Sunday, June 24, 2007

Is Chocolate Evil?


When I first got my migraines, my doctor told me to cut out all chocolate, so I did, which was a horrible task because I truly loved chocolate. For me any chocolate would do from the expensive stuff to the cheapest foiled wrapped Easter eggs from the drugstore.

Then a friend who has migraines said she had been trying chocolate during a migraine attack and it didn’t make it much worse. She said the expensive stuff seems to bother her least.

Recently, I’ve been trying pieces of Godiva during bad spells. The pain and duration of the migraine seems the same, so it makes me wonder how much chocolate is really affecting me.

Yesterday, I went to Krispy Kreme Donuts with a friend, and I spied a chocolate sour cream glazed donut. My head wasn’t hurting horribly, so I decided to try it. How much chocolate could really be in there anyway? After I ate, it didn’t make my head hurt worse, so I figured it was a positive experiment.

Then I had got carried away. Last night, I was at a campfire and smore’s were being made. I decided to try one. It was beyond yummy, but an hour later, kapow! Big head pain city!

So the Migraine Chick jury is still out on chocolate. Is it evil for migraine girls or not?

12 comments:

Marie said...

I went to a lecture held by a neurologist who was a migraines expert, and he said it's a myth that chocolate causes migraines. What seems to be a fact though is that many patients seem to get a craving for chocolate during the first phase of migraines, so they will think it caused the migraines but actually it was already too late.

htcwp said...

Pediatricians actually use sweetened water, when infants have to have something painful done, for example, a blood-draw. The sugar supposedly releases endorphines... hence, again supposedly, less pain.

So perhaps chocolate works in this way.

Chocolate also has caffeine, which helps some headaches. ?migraines too?
howtocopewithpain.org/blog

catmum said...

My experience is that it is how the chocolate is processed, more than the chocolate itself. I definitely will get a migraine from cocoa, or dutch processed chocolate. If I can find really good, organic 70% or higher percentage, and eat moderately: no problem

Joanna said...

hi there :-) I even gave up chocolate for a tiny bit of time to see if it affected my headache (chronic daily) but sure enough, no change. I did the whole gluten-free diet too, but again, no change.

P.S. I was tagged in my journal to come up with 6 weird/random things about myself, and then tag 6 others to do the same. So, I'm tagging you :-)

Nanner said...

Hmmm, interesting comments, because I haven't been able to decide if chocolate precipitates a headache or not. I know sometimes I can 'get away with it'. Other times I wake up the next AM with a headache, but would I have anyway?? That's the million $ question! I know that 1 (big) glass of white wine last evening made me wake up with a killer one at 4 this am!

Emily said...

well, it's different for everyone. but for ME, chocolate invariably triggers a migraine. i just stay far away from it. :)

Kerrie Smyres said...

I've agree with Marie. It's usually a case of false attribution.

Also, a little known symptom of migraine is that people have food cravings before a migraine, particularly for carbohydrates. The sugar qualifies chocolate as a carb. Also, if chocolate is something you crave in general, it would make sense that you crave it more before a migraine.

Marshmallows have MSG, so that could be the problem with the s'mores. Or maybe you were going to get a migraine no matter what you ate.

In any case, I'm sorry you had a killer migraine. I hope you're doing better.

Migraineur said...

Reading this post and its comments with great interest.

I don't mean to promote myself here, but just a few days ago I wrote a blog entry about food triggers.

I love Marie's and Kerrie's ideas about false attribution. I had a PMS episode followed by a migraine episode a few weeks ago that was extremely disturbing, so disturbing that it's still hard to write about it. But I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say I must've eaten 3,000 to 3,500 calories during the prodrome. My stomach was distended, but I still felt hungry. Later that week I read in Oliver Sacks' book Migraine that overeating is often a symptom of impending migraine.

Dr. Doug said...

It's well known that caffeine withdrawal can trigger a migraine, while consuming caffeine can abort a migraine. I suspect an ingredient in chocolate works the same way. If you can't completely avoid chocolate, try eating chocolate (and/or caffeine) to abort a migraine. Taking it during the aura phase is most likely to work. I suspect that dark chocolate is going to be more effective.

Itzmee said...

well....I did the whole no chocolate routine and stuff and found it sucks bigtime....chocolate during a migraine session actually makes me feel much better....psychologically or i dunno wot but it sure helps....that and coke....

Anonymous said...

hi just had my migraine today and as usual I ate chocolate, and it didn't hurt so much anymore. It's more of a bitter tasting chocolate...than sweet.

Anthea said...

I used to suffer migraines that disabled me for days.. would have bad years and good years when I had no migraines at all, and I ate chocolate every day. They seemed to be post- tress related rather than food related. Then I had a 'healing experience' in which I was challenged to give up chocolate and get proper sleep. Which I did.

18 years on I have not had a single migraine in that time.

Until a few days ago... when I started to feel like I had just come through a bad migraine. I've noticed some meal replacement bards I've been eating have got some cocoa butter in - and am wondering if that has built up in my system and is causing me a problem again.