Will induced vomiting help my migraines?
November 10, 2008 2:03 PM   Subscribe

I get migraines. Whenever I get a migraine, I sooner or later end up vomiting and it is vomiting that lets me feel better. So, my question is, would it be a good idea to induce vomiting when I get a migraine?

From experience, I just know that a migraine is going to leave to me throwing up. That's just how it works for me, apparently. And throwing up somehow makes me feel a whole lot better. Before vomiting, I'm in horrible, horrible pain. After vomiting, there's usually a bit of pain, but I'm finally able to fall asleep and get better.

The problem is, I can never tell when I'm going to end up vomiting. Sometimes it's only a half hour between when the pain starts and when I'm throwing up. Other times, it can take hours.. And they are really miserable hours.

So, if I were to make myself throw up when I have a migraine, would it probably make me feel better, the way that naturally throwing up does? Would it be a bad idea for me to do this, even if it can make my migraine go away?

There are few things I'd like to do less than force myself to throw up.. And I know that, if done regularly, it's really bad for you.. But given that I'm going to end up throwing up anyway, it'd be really nice if I could just get through with it as quickly as possible instead of having to wait.

(Note: for those who would tell me I should talk to my doctor about migraine medications, I have. They don't work if I don't recognize the migraine signs early enough, and I usually just throw them up anyway. I also don't get migraines often enough to deserve drastic treatment -- we're just talking two or three times a year, here. So, I really just want to know, given that I'll be in pain and given that I'm going to throw up anyway, is it worthwhile for me to manually cause myself to throw up?)
posted by Ms. Saint to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried SinusBuster? I use it for occasional bad allergies, but it was developed after the owner found that capsaicin cured his migraines. Works pretty much instantly, and there's nothing to vomit (nasal spray).
posted by IAmBroom at 2:09 PM on November 10, 2008

I feel for you and the vomiting. That's how mine used to be: the vomiting would make them better and no meds would stay down. Years later, the vomiting no longer makes it better and hours of dry heaves later, it's still bad. So, I don't know if forcing the issue is any help, but caution you that they may get worse if you don't find something else to help. (I'm just one person, so YMMV)

I've had the greatest success with the dissolving tablets. I'm not willing to go with the injections... I also take a buttload of vitamins/minerals to help. It seemingly does. But, I'm not willing to be a 'control' and go off them and see if the migraines become more frequent. If you are interested, I can copy off my list of supplements when I get home.
posted by mightshould at 2:18 PM on November 10, 2008

I, too, have migraines, but with no vomiting. I have done extensive research into migraine, and I have read that inducing vomiting can help to abort the headache. If you're going to throw up anyway, why not try it, especially since they are so rare for you.

As mentioned above, there are other ways of taking meds that will not cause you to lose the effect if you vomit meantime--there's a product that is under the tongue and nasal sprays, for instance, and I had great results with the Imitrex shot. (I despise shots, but as all of us with migraine can relate, I would rather give myself a shot than deal with the migraine.)

Other non-medical migraine assistance includes making yourself cry, plunging your hands into ice water, and having an orgasm. Each of these have helped me at one time or another, believe it or not.
posted by thebrokedown at 2:54 PM on November 10, 2008

I know you said you didn't want to hear about meds, but - did you know there are injectable meds for when you can't keep anything down? I now control my migraines via diet, but before I figured out what the triggers were, my doc used to prescribe injectable imitrex for me. Worked like a charm.
posted by chez shoes at 2:54 PM on November 10, 2008

I, too, vomit if I get migraines, which in turn makes them feel better. I also induce vomiting because I hate the feeling of nausea and I just want my migraine to go away as soon as possible. If you're going to be throwing up anyway, I see no problem with inducing the vomiting yourself.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:59 PM on November 10, 2008

There's nothing wrong with vomiting to get rid of the migraines as long as you're not straining so hard you can hurt a muscle or burst a vein. i've done it too.

(i took imitrex for a little while and then the aftereffects were so terrible that i just stopped. a friend who's a nurse feels the same way and she's been through all of 'em. they work for some people, just not for me.)
posted by micawber at 3:11 PM on November 10, 2008

Seconding or thirding or whatever. I've had precisely your experience for many years, and yes, I can say that inducing vomiting does give me relief. Once the headache is "that bad", I just put my finger down my throat. I find that the pain overrides the fear/resistance to making yourself puke, and once you do it a couple times, it's not scary anymore. I have no idea why this works. I just know that it does.

Also, due to the vomiting, I often take my meds the other way. Ask your doctor if you can get/use your medication in suppository form.
posted by amusebuche at 9:53 PM on November 10, 2008

I've had migraines since I was a child. It wasn't until my mid-30s that I realized I could control and eliminate my migraines if I acted on them the moment I realized one was coming on.
Excedrin or Excedrin Migraine has worked well for me if taken at the first sign of pain. If necessary, I'll find a quiet place and close my eyes for a few minutes until the pain starts to ease.
I avoid letting the headache get to the point of nausea at all costs. I keep Excedrin in my purse, in my desk at work, in my car, in my boyfriend's car and both upstairs and downstairs at home. The key, I've found, is to get to it before it gets to you.
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 9:58 AM on November 11, 2008

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