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Reader's Mail: Wheat Allergy Can Be a Headache Trigger

Q. Can headaches be a symptom of a wheat allergy? I know it’s not usually listed as a food trigger, but I have started getting more frequent headaches after doing really well for a long time. The only thing I can think of that’s different in my diet is that I started snacking on a lot of wheat crackers and eating more bread. Nothing else in my life, including stress, exercise, sleep, work, or medications, has changed.

A. There is small population of migraine sufferers that report wheat products as one of their migraine triggers. If you recognize a trigger, make every effort to avoid or eliminate it from your diet.

Wheat, or gluten allergy, is one of the causes of celiac disease. Patients with celiac disease have an increased propensity of having migraines, too. However, a strict gluten-free diet does not always eliminate or reduce the frequency of headaches.

Ask your healthcare professional to give you a test for gluten sensitivity and if you are positive, then you should be on a strict diet regardless of your headaches.

George Urban, M.D.
Diamond Headache Clinic
Chicago, IL

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