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Over-the-counter pain medicines that contain caffeine can be effective at stopping some headaches. But drinking a large amount of caffeinated beverages might actually trigger a headache for some people with migraines, according to a study published in the August 2019 issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
Researchers recruited almost 100 people with migraines who suffered from fewer than 15 headaches per month. For six weeks, they recorded the timing and characteristics of each migraine and their intake of caffeinated beverages.
Afterward, the researchers found an association between higher consumption of caffeinated drinks (three or more servings) and the odds of getting a migraine on the same day. (Consuming one to two caffeinated drinks was not associated with a higher risk of a headache.) A serving consisted of 6 to 8 ounces for coffee and tea, 12 ounces for soda, and 2 ounces for energy drinks. The researchers did not collect information on caffeine in foods like chocolate, but they added that foods contain much lower amounts of caffeine compared with beverages.
Migraines can be triggered by many factors, such as stress, skipping meals, poor sleep, and humidity. While this study only showed an association, curbing a high intake of caffeinated beverages may offer another way to reduce headache frequency.
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