Andrea Henson suffered from migraines for years before she discovered she had an intolerance to cow's milk. Once she cut it out of her diet, she noticed changes to the frequency and intensity of her migraines. We caught up with her to talk about the improvements in her quality of life since cutting out this dairy product.
Please tell us what a typical migraine was like for you at your worst?
I had two types- one would be over one eye and feel like a really heavy stabbing around the eye area and scalp. This would start off as a dull ache and then get gradually worse as time went on possibly lasting for two to three days.
The other was an aura I would get over one eye without any pain. That would move across to the other side, I would lose some vision as it travelled across both eyes. Then I would have a very severe migraine pain in my head that would send me straight to a dark room or bed.
How did they affect your relationships, work and day-to-day activities?
As I am self-employed, I sometimes had to work through- no matter how painful it was. If I wasn't at work, I would either go to bed or walk around clutching my head. I would take tablets to try to ease the pain.
At what point did you consider that it might be due to food?
As much as people say it could be food, I had tried cutting out the obvious triggers. I cut out chocolate and this didn't work, I tried cutting out oranges and juice and this didn't work either. I was affected by the weather too. If there were more clouds in the sky or stormy weather- my head would feel worse.
I even considered it could be other foods as I had tried to pinpoint it so many times before and nothing seemed to be the obvious trigger. Milk is something that I consumed every day and yet I did not get migraines every day.
Did you notice at the time that you felt any different after eating your trigger foods?
I experienced no noticeable difference after eating those foods.
When and why did you make the decision to order a York Test?
I ordered the York Test purely to see if I had intolerances to food. I am a self-employed outside caterer and many people claimed to have allergies and intolerances and I wanted to know more about it.
How did it feel once you knew what was causing your migraines?
I didn't know straight away. I had been sticking to excluding my intolerance foods for around four weeks and I realized I had only had one migraine that month. As I finished month two, I noticed I had not had another migraine. At this stage, I thought it must be something to do with the intolerance foods.
I continued to follow the diet plan and by the end of month three there was no doubt in my mind that by cutting out the intolerance foods it had helped my migraines beyond anything I could have imagined.
How have your migraines differed now since cutting out the trigger foods?
I have had three migraines over the last four months in total. Those three migraines seemed to be shorter and more manageable.
Has it improved your quality of life?
I no longer carry medication with me, I feel like I can enjoy every day without the worry that I could have a migraine.
What is next for you?
I will continue to work hard and enjoy my life and family without worrying if a day will be ruined by migraine pain.
York Test is Europe's leading food intolerance and allergy testing company and has developed tests to determine your food sensitivity.