This is Why Migraines and Rosacea May Be Connected
As if one condition isn’t bad enough, life sometimes challenges us with a second or even third condition to compete for our attention. For over three decades, the medical community has claimed a connection between rosacea – an autoimmune skin inflammatory condition – and migraine. Now, science has found the connection.
There’s not a lot of information about how to treat these two conditions as one entity, though. That’s because the more conditions you have, the more unique your treatment plan needs to be.
The goal is to find the underlying cause or trigger that is affecting both diseases, and the underlying cause is a combination of your genes, environment, lifestyle, and dietary behaviors.
In this post, I’ll identify the similarities between the causes of migraines and rosacea, touch on the research that links the two conditions, and give you some tips to find the right treatment plan.
The Causes Migraines vs Rosacea
I talk a lot in my blog about migraine triggers and several types of treatments. The most common migraine triggers are:
- Allergic reaction to food
- Sensitivity to smells or sounds
Not surprisingly, the most common rosacea triggers are:
- Sun damage or sensitivity to cold
- Food sensitivies and allergies
- Blood vessel abnormalities
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all diagnostic approach to identifying one of these conditions, let alone trying to link them both; however, as you can see, there are several similarities in the triggers.
What the Research Shows
In Denmark, researchers found a link between migraines and rosacea, particularly in Caucasian women over 50 years of age. Scientists analyzed medical records of more than 4 million patients, 49,475 of whom had a rosacea diagnosis.
The study took five years. The data collected included the prevalence of migraines in the entire population for the 13 years prior to the five-year study. Then, they measured new migraine diagnoses for patients who had rosacea in the five-year study. Here’s what they found:
- 31% of rosacea patients were more likely to have migraines in the five-year study than those who did not have rosacea
- Patients with ocular rosacea were 69% more likely to develop migraine
- Patients with subtype 3 (phymatous) rosacea showed no increased risk
- Female Caucasian rosacea patients over 50 had the highest risk of migraine
The mechanics of the connection is unclear. Vascular abnormalities may be playing a leading role, but food allergies are always high on the list too.
That doesn’t mean there’s no hope of finding a treatment.
What You Can Do About It
Here’s the bottom line: If you have two conditions, treating just one is not an option. You must have a plan of attack that targets both issues because it’s likely you’ll stumble upon the origin, and that’s where the healing begins.
Here are some options that may help you plan your treatment:
- Make a list of symptoms for both migraines and rosacea. Not general symptoms, but the ones you experience.
- Keep a diary of symptoms, noting when and where symptoms occur, as well as what you did and/or ate that day.
- Try the Elimination Diet.
- Always wear high-SPF sunscreen, hats and/or sunglasses while outside during the day.
- Talk to your doctor about light therapy. Rosacea is often treated with red light therapy, and some studies show that green light therapy helps with migraines.
If you’re suffering from both rosacea and migraine and you don’t have a confirmed diagnosis on one or either, then it’s time to gather your research and take it to your doctor so you can get started on a treatment plan. It will take hard work and dedication to tackle two conditions, so you’ll want to make sure you have the right doctor by your side. It’s time to get better. You deserve it.
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