The Real Culprit Behind Childhood Migraines – Food Allergies and Sensitivities

The Real Culprit Behind Childhood Migraines

Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/3013714061

Does your child suffer from migraines on a regular basis? It can be frustrating to take your sick child to the doctor to come home with a prescription in hand, and yet no answers as to the cause of these many times debilitating headaches. There are many different reasons a person can get migraines– but the one that is most often overlooked is food allergies.

Food allergies or sensitivities can be the cause of many ailments, including fatigue, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and muscular pain, like that associated with fibromyalgia. Your doctor can do testing to rule out food allergy, but the best way to pinpoint migraine triggers is to monitor food intake and symptoms at home.

The first thing you can do is start a simple food log. Write down what your child eats each day and any migraine symptoms that occur. You can usually pinpoint triggers very quickly this way.

The second item, and what I recommend to my clients, is to do an Elimination Diet. In an Elimination Diet you simplify the child’s diet to cut out the major allergens: Wheat & gluten (a protein contained in wheat, rye & barley), corn, dairy, eggs, peanuts, soy, sugar and artificial colors & preservatives. (Artificial sweeteners are also known to cause migraines; however, I do not recommend anyone ingest these – especially growing children.)

Once you have pinpointed the cause of the migraines you can let your doctor know. He or she might decide to follow up with some testing, but allergy testing might turn out negative. That’s ok. Once you know that something has a negative effect on your child, it’s up to you to continue to keep them away from the offending item and to educate your child about it too.

Elimination Diet

Take the following foods out of the child’s diet for 3-4 weeks:

Introduce one food at a time, every 4-5 days

Monitor for symptoms

Consult with your doctor on any findings that occur. (If, for instance, you find that dairy or gluten triggers any sort of symptom from your child, you will want your physician to know this, as there are many medications that contain these items.)

One other side note I would like to say about children is this: They are open and far more in tune with their body than you might realize. If a child says that a particular food bothers their stomach, or just makes them feel “icky”, then listen to them. When it comes to food allergies or sensitivities, take a look at foods that your child might crave. Especially in the forms of gluten (most especially in highly-processed foods), dairy and sugar, which, when eaten consistently, raise blood sugar levels very high, the body then craves them more when blood sugar levels drop.

Looking at your child’s migraine headaches in a more holistic way and understanding how the body systems work together can help you ease their pain, and hopefully, teach them how to prevent future occurrences from happening.

Gina Wieboldt is Certified Holistic Health Coach accredited from Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She’s also a mom and blogger. Read more about her at http://goodlifehealthcoaching.com

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