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Study: Celiac Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Sufferers More Likely to Get Migraines

The health struggles for people with celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease could be even more serious than doctors thought. Research shows these two groups of people with those diseases are more likely to suffer from migraine headaches.

For many years, medical scientists in Europe have believed there is a connection between the digestive tract and the brain. However now, for the first time, American researchers have linked celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease with migraines.

Digestive Disorders and the Link to Migraines

Researchers at the Neurological Institute at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City took a detailed history of over 700 people and used a four-page questionnaire to determine if the participants had any problems with their digestive tract, with celiac disease, and with migraine headaches. They also looked at lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, coffee habits, and wheat consumption.

Here’s what they found:

  • Chronic headaches were reported by 56% of participants sensitive to gluten and 30% of those with celiac disease.
  • 23% of people with other inflammatory bowel diseases experience headaches.
  • 14% of the controlled group reported getting severe headaches.

Why the Connection?

The researchers theorize that patients with inflammatory bowel disease and those with celiac disease have a “generalized inflammatory response” — meaning the whole body, including the brain, is affected by inflammation, thus leading to the headaches.

Experts also speculate that antibodies in celiac disease could be attacking the brain cells that cover the nervous system, and therefore, headaches occur.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that makes a person super-sensitive to gluten and causes various digestive problems. About 1% of the American population suffers from celiac disease. People with this condition are unable to enjoy foods that contain wheat gluten.

Get Treatment for Headaches and Migraines

Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.