Migraine Sugar Craving and Sugar Withdrawal Headache

What does your sugar cravings mean and is it a migraine trigger?

One of the first signs, for me, that a migraine attack is coming is my migraine sugar craving. I have a lot of good habits that I follow every day to manage migraine.  If I ignore the things I do to live preventively, I would probably be bedridden permanently.  The list goes on and changes constantly but I’m diligent and try really hard.  With all the healthy things I do, there is one bad habit that I CAN NOT break.  It is my addiction to sugar.  I’ve read how bad it is, I know how fat it makes me but I just don’t care. Well, I do care, but the sugar withdrawal headache makes me resistant.  I’m addicted to sugar and get sugar withdrawal headaches. Anyone who knows me knows this is a struggle for me.

What your sugar cravings are trying to tell you

My father-in-law has bought me shirts that say, “I’m embarrassed at what I did for a Klondike bar” and “I run because I really, really, like dessert.”   He’s also gotten me “Mama needs a cocktail.”  All of the above are migraine triggers but we all need to pick and choose our battles, right?   It’s the truth.  Although I can’t run much anymore due to migraine, I work out, partly, because I know my day will end with massive amounts of sugar.  I know for a fact that M&Ms  give me more frequent migraine attacks but it does not stop me.

Migraine cravings are so confusing for me. Is food a trigger? Are cravings a symptom? Do I have cravings after a migraine in the prodrome phase? Food is so complicated when it comes to migraine. I can’t live with it and definitely can’t live without it.

migraine and sugar

Does Chocolate Trigger a Migraine Attack?

I have an addiction to sugar.   Sugar seems to be a trigger, but the more I have documented my cravings, the more I have come to realize the cravings are a symptom of my migraine. I crave chocolate before a migraine.  Cravings for sugar and eating distract my mind from the impending doom….migraine hell.    I used to eat dessert then woke up with a migraine attack thinking the chocolate was my trigger.  The more research I’ve done, the more I have come to find out that cravings before a migraine are not the trigger but the symptom for what is coming. Everyone is different and these are all lessons I’ve learned over my long relationship with migraine.

What does your sugar cravings mean and is it a migraine trigger?

Sugar Withdrawal Headache

Although sugar doesn’t seem to be a direct trigger, sugar withdrawal headache is. Because of my addiction to sugar, I get sugar withdrawal headaches which makes it difficult to quit. A drop in blood sugar or sudden rise usually triggers a migraine attack for me. I need to be cautious not to drink too much coffee or eat too much sugar in order to keep my body consistent. Large increases drop, or changes in blood sugar give me a headache. By gradually reducing my sugar consumption, I hope to lessen migraine symptoms.

sugar withdrawal headache

Living with Migraine

Yet again, I’m not alone, I’m not crazy, I’m just living with migraine.  I’m either feeling the effects of a migraine coming, a migraine in full force, or come down after a migraine.  And the cycle continues.

During an attack, I mostly dry heave and am so nauseous I have to force myself to eat.  After an attack, my body is weak and cautious with what I put into it.  But before a migraine attack, it’s total chocolate and sometimes salty food extravaganza.  I understand that I should be fueling myself with anti-inflammatory foods and things that will prevent an attack.  Understanding what my body needs and what my body craves is a mental battle.

I already have given up alcohol and many foods so when I crave chocolate I eat it.  Battling my thoughts about food while knowing that my body will be facing physical pain soon is something I don’t want to do.  I am gentle with myself.  If I want to eat a bag of candy, I do.  I have never been much of a guilty eater.  I love food too much to be sad about what I ate.  I make choices with my foods and give into my cravings.  Deep breathes, some dark chocolate, and some peace before my migraine takes me away.

Migraine Sugar Craving

I have had more than one passionate conversation about how much I love M&Ms, the different types, and how a diet coke with them is like euphoria for me.  I look forward to each holiday so I can have seasonal types.  Recently, I heard on the radio that M&Ms are the second most addictive food.  I don’t remember what the first one was because they had me at M&Ms.   M&Ms are only the beginning of my problem though.  Chewy candy and I go way back.

I remember for my 15th birthday my friend gave me a balloon with like 3 pounds of chewy candy weighing it down.  I had an ex-boyfriend challenge me to a Sour Patch eating contest.  We never had the competition, but let’s get real….I would have won.  I eat fairly healthy and if I cut out sugar I would lose weight and eliminate a trigger for myself but I just can’t.  In part, because I would love to sit it down and have a drink at the end of a stressful day but it just makes me feel miserable at this point.  I don’t smoke, I don’t eat fast food, I don’t gamble and I don’t shop for myself.  How do I relax at the end of a day…I eat candy.

does chocolate trigger a migraine attack

Migraine Prodrome

I’m triggered by soooooo many things and eliminating my one vice just isn’t a priority to me.  So what happens when I don’t have dessert and the next day I wake up with a migraine attack because of the weather change?  Forget that.  Give me my candy.  If that’s the worst thing I’ve done today, I’d say I’m doing pretty good.  All of this is not mentioning the cravings migraine gives me.  My husband and I were sure I would be a craving migraine lunatic when I was pregnant but I wasn’t.

I crave sugar pre migraine way more than any craving I’ve ever had.  So my cravings and my bad habit are all the same.  Sugar!  I have tried to stop but it just gives me a sugar withdrawal headache.  Like I said, one day I’ll get there, but it’s not a battle I’m fighting right now.  What’s your bad habit or craving?  I can’t be the only one!

Why do I Crave Sugar Before a Migraine Attack?

Understanding the phases of migraine before during and after is important to understand in order to get a handle on migraine disease. It’s complicated and way more than most people understand. My favorite graphic from American Migraine Foundation explains how long a migraine attack and symptoms may occur.

Timeline of migraine attack

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Sarah Rathsack

I tell stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. My kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate me to make a difference in the Migraine World.

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9 Comments

  1. Debbie on April 24, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Great post – made me laugh – my craving – the grandkids!!!

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Carol on May 14, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Wow I could have written this. Sugar is my vice too. I know it will trigger migraine and have weaned myself off several times to come to a holiday or birthday saying I can I one piece and guess what.. yep



  3. mymigrainelife on May 14, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    It’s a daily struggle for me!



  4. omydaisy on January 21, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    I love sugar! I never connected migraines with sugar, but now I will definitely be paying attention! I am addicted to sugary coffee…it’s a problem. Or Cheese danishes.



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