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31 March 2007

Bye-bye, beloved beer..

Or, "triggers creeping out of the woodwork"

I love beer. I don't tend to over-indulge, but boy oh boy do I enjoy sitting on my screened-in porch on a warm day and slowly slugging back a cold one. I relish the thought of being at my family reunions, a fancy keg of microbrewed beer only paces away from where we sit in the gazebo--I walk over and have just half a pint more before bed. (Now as I write I feel I must acknowledge that this past summer I didn't let myself have much of this beer, even on nights when we drank more than one. I'd have a little bit of the hoppy microbrew and then switch to something less fancy and lighter, like Yeungling or, god forbid, Bud Light. I felt not-so-well if I had more than one heavy beer, and my sister, who'd once been a Migraineur herself, felt the same way. Hmm...)

But something's been happening in the last couple of months, something new and utterly unwelcome: beer has become a harsh Migraine trigger. At first I only noticed this if I imbibed a couple too many on a weekend night and woke up the next morning with a Migraine. I told myself that I deserved this, knowing all the while that know one ever deserves Migraine headache pain. But then it started to happen when I only had a couple and was far from getting that hazy beer buzz.

Earlier this week I ventured out of my self-imposed Beer Hiatus and tried to see if maybe this beer trigger was a fabrication, that maybe there were other triggers in the environment I had been unaware of at the time of those Migraine episodes. I had a couple light beers at my friends' house while staying there overnight on Tuesday. Everything was fine. Whew.

Had one--just one--on Wednesday while at another couple's house for dinner. A Corona with a lime this time. Not my favorite, but I figured it was safe. Still all clear. Thank goodness.

Last night I had three free beers at an opening downtown and was sick with Migraine by midnight. (I had paced myself ever-so-slowly, having one at 6:30-ish, one at 7, and one at 8:30.) Was it the fact that this beer was stronger in flavor and ingredients? (It was a locally-made pale ale, not a light beer as I had had earlier that week.)

Is it possible that certain types of beers are okay?

I read online once that a well-respected neurologist believes that most Migraine triggers can be traced back to food and drink intake. When people name alcohol as a trigger, he doesn't think all alcohol needs to be cut. Apparently some clear alcohols such as vodka are safe for some.

I don't know if I want to experiment much more, at least for the time being, but if anyone has any feedback he or she'd be interested in posting, I'm all ears.

Thankful to be feeling up to par again, hours later,
me...

36 comments:

The Migraineur said...

Oh, that sucks for you. Someone told me, "When you find your trigger, it will almost certainly be the thing you enjoy most."

I take issue with the notion that all triggers are food or drink related, though. Mine are almost certainly losing sleep and skipping meals.

Music said...

I'm going through the same thing right now. Either drink crappy light beer (and only 3 max of those) or suffer a headache. There is no rhyme or reason to the types of beers.

I've thought of switching to Vodka for a drink but I LOVE beer.

Curious, do you have bee allergies? Just found out last year that I was and was wondering if it was a histamine thing and related to beer.

the migraine girl said...

I haven't had a bee sting in recent years, at least that I can recall. I was stung at least two or three times a summer as a child and never had any out-of-the-ordinary reactions. Hmm... Thanks for bringing that up, though--that's an interesting thing to think about.

Anonymous said...

I also get bad migrene from beer. I don't get migrene from Stella Altois, Corona specially imports.

Anonymous said...

it happens to me too, i used to drink every once in a while a huge jar of beer with lime and salt, but now with just a bottle i start feeling ill with a headache before i get the buzz. It also happened with chocolate, i love chocolate, but lately, i eat half a package of m&m's(those are the worse) and i get the headache, and let's not talk about taking readbull or coca-cola, the next day im nauseus and my head feels like a boulder.

Anonymous said...

Its true...beer will trigger migraines. Lite Beers would do it to me all the time, it could be the harps in the brew that trigger the migraines, my neurologist suggest drinking Ales which do not contains harps. You just need to be selective, Bass Ale, Sam Adams, etc...these are the precription beers

Erin said...

I have been suffering from migraines since I was 18. I am now 28. 10 years, many different prescriptions, hospital visits, work missed, flaking out on plans, days in the dark, sunglasses at my desk b/c of the flouresent lights, etc. Anyway, I haven't found my triggers b/c no matter how much I diary, nothing is similar from one migraine to the next. The only thing I have found, like you, is that just recently beer seems to give me a headache. Just one beer, way before the buzz, I get a migraine. I've tried different kinds - microbrews, cheap light beers, local beers, etc - and have found that they all hurt. I'm not much of a hard liquor drinker so I don't know what to turn to. I've tried red wine and that kind of hurts too, so I'm on to white wine now. I was surfing the web trying to find out why I get these migraines from beer and was hoping to find a solution, but instead I found people who share my pain. I guess it's good to know I'm know alone, but I'm going to continue searching to see if anyone has any answers.

linktoevj said...

great blog... just found it. anyway, i've been having lots of trouble with alcohol and migraines. it seems that red wine was first to trigger them, then dark booze (bourbon, etc), dark beer, then white whine, then light beer, and now all i can drink is vodka. (i'll skip details of the experimental process which led to this conclusion) i had one newcastle last night and have been sick with a throbbing eyeball headache all day (though i guess i don't know for sure that it was the beer). well, thought i would share. every bit of info helps.

Anonymous said...

I am so upset to find that my favorite beverage(Beer) is now the trigger to the worst pain. I did not have this trigger for a long time. I also stay clear of red wine, it has always given me trouble. My triggers also include lack of sleep and missing meals. It seems the older I get the more often this triggers effect me. After just one or two beers I will start feeling the headache. It doesn't always turn into a migraine, but it is still a headache. I will change over to drinking Cape Cods.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am yet another person who has beer for a trigger for migraine. I have had migraines since I was a little girl and am now 25. On new years eve I had about 3 beers before I felt sick. I woke up to a headache which turned into a migraine lasting over 48 hours. I thought this was a freak thing. However, I went out for drinks last night and had 2 beers and this morning I am well on my way to a horrible migraine. I've already taken extra strength tylenol and imitrex. Neither has taken away the sharp, stabbing, throbbing pain. This happened on NYE as well. The headache lasted for over 48hours because nothing would take it away.

HeadacheGal said...

Helpful blog! I'm 31 and still suffer with migraines. I've learned that certian foods/drinks that contained nitrates such as hot dogs, ham, pepperoni, balogna, bacon and red wine all triggered mine. Also, anything with caffeine like sodas or candy (dark chocolate especially) triggered them as well. Now I drink decaffinated sodas and vodka with sprite. I sure miss the beer though!!

Lauren said...

I, too, have found that my beloved alcohol is my worst trigger. Red wine is out forever. Most whites are out, Riesling has been my savior although very sweet. Vodka is OK, all other liquors have been blacklisted. I have just heard that wheat-free beer might be a solution. I will experiment and get back to you.
http://www.wheat-free.org/wheat-gluten-free-beer.html

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments. I've observed the beer-migraine connection for about the last two years. Sometimes these headaches are severe...sometimes just nagging. I'm not overly particular about one beer versus another when ordering, but I wish, over the years that I had been. So here's what I drank last night for the first time. A Saranac Black Forest...a Bavarian Style Beer. Got my butt kicked! I only drank about 2/3 of it. But about 3 hours later, I woke with a Migraine...gone by morning after a couple of Tylenol, so I can really feel for you peeps who have them lasting a day or two! :(
Also, I had a couple of Coronas a couple of weeks back and I can't attribute NEAR the same reaction to it. So I'm wondering if some of the more beer adepts out there can perhaps connect some dots out there and tell me why I can skip thru Mexico but get crushed in the Black Forest of Bavaria (still love BMW, tho). Perhaps this blog can begin to correlate what brews bring out the biggest bang for our bucks...maybe there's a common element or two in all this that can help us successfully navigate our way thru the "maize"?

Anonymous said...

I've been experiencing this for several years now and thought I was crazy. I new red wine would trigger this in me but why oh why beer? I tend to like the dark stuff, i.e. Guiness and it just about kills me within an hour or two. Interestingly I had developed an affinity for vodka and hvae noticed that it doesn't have the same migraine inducing effect. Oh well... at least I'm not alone!

Sandra said...

Growing up I never had to deal with headaches, let alone a full blown migraine. Since May however, I've been slammed by several. I've been to the doctors/hospital several times with all of it. I attend college in a small town known for their fabulous microbrewery beers. I can drink several Michelob Ultra and be plenty fine the next day- but two or even one of the lightest microbrew they can offer just about kills me. At first I blamed myself for being so much of a lush to get to the point of a hangover, but it honestly doesn't not take much. I'll drink the crappy light beer if it means I can function for the two days that follow... but I'm in agreement that is sucks all the same.

Anonymous said...

I have similar comments. Lighter beer good, darker beer bad (for migraines)

Drink 2-3 Corona's or similar, next day I'm fine. Drink one or two Ale's, eyeball headache lasting sometimes DAYS.

Here's my "research"
Modelo Negra is ok.
Corona is ok.
Brand "x" light is ok
Fat Tire = eyeball headache
Sierra Nevada Pale= eyeball
Mack & Jack = eyeball headache, but ALMOST worth it. (just found this beer in Seattle)

Hate to say it, but I wish my tax dollars would do a study on this!

Now, who can tell me best way to get rid of a migrane? Advil,Tylenol concoction + several hot showers is my only salvation.

Wichi Woman said...

I just found your website. I am glad you posted this, makes me feel not so alone! I went out last night and had 3 beers over the course of 2+ hours. Then about 3 hours later, bam, migraine!! For a while there if I kept my intake less than 3 beers I was ok, but lately I am not sure that is true. I dislike dark ales so I don't know about those for me, but I have tried, Mic Ultra, Corona, Sam Adams and now Abita all give me a migraine. This sucks!

Anonymous said...

the migraines could be triggered by the yeast in the beer. sinus blockage is my problem and beer, wine and cheese seem to trigger the migraines. Check out www.sinusinfectiondiscovery.com before the 22 september as there is a promo on. Ive ordered the treatment and will let you know how it goes.

manuraj said...

i think .. smoking can also be a reason , a regular cigarette smoked in the sun may be one of the reasons ... marijuana for sure will be ..and any aciditic food can trigger a migrane attack.. by the way almost everything one likes to eat .. from grains to meat ....is aciditic , vegatables is the alkaline solution ...well .. were i come from ...we just cant live on vegetables itself ..so .. u see ...even i am still looking for a solution

keef66 said...

Just had a eureka moment as I think I have identified a link between at least two attacks. Both during business trips to Germany and on each occasion the previous evening I'd drunk a couple of wheat beers, and had a shot of grappa after the meal. Fatal combination!

Leah said...

Thank you for posting this! I am a beer-lover as well. In University, I consumed it in mass amounts, then after graduation in more moderate amounts with the typical hangover consequences. The last two times I have drank beer I have had no more than three beers each time and the following day I develop a severe migraine about 5:00pm. Awful! As others have said in the comments, it's nice to know that I am not alone.
I already miss beer, though.

Kathleen said...

Hey thanks for the blog. I've been a Migraineur (sp?) since the age of 16 (I'm 26 now) I had two beers a Corona and NocheBuena (I live in Mexico) last night, and by midnight the migraine had started. I woke up this morning with awful pain. I guess I just have to accept the fact I cannot drink. sigh.

Anonymous said...

I am starting to think it is the enzymes they put in Light beer that cause migraines.

Seriously

Rud6 said...

I have been experiencing much of the same thing with beer. I just graduated college and while I was in college I drank my fair share. I have had migraines since 3rd grade but have never been able to put a figure on a trigger. Once I got settled in with my job I started to have 2 or so migraines and week. I thought maybe I was stressed out but I know that wasn’t it, I was way more stressed in college. I then started to notice that if I drank wheat beer, like clock work I would have a migraine the next day. I stopped drinking wheat beer about 2 months ago but now the trigger has progressed to all beer. I just went on a trip last weekend to stay with so college friends and couldn’t escape a migraine and last night was the last straw. I had one Bud light at 10pm and had a migraine by 11pm. I have never had a migraine that late in the night in my life. I don’t have a problem with liquor that I know of but I’m going to do some research on that.

Dani said...

I feel your pain. I've been getting migraines since I was 16. They were sporadic at the time, but after a back injury (could be coincidence)I get them all the time. I stay away from cheese, chocolate,and red wine per recommendations. However, as I have begun to notice, any beer, wine, rum, vodka(the worst) in any increment of more than one glass is trouble for sure. I live on a strict regimen of medications, attack pills (frova works best for me) dr appointments, mri's, and physical therapy. So far there is no end in sight. I definitely feel for you as I am too the point that if I miss or get too much sleep, don't eat fast enough, drink, or work too long without a day off I am down for sure. I end up with a week stretch cycle of migraine pre, peak, and post that my dr has to end by knocking me out. Its hard because coworkers think its an excuse and I'm faking it. The alcohol trigger was gradual, but my advice (passed down from my aunt-hereditary these are)stay away from all alcohol cause it only gets worse.

CJonthehill said...

What a great blog! I was doing a search this morning after last night's beer-migraine episode. I had one...only one....oatmeal porter beer. It was yummy but I sure paid the price! This hasn't happened before with my usual fare..Corona with lime. Guess there'll be no more dark beer for me...boo! Also, this migraine was very hard to relieve. Normally an imitrex/motrin or frova/motrin and I get some relief. Last night, nothing worked well. Thanks for this blog, at least I know I'm not alone!
CJ

Anonymous said...

This is a great blog, and it is nice to know I am not the only one with this issue. I learned a while ago that wheat beer and anything unfiltered gives me awful migraines. I love Boulevard Wheat out of Kansas City but can no longer drink it. I tried Sam Adams Summer Ale the other night and was very sick the next morning. I find that sticking to Bud Light helps, even though it is not nearly as delicious. Vodka seems to be ok as well. Red wine and I do not get along.

uffa said...

I've recently had issues with beer and migraine as I'm getting older (30). I feel that wheat beer may work alright... Such as Blue Moon or Franziskaner. One beer that seems to be fine for me, but is hard to find is Schneider Organic Edel-Weise (has a green label). Otherwise i try to stick to tequila or sake. I'm not sure what the the ingredients are that cause the trigger in beer, but I look for the hefeweizen

themigrainegirl said...

Funny how wheat beers are a major trigger for some and the beer lover's only respite for others! I've been drinking beer a bit more lately (1-2 a week, max) with few side effects; still haven't figured out for sure which types of beers affect me negatively.

Hold the Bud Light! said...

Thanks for this blog and glad to know I am not alone. I'm a 42 year old female who has suffered from migraines most of my adult life. One of the biggest triggers I've found is Bud Light! It's deadly to me. I like beer too, but lately I've been having more and more brands trigger migraines as well as most white wines. I don't seem to have a problem with Blue Moon (wheat beer), but recently had 1/2 a pint of a local brew pale ale and it was murder. Tequila is also another big trigger for me too. So I guess if I want to enjoy myself it's gonna have to be something with Vodka in it(I've never had a problem with this).

Other triggers I've found for me are lack of sleep, skipping meals, hormonal and bright sunlight. I know there can be multiple triggers for most migraineurs and some are often found in combination. My mother used to get migraines and her trigger was MSG (Monosodium Glutemate). Oddly enough this was never a trigger for me. And yes, they certainly are herditary and tend to affect more females than males.

Anonymous said...

Hello, for me, if I have 1-4 beers I feel the pain coming on- which will lead to a migraine. Usually after 4 the pressure comes off and then I am fine and my head goes back to normal. In the first couple beers I feel my eyes start to get effected, and then my scalp gets sensitive. The funny thing is.... if I stop here than it will 100% turn into a full out migraine- and I will be nonfunctional- but if I have lets say 2 more, I am fine the rest of the night.

Anonymous said...

LOVE this post! I think everyone just has to find their own triggers unfortunately... it's all trial and error. Recently I can't even touch beer within a 20ft radius without being under migraine lock down for 24 plus hours. Light or Dark beer, it's all bad news. Good bye my beloved Newcastle... But then again I can drink red wine, so go figure! My Doctor prescribed me 'Frova' and it's my saving grace, and has been for many years...

Anonymous said...

I had 2 pale ale micro brews at 2:00 pm. By 8:00 PM severe head pain top of head, nausea, vomitting cycle for 5 hours.

Anonymous said...

Same with me I had 2 mirror pond pale ale results bad headache, top of head throbbing vomitting about 4 hours after I drank them.

Anonymous said...

i've had migraines since i was a kid, but i recently developed an aspirin sensitivity which seems component to the beer/wine trigger for me. Beer and wine are very high in salicylate (aspirin)

Di said...

Hi - I just discovered your blog while researching "beer migraines." I've recently discovered that beer (even one, of any sort) triggers a major migraine attack - stabbing pain, nausea and auras.

Ugh. And I love beer. Boo.

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