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Migraine questions

KurlyKaeKurlyKae Posts: 3,413Registered Users
I have a call into our doctor, but sometimes I find personal experiences just as helpful...
So, my 13 yo DD has migraines. At this point, she's taking Imitrex (50mg dosage.) We (DH and I) are trying to pinpoint any triggers to help avoid the situation, if possible.

I've read that various food, as well as weather changes, may be culprits. If you get migraines triggered by food, what is the timeframe btw. eating and the onset of the migraine? DD had pizza and a hotdog for dinner Monday night (leftover night) about 6:30. The migraine hit about 9:30. With 3 hours btw., could there be a connection? What I've seen says more like 20-25 minutes.

Also, weather changes. Monday we were experiencing SoCal's Santa Ana winds. Major winds with very warm temps (80s.) The winds are gone now, but she's still got the headache. Obviously, we can't control the weather, but if it turns out to be a trigger, we can be ready to deal, I guess.
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  • SpunkyCurlsSpunkyCurls Posts: 1,523Registered Users
    Food:aged cheese, dark chocolate
    Drink: wine, overdoing caffeine
    Allergies: all of them!
    Hormones: ovulation and PMS
    Weather: huge changes in barometric pressure


    It can be anywhere up to 24 hours after a I have eaten/drank a trigger but I also have to have another trigger or two in there as well. Hormones are the only trigger that can cause a migraine alone.

    It took me at least 2-3 years of paying attention to understand what my triggers were. It has been worth it though because it reduced the number of migraines I have per month by half.
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  • merynmeryn Posts: 1,806Registered Users
    My SO gets horrible migraines. For him, this book has *drastically* reduced the frequency....

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    His triggers are tropical fruits, MSG (which is in dang near everything that's pre-made), and processed meats. It's generally the following early morning that he gets a migraine.
  • KurlyKaeKurlyKae Posts: 3,413Registered Users
    Thank you, Spunkycurls. This is DDs 5th or 6th M. since Nov. I'm just starting to try to keep track of possible triggers. Considering 24 hrs, it's very possible that she had one or more potential food triggers. From what she remembers, she had a cheese and turkey on rye for lunch. (poss. triggers, right?) Then the hotdog for dinner. She also had a decaf vanilla latte at some point later in the day. Can decaf coffee be a problem, too? We're going to have to keep a food diary for a while now. Then there are those winds...Thanks, again.
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  • KurlyKaeKurlyKae Posts: 3,413Registered Users
    So, meryn, it's a while btw for your SO, too. I'd say DD had a couple processed foods. Of course, so much of what we eat is processed, why this week and not last week? If only I knew...thanks for the link, I'll look into that.
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  • Nappy_curly_crownNappy_curly_crown Posts: 4,162Registered Users
    Hotdogs/some deli meats are triggers for me...but its not the meat itself, its the nitrates that are used to preserved them (pressed meats....not fresh shaved/carved meats). The time frame between a trigger and the migrane for me is anywhere between 2-24 hours. The time frame varies based on my hormones and allergies.
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  • merynmeryn Posts: 1,806Registered Users
    KurlyKae wrote: »
    So, meryn, it's a while btw for your SO, too. I'd say DD had a couple processed foods. Of course, so much of what we eat is processed, why this week and not last week? If only I knew...thanks for the link, I'll look into that.

    I know, it's not consistent. The book explains it a little better, how a build-up of the "bad" foods triggers an episode. Brian can eat anything right after he has a migraine, because he never gets one he following day.
    AND he gets incredibly depressed, get's an "eff it" attitude and eats whatever the heck he wants. (Not sure if your daughter gets depressed, but the book also describes the seratonin dump)
  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    I've been suffering from migraines and cluster headaches every since I got my period. There's a hormonal component, as well as dietary triggers.

    Cold cuts are out. Hot dogs are out too. Check labels for nitrates and preservatives such as citric acid.

    Citric acid is also in fresh fruits such as pineapple and oranges.

    Plus everything that Spunky listed:
    Food:aged cheese, dark chocolate
    Drink: wine, overdoing caffeine
    Allergies: all of them!
    Hormones: ovulation and PMS
    Weather: huge changes in barometric pressure
  • cyndicyndi Posts: 3,341Registered Users
    I had to keep a food diary to learn my food triggers. My biggest trigger turned out to be aspertame. If I were guessing, I would think it was the hot dog...they're a known trigger.

    Now, I only eat organic meats and I rarely get migraines. I used to get 8-9 a month and now usually have one right before I start my period. Alchohol is another big one for me. Unlike most people, red wine is the only thing that doesn't give me a headache.

    I hope your DD gets these under control. They can be very debilitating and non-migraine sufferers are not very understanding.... A MIGRAINE IS NOT A HEADACHE...it's a total body experience.

    I know you didn't ask, but here's some helpful info..

    I take Aleve with my Amerge (same family as Imitrex).

    If you daughter gets nauseous and vomits, she take phenegren. It knocks you out, but at that point, that's what you need.

    I can only take the Aleve/Amerge combo twice in a 24 hour period. If I'm still in pain, I take fioricet, a prescription painkiller.

    If the above doesn't work and the migraine won't go away, the doctor can give you steroids in an emergency. I once had a migraine for seven days...this was the only thing that got rid of it.
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  • cyndicyndi Posts: 3,341Registered Users
    Did the vanilla latte have artifical (sugar free) sweeteners?
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  • merynmeryn Posts: 1,806Registered Users
    medussa wrote: »
    Check labels for nitrates and preservatives such as citric acid.

    Citric acid is also in fresh fruits such as pineapple and oranges.

    Ah yes, citric acid. Lemon-lime soda is one of the worst offenders for B. He doesn't generally get headaches from hard liquor, but ALWAYS from margaritas.
  • Who Me?Who Me? Posts: 3,181Registered Users
    I was diagnosed with migraines when I was 14, but remember having them occasionally for years before that. I've been on a daily prophylaxis medication since I was 14. I only get one migraine every 2-3 months now. I'm totally incapacitated for at least 6 hours up to a few days when it happens, though.

    Anyway, I've been told that virtually any food can be a trigger. There are some that are more common, and some that are scientifically proven, but it can really be anthing. For instance, I can eat as much chocolate, red wine, cold cuts, and caffeine as I want and be fine. I think curry might be a trigger for me, though.

    My only "known" triggers are dehydration and coming down from stress. As in, I won't get one if I'm stressed out but as soon as I relax (like after an exam, or if I've been stressed planning something as soon as that something is actually happening), I'll get one.

    None of the prescrption drugs to take once you get a migraine has worked for me. Imitrex just made it worse. Excedrin Migraine with a LOT of water seems to help a bit.
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  • PoodleheadPoodlehead Posts: 6,959Registered Users
    Who Me? wrote: »
    I was diagnosed with migraines when I was 14, but remember having them occasionally for years before that. I've been on a daily prophylaxis medication since I was 14. I only get one migraine every 2-3 months now. I'm totally incapacitated for at least 6 hours up to a few days when it happens, though.

    Anyway, I've been told that virtually any food can be a trigger. There are some that are more common, and some that are scientifically proven, but it can really be anthing. For instance, I can eat as much chocolate, red wine, cold cuts, and caffeine as I want and be fine. I think curry might be a trigger for me, though.

    My only "known" triggers are dehydration and coming down from stress. As in, I won't get one if I'm stressed out but as soon as I relax (like after an exam, or if I've been stressed planning something as soon as that something is actually happening), I'll get one.

    None of the prescrption drugs to take once you get a migraine has worked for me. Imitrex just made it worse. Excedrin Migraine with a LOT of water seems to help a bit.
    This is me too. I started having them when I was 7, which is very early, because they start with puberty in most people. They stopped when I was 26, and now I rarely get them. All of my headaches are just headaches now. But I am very watchful with my own kids, because my mom had them and her mom had them, but I was the only one of 5 to get them.
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  • CurlyHairedFarmerCurlyHairedFarmer Posts: 3,073Registered Users
    For me personally:

    Energy drinks
    MSG in large amounts
    Stress
    Too much sunlight
    Any sort of snowstorm or rainstorm
    Being tired
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  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    Who Me? wrote: »
    coming down from stress. As in, I won't get one if I'm stressed out but as soon as I relax (like after an exam, or if I've been stressed planning something as soon as that something is actually happening), I'll get one.

    None of the prescrption drugs to take once you get a migraine has worked for me. Imitrex just made it worse. Excedrin Migraine with a LOT of water seems to help a bit.

    Omg, I used to get horrible attacks right when all the stress was over too.

    Imitrex made me sick as a dog. Nausea and tightening of the chest. It was awful. The only protocol that has worked from me in a headache cycle (my attacks are cyclical--several months every few years) was Calan (verapramil) as a prophylactic and Fioricet for the actual attack. After several weeks on the Calan, I no longer would get attacks. Calan is a medication that slows down your heartrate. It's primarily used for high blood pressure, but neurologists use it for migraines.

    KK, your daughter might be too young for Calan, but it's worth looking into, if the Imitrex becomes ineffective at some point.
  • KurlyKaeKurlyKae Posts: 3,413Registered Users
    Wow, this is why I posted the question here, the curlies are a wealth of information. Thanks to all.

    I am now very suspicious of the hotdog and the deli meat and cheese. She has the deli less frequently than the hotdog, I don't know if that factors in.

    The latte was made with instant decaf, hot water, milk,vanilla extract and regular sugar. (could the extract be a problem?)

    Apparently, she had a couple sips of Sprite earlier in the day. (Experiment in Science and my genius and her lab partner mixed us the Sprite and water cups. I guess the bubbles weren't enough to be sure which was Sprite?)

    Dehydration is always a possibility. We're always suggesting both girls drink more water, but that's hard during the school day. (ugh to school water fountains and they lose water bottles, plus middle school bathrooms are nasty...)

    Puberty has been rough on this girl! Epilepsy last winter, migraines this year. At 13 1/2 she hasn't even started getting her period. What will be next?

    Thanks again for all the imput.
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    AG re:coil, LALooks gel, John Frieda Secret Weapon
  • KurlyKaeKurlyKae Posts: 3,413Registered Users
    Adding that today she's experiencing nausea. I thought it was a symptom of the migraine, didn't connect it to a side effect of Imitrex. Something else to add to the list of what to tell the doc, if he ever bothers to call me back. thanks.
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  • jeepcurlygurljeepcurlygurl Posts: 19,235Registered Users Curl Dabbler
    I've had migraines since I was 8 and have tried most every remedy at some time or other during the last 44 years, legal and not so legal. I still have migraines around 15 days per month. Relpax is my current lifesaver.
    Everyone has listed the most common triggers and much helpful info. I can only wish you and your daughter good luck. They can be hard to live with.
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  • SuburbanbushbabeSuburbanbushbabe Posts: 15,402Registered Users
    Has she started menstruating? It could be hormones. I began getting migraines when I went into perimenopause and my hormone levels changed.I tolk Zomig (under the tongue) at the first sign that it was going to be a migraine and not a headache. Otherwise it didn't work.
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  • cymprenicympreni Posts: 9,609Registered Users
    My triggers are stress, caffeine withdrawal and too much sun, especially sunlight first thing in the morning. If I go out before my eyes are awake, if that makes sense, guaranteed migraine. I try to make it so that I'm awake for a good hour or so before I go out in the morning, even it's to get something from the car. Doesn't always happen of course, but a pre-emptive strike of advil and coffee usually heads it off.

    I nearly forgot about my food trigger, I've avoided them for so long, I don't even think about it anymore. I can't drink sodas similar to coke or pepsi. If I do, I'll start getting one in minutes.
  • LoloDSMLoloDSM Posts: 3,778Registered Users
    I haven't noticed any food triggers, but my biggest causes are stress (I carry tension in my right shoulder), and bright light.
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  • SpunkyCurlsSpunkyCurls Posts: 1,523Registered Users
    I've had migraines since I was 8 ... Relpax is my current lifesaver.

    Yep. I remember being in 1st grade and watching the storm clouds coming in and feeling my head pound and my eyes get those auras. So scary as a child.

    Relpax is amazing.

    ETA: Over-sleeping is also one of my triggers. I could not sleep in as a teen at all. Now, I can in moderation (not every weekend but maybe once a month)
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  • rudeechickrudeechick Posts: 6,726Registered Users
    My 13 year old son has been getting migraines since last year. Re your post: hot dogs and all deli meats contain nitrates which are a major trigger. For my son the worst triggers are exhaustion and stress. The pediatrician (and research) shows that migraines in pre-teens and tweens are not uncommon and are often outgrown. Look for family history, as they are also genetic. Turned out 2 of my sibs had them at that age as well.

    I give Motrin ASAP, put him in the dark, cold cloth on forehead etc. It seems the sonner you catch and treat the lesser the duration.

    Good luck.

    PS. I would guess that in girls in particular fluctuating/hormonal changes are a contributing factor...?
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  • alacurlalacurl Posts: 1,193Registered Users
    Over-sleeping is also one of my triggers. I could not sleep in as a teen at all. Now, I can in moderation (not every weekend but maybe once a month)

    Out-of-whack sleep cycle is one of my triggers. Getting up really early, oversleeping, or burning the candle at both ends.
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  • KurlyKaeKurlyKae Posts: 3,413Registered Users
    Jeep, 15/30 days? I don't know how you manage!

    suburban, she hasn't started menstruating yet. At 13 1/2, I'm assuming that should start any time now, but then I've been saying that for six months. (I started right before my 13 bday.)

    The darn neurologist still hasn't called me back. I called at 11:15 to add my cell # to the request for a call, that's when the receptionist bothered to mention that he wouldn't be in the office until 1:30 and will likely call me btw. patients. If I'd known that, I would have tried the pediatrician this morning. Maybe she could have gotten through to the neuro. (She did it before, when we were there in her office about the migraines last fall.)

    DD's had this migraine since Monday night. I think at this point, it's obvious that the Imitrex isn't working at this dosage (currently at 50 mg.) I think he either has to increase the dosage or try something different.
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  • KurlyKaeKurlyKae Posts: 3,413Registered Users
    The doc finally called. Said to give DD another dose of the Imitrex. One more in 2 hrs, if needed, then if that doesn't work, go to the ER for a shot. DH is going on duty as primary caregiver, if that is necessary, this child does not do well with needles.

    Please cross your fingers for us that this dose does the job!

    thanks, again, every one. We're defintely going to watch those hotdogs and deli meat. I don't think her sleepcycle was off this time, but it's a good idea to monitor it, anyway (with the epilepsy, and in general.)
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  • hazehaze Posts: 29Registered Users
    it took me a long time to figure out that my migraines were caused by blue lights. like the blue LED lights on your computer, or fluorescent blue shop signs, or the blue flashing lights on top of cop cars and snowplows. this seems to be my only trigger, but my sensitivity to the blue lights seems to depend on how tired i am, if it's that time of the month, or if i'm stressed out. i don't take anything because my migraines are never very painful, i just get crazy long auras. i have had them since i was a very small child but didn't tell anyone for a long time, because i thought they would think i'm crazy. kurlykae, i hope your daughter finds a way to comfortably manage her migraines. good luck.
  • susancnwsusancnw Posts: 1,366Registered Users
    meryn wrote: »
    medussa wrote: »
    Check labels for nitrates and preservatives such as citric acid.

    Citric acid is also in fresh fruits such as pineapple and oranges.

    Ah yes, citric acid. Lemon-lime soda is one of the worst offenders for B. He doesn't generally get headaches from hard liquor, but ALWAYS from margaritas.

    Could also be the tequila in them. I can drink the Ninfaritas at ninfa's in Houston (they use everclear) but I can't drink tequila. 1/2 of one and I am scrambling for the pain meds.

    Imitrex nasal is great stuff. Usually within 15 min...nasty taste in the back of my throat but worth it.

    MSG - we might have to look into migraine stuff for my 9 YO...her head hurts and builds until she throws up then she is fine. My migraines don't make me nauseous, for which I am so grateful. She's been tested for the sinus/head malformations...we've done food diaries, but she gets them so sledom that it's hard....only ever few months so....hard to figure out. I am hoping that a different dr will be of more help, the last one wasn't much help.

    Good luck.
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  • cymprenicympreni Posts: 9,609Registered Users
    Let me get your guys' opinion on something. I have suspicions that my 3 year old gets migraines. Being only 3 he's not exactly very able to describe his symptoms, so I'm not sure.

    He'll be sitting just sitting there, then with no warning he'll start crying, tears and all, and he tells me his head is squished. And he's a tough little boy, he didn't cry tears for stitches, so it has to be pretty painful. I give him whatever I have handy, then he lays on the couch for a while. It doesn't happen very often. I usually forget about it until the next incidence.

    I get sudden migraines sometimes myself. It didn't even occur to me that it might be that until we had one at the same time and I realized my head felt squished too.

    So what do you guys think?
  • cyndicyndi Posts: 3,341Registered Users
    cympreni wrote: »
    Let me get your guys' opinion on something. I have suspicions that my 3 year old gets migraines. Being only 3 he's not exactly very able to describe his symptoms, so I'm not sure.

    He'll be sitting just sitting there, then with no warning he'll start crying, tears and all, and he tells me his head is squished. And he's a tough little boy, he didn't cry tears for stitches, so it has to be pretty painful. I give him whatever I have handy, then he lays on the couch for a while. It doesn't happen very often. I usually forget about it until the next incidence.

    I get sudden migraines sometimes myself. It didn't even occur to me that it might be that until we had one at the same time and I realized my head felt squished too.

    So what do you guys think?

    That's a possibility, but I would also check into seizures.
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  • mrspoppersmrspoppers Posts: 7,223Registered Users
    My triggers are stress, bright sunlight in my eyes, MSG, hormones (went away when I went off the pill), certain white wines, and lack of sleep. What I've found is that it's usually a combo of triggers that does it so it's hard to pinpoint just one thing.

    I didn't have much luck with prescription medications. I usually ended up using a narcotic with imitrex or maxalt, which just made me loopy. Now I take 5 ibuprofen tablets every 6 hours, and that works better than anything else and it's less expensive.
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