Frequently Asked Questions About Headaches
5. Do Children Outgrow Headaches?
Headaches may get better as your child gets older. The headaches may disappear and then return later in life. By junior high school, many boys who have migraines outgrow them, but in girls, migraine frequency increases with age because of hormone changes. Migraines are three times more likely to occur in adolescent girls than in boys.
6. What Food Triggers Headaches?
Some of the most common food, beverages, and additives associated with headaches include:
- Aged cheese and other tyramine-containing foods: Tyramine is a substance found naturally in some foods. It is formed from the breakdown of protein as foods age. Generally, the longer a high-protein food ages, the greater the tyramine content. The amount of tyramine in cheeses differs greatly due to the variations in processing, fermenting, aging, degradation, or even bacterial contamination. Tyramine is also found in red wine, alcoholic beverages, and some processed meats.
- Alcohol: Blood flow to your brain increases when you drink alcohol. Some scientists blame the headache on impurities in alcohol or by-products produced as your body metabolizes alcohol. Red wine, beer, whiskey, and champagne are the most commonly identified headache triggers.
- Food additives: Food preservatives (or additives) contained in certain foods can trigger headaches. The additives, nitrates and nitrites, dilate blood vessels, causing headaches in some people.
- Cold foods: Cold food, like ice cream, can cause headaches in some people. It's more likely to occur if you are overheated from exercise or hot temperatures. Pain, which is felt in the forehead, peaks 25 to 60 seconds and lasts from several seconds to one or two minutes. More than 90% of migraine sufferers report sensitivity to ice cream and cold substances.
7. Is Caffeine a Headache Treatment or a Headache Trigger?
Caffeine can be both beneficial and harmful for a headache sufferer. Caffeine is a common ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter headache drugs. Caffeine additives make pain relievers 40% more effective in treating headaches. Caffeine also helps the body absorb headache medications more quickly, bringing faster relief.
While caffeine-containing medications can be beneficial, these medications, combined with consuming too much caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks, or chocolate) from other sources, may make you more vulnerable to getting rebound headaches.