When you have a headache after you eat a meal, you’re not alone. Lots of people have this problem. There are numerous causes for these headaches, and they differ in their frequency and intensity.
Once you or your physician determines the cause of your headaches, you can treat them with medications or changes in diet or your environment. This article will help you in understanding what contributes to a headache after eating, and how you can cope with them.
Headaches that occur after eating specific foods may be symptomatic of various medical conditions. You may also experience other symptoms at the same time. Avoiding trigger foods will help. In some cases, though, you’ll need to consult your physician for proper diagnosing and treatment.
Headaches can be related to a number of different disorders. They could be related to a poor overall lifestyle, which can lead to using chemical substances, stress or sleep deprivation.
Some foods may trigger a throbbing or dull pain, including some sweet or salty foods. It isn’t always the food at fault; it may just be exacerbating a medical issue. If you experience a headache frequently after eating, this article can be helpful. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your doctor.
What Causes Headache after Eating?
Here are some triggers of headaches that occur after you eat:
This medical condition is characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood. This could trigger a headache if you eat something sweet. Eating foods with excess sugars can cause sudden rises in your levels of blood sugar. This triggers your body to release the hormone insulin.
Insulin will increase the absorbing of sugar into your body’s cells, which results in a lowering of your levels of blood sugar. If large insulin amounts are released as a response to eating too much sugar, this results in a sugar crash. When this occurs, the brain won’t receive its proper dose of sugar.
This issue will cause your body to send more blood to your brain, leading to the dilation or expansion of the brain’s blood vessels. This can trigger a headache after eating. It also causes higher blood pressure, which can lead to a more throbbing type of headache.
To avoid these headaches, try to avoid eating too many sugary foods. This is doubly true if you have diabetes or high blood sugar. Get medical advice from your physician or another medical health professional for treating diabetes, since it causes many complications for your overall health.
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. It commonly manifests itself in the occurrence of a headache after eating foods that contain high amounts of salt. If you have high blood pressure, then high salt intake may cause you to experience headaches.
Your kidneys normally handle how much salt can enter the bloodstream. If you eat too much salt, they may be unable to handle all the excess salt, which causes more water to be drawn to the bloodstream. That causes blood volume to increase. This increase in your blood pressure can lead to having headaches after you eat.
Try to eliminate high salt foods from your diet if you have high blood pressure. Be sure that you speak with your physician about the proper treatment of hypertension.
- Gastric Reflux Disease
If you eat fried and spicy foods, it typically increases the amount of acid your stomach produces. Sometimes this acid can seep back upward into your esophagus, in the direction of your throat. This is called acid reflux. It may often be accompanied by coughing, chest discomfort, coughing, heartburn and headache after eating.
In order to avoid those symptoms, try not to eat sour, fatty or spicy foods, and lower your intake of carbonated and alcoholic beverages. It’s also important to stop smoking. That is also a trigger for acid reflux.
These headaches cause throbbing sensations in the head. They may occur only on one side of your head, and they can be triggered by eating certain foods.
Some foods that are known to trigger migraines include citrus fruits, bananas, chicken liver, cured meats, chocolate, sour cream, blue cheese, yogurt and buttermilk. It’s also a good idea to stay away from foods with many additives.
Migraines can include nausea or vomiting, increased light sensitivity and lightheadedness. If you have these symptoms in addition to a headache after eating, migraines may be to blame.
- Food Intolerance
Some people can’t tolerate lactose in the foods they eat. This includes milk products. Some are sensitive to gluten, which includes foods that have wheat, rye or barley in them. If you have an intolerance and eat these foods, you may experience reactions like headaches, diarrhea and vomiting.
If you avoid foods with lactose or gluten, this prevents most food intolerance symptoms, unless you have an intolerance to other food types. You need to learn what foods to substitute for foods you cannot eat, so you won’t have a nutrient deficiency. It’s important to still eat foods that contain vitamins, minerals and protein.
- Food Allergies
Your body’s immune system may respond to some foods it thinks are threats to your body. It does this by releasing histamines into your bloodstream. This is an allergic response, and it causes symptoms like lightheadedness, abdominal cramps, wheezing, runny nose, hives and facial swelling, as well as headaches.
Allergies may sometimes trigger life-threatening reactions. That’s why it’s best if you avoid any foods that trigger your allergy attacks. You should also have an epi-pen or other medication with you, in case you experience severe reactions. If you have difficulty swallowing or breathing, seek immediate medical help.
When should you See your Doctor?
A headache after eating may be largely harmless, if you only have one occasionally. If it is severe, though, or if you begin to experience them more frequently, consult with your physician.
Other times you need to schedule a visit with your doctor include distress from your headaches, disruption of your normal activities and failing to get relief from OTC drugs.
Call 911 or have someone take you to the emergency room if you have a sudden, severe headache, or if you also experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Stiff neck
- Unclear speech
- Numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body
- Fever higher than 102F
- Difficulty in speaking
- Changes in vision
- Nausea & vomiting that isn’t the result of a hangover
- Difficulty walking