The next time you reach for an extra cup of coffee, think twice. A new study suggests that upping your caffeine intake throughout the day may trigger a migraine, especially if you’re already prone to headaches.
The study researchers found that, among people with periodic migraine headaches, consuming at least three caffeinated drinks a day was tied to a higher likelihood of experiencing a migraine on that day or the following day. However, consuming only one or two caffeinated drinks a day was generally not associated with migraines, the study found.
Although many people anecdotally report that caffeine tends to trigger their migraines, few rigorous studies have examined this link. Indeed, the new study, published today (Aug. 8) in The American Journal of Medicine, is one of the first to examine whether daily changes in caffeine intake are tied to the onset of migraines.
No one knows exactly what causes migraines, but when the painful attacks happen, those afflicted must pull down the blinds, cover their heads and wait for the pounding to pass. Some people see flashing lights and get nauseated, while others only get a throbbing head pain.
Nearly 85 percent of migraine sufferers say they are extremely sensitive to bright or flashing light during their attacks. But a recent study found that trigger wasn’t as strong as suspected: When patients were subjected to flashing lights, they had a small uptick in headache frequency, but not enough to prove the lights reliably triggered the headaches.