Celiac Disease And Migraines

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

When you’re celiac it often be a challenge to figure out which symptoms are celiac related and which are not. I know that whenever I have something weird going on with my body, whether it be an itchy head, achy muscles or a headache I instantly wonder if gluten is the culprit. The alternative is of course that my itchy head is from spending too long in the sun, my achy muscles are the result of a tough run and my headache is due to not drinking enough water. My mind doesn’t think of these things first though. It first considers whether or not I may have been contaminated by gluten or if in some other way it’s related to the fact that I have celiac disease.

A new study presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Nuerology finds that those of us with celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease or gluten sensitivity may actually be more susceptible to migraines. So if you’re a celiac and you suffer from migraines it sounds like they really could be related.

The Columbia University Medical Center in New York studied 502 patients, 188 with celiac disease, 111 with inflammatory bowel disease, 25 with gluten sensitivity and 178 control subjects. Each of these patients completed a survey which included details on their medical history, medications, alcohol/caffeine/drug use, when and how they were diagnosed with celiac/IBD/GS, how long they have been on a gluten free diet and then what type and how often they suffer from headaches.

Results showed that 30% of the celiacs, 56% of the gluten sensitive, 23% of the IBD and just 14% of the control patients reported suffering from chronic headaches.

After adjustment for confounding variables, celiac, IBD and GS patients all had an increased prevalence of migraines in comparison to the control patients.
One of the lead researchers said “Our findings suggest that migraine is a common neurologic manifestation in celiac disease, GS, and IBD,” the authors write. “Future interventional studies should screen migraine patients for celiac disease, particularly those with treatment-resistant headaches.”
Interesting. Perhaps less celiacs will go undiagnosed if doctor’s view migraines as a possible symptom.
Do you suffer from headaches or migraines?


5 thoughts on “Celiac Disease And Migraines”

  1. This is helpful information! Wish this information was available 15 years ago when I first started getting migraines… and I was only just diagnosed with celiac 2 years ago.

  2. My daughter suffered from migraines during her teen years. It got to the point where she was getting severe, incapacitating, migraines every week, causing her to miss school, sporting events, etc. She was seeing a neurologist (to no avail), and at the same time, she started having bad stomach pains. She was finally diagnosed with Celiac Disease (it took about 2 years of doctors visits and various tests to get diagnosed). Within a week of starting her gluten-free diet, her migraines disappeared, and I’m happy to report that she hasn’t had a migraine for 5 or 6 years.

  3. This is very interesting. I am a celiac and every so often I will have two or three days of terrible migraines. I wonder if I have unknowingly glutenized myself when this happens?

  4. I was diagnosed with Celiac three years ago and prior to that I had migraines that never really went away. After I started the gluten free diet my headaches got more under control. I still get an occasional migraine but I have been noticing if I eat two or three bananas a day it helps keep my migraines away. This was a fluke thing that I stumbled on as I love to eat a bananas. They are easy to take with and quick snacks. After a few times of being out of bananas and right after that having headaches I started to associate the bananas and headaches to one another. Not sure why they help but I figure if this works I will keep my counter stocked with bananas. I also get a two day migraine whenever I have been contaminated and those even the bananas cant stop.

  5. Banana’s give me migraine headaches. I used to be able to eat 2 bananas daily. Not any more.

    Cheese that is orange in color, such as Tillimock cheese, Chedar Cheese, has to be melted for me, then I don’t get a migraine. If it is not melted as in a cold cheese sandwich, then I get sick.


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