Have you ever experienced a migraine? Not just a headache – but a full blown thunderclap inside your head, with terrible nausea and hypersensitivity to light and sound to boot? Chances are that if you have experienced a migraine in the past, then you have already assessed the need to seek relief with board-certified internist Dr. Ishan Gunawardene. If not, it’s important to do so as soon as possible to make sure that the issue is not something more serious, and so that we can provide you with the relief you seek so your quality of life no longer suffers.
While medications and therapies can definitely help to stave off extremely painful migraines, it’s also important to recognize potential triggers in order to either avoid or prepare for them. Certain triggers are obvious, such as stress, changes in barometric pressure, physical exertion, and sleep imbalance. Less obvious are certain foods and medications that may overreact during digestion due to some very helpful and naturally occurring bacteria that we all carry around in our guts.
Studies show that there is a correlation between migraines and a higher than normal volume of a certain bacteria found in your gut and mouth. The bacteria break down nitrates into nitric oxide (NO), which regulates blood flow and oxygen release to the blood cells and aids the immune system by fighting off parasitic organisms.
However, people who suffer from migraines contain a much higher amount of these nitrate-modifying bacteria in their bodies, which means that more NO is produced than normal. As a result, the higher volume of NO could be what causes these migraines to occur.
Since the bacteria break down nitrates into NO, avoiding certain foods and medications that have a high nitrate content may help to prevent the triggering of a migraine. Nitrates can be found in processed meats like bacon, leafy vegetables like arugula and spinach, wine, and chocolate.
Medications that contain nitrates are nitroglycerin (Nitrostat and Rectiv), isosorbide dinitrate (Dilatrate-SR), and nitroprusside (Nipride). These are all vasodilators whose purpose is to lower blood pressure through widening your blood vessels. Too much nitric oxide could cause your blood pressure to drop too much, leading to a higher risk of stroke or heart attack, and potentially to a migraine based on new research.
Do you suffer from chronic migraines? Get the relief you need as soon as you need it. Our two convenient locations in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach are open Monday – Thursday, 9 am – 5 pm and Fridays, 9 am – 12:30 pm. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Gunawardene online or by calling (561) 434-1935.
Do you suffer from migraines? What triggers have you faced before? What do you do to prevent or cope with a migraine?