Allergies, Headaches, and Migraines: What’s the Connection?

Millions of people in the world deal with headaches daily. From 70% to 80% of the population have headaches. Fifty percent experience headaches at least once per month, 15% at least once per week, and 5% daily.

Migraines are a type of headache that can cause throbbing pain and other symptoms. They’re common in women than men and usually begin during childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood.

Read more: Migraines vs. Headaches: How Do I Know Which I Am Having?

One of the common causes of migraines or headaches is allergies. These can be seasonal allergies, pet allergies, dust allergies, or food allergies. Allergies can cause inflammation and trigger the release of certain chemicals that can lead to headaches.

How Do Allergies Cause Severe Headaches?

Allergies cause headaches by releasing chemicals that constrict blood vessels in the brain. This process is called vasodilation. Vasodilation is when blood vessels widen to allow more blood flow. When this happens, the surrounding tissue inflamed, putting pressure on the nerves. This can lead to a headache or a migraine. Allergies can also cause sinus infections, which can also lead to headaches. The best way to prevent headaches caused by allergies is to avoid triggers and treat the allergies themselves.

Types of Allergies That Cause Migraines/Headaches

1) Histamine

It is one of the most common chemicals that cause allergies. When your body is exposed to an allergen, such as pollen, pet dander, or dust mites, it releases histamine into your bloodstream. Histamine then binds to receptors on blood vessels and other cells in your body, causing them to swell and leak fluid. This can trigger migraines or headaches.

There are two types of histamine:

  • Reactive histamine: This is released when your body is exposed to an allergen.
  • Non-reactive histamine: This is produced by your body in response to inflammation or injury.

2) Food-related

Certain foods can trigger migraines or headaches in some people. Common triggers include aged cheeses, chocolate, MSG, alcohol, and certain fruits (avocados, bananas, and citrus).

If you have migraines or headaches caused by food allergies, you may also experience other symptoms, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing

3) Hay Fever or Allergic Rhinitis

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you may also experience an increase in headaches or migraines. This is because hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, can cause inflammation in the sinuses, leading to pain and pressure in the head. Allergic rhinitis is often caused by pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. If you’re allergic to pollen, you may notice that your headaches or migraines are worse during certain times of the year when pollen counts are high.

Treatment Options for Migraines or Allergic Headaches

1) Immunotherapy

This treatment helps by teaching your body how to tolerate better the allergens that trigger migraines.

There are two types of immunotherapy:

  • Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT): With this type of therapy, you’ll receive shots containing a small amount of the allergen that triggers your migraines. The dosage is gradually increased over time so that your body can build up a tolerance to the allergen.
  • Oral immunotherapy (OIT): With OIT, you’ll take daily doses of an allergen in pill form. The dosage is gradually increased over time so that your body can build up a tolerance to the allergen.

2) Antihistamines

Antihistamines are medications that can help to relieve the symptoms of allergies and migraines. They work by blocking the action of histamine, a substance your body releases in response to an allergy trigger.

3) Antidepressants

Antidepressants are sometimes used to treat migraines. These medications affect the levels of certain chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that plays a role in mood and pain perception.

Midwest Pain Clinics offers the best headache treatment in Omaha . Contact our team of headache specialists who offer medication and non-medication options for our patients.

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