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tuggle
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Triggers (wine?) shadows, etc.
« on: Feb 14th, 2002, 1:24pm »
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Hello,
 
I'm a cluster headache sufferer, and I'm posting my thoughts (well really my experiences) on alcohol (specifically, wine) as a cluster trigger.  I'm also going to write a little about my cluster experiences in general.
 
As a cluster patient, I have wracked my brain trying to figure out what causes a cluster period, and I have seen some relationship to histamine, but none to wine.  I've heard that wine (specifically, aged red wine) is a potential trigger, but it doesn't seem to be in my case.
 
I am not a "drinker" really, but I usually have a bottle of wine once or twice a month, spread over a few days.  (As I say, I don't drink a lot.)  It's been a little over a year since my last cluster period, and this whole winter, I've been experiencing shadows off/on every few weeks.  But I have not noticed any correlation to the strength of any shadows and my drinking of wine.  Just last night in fact, I had two glasses of a nice red Argentinean wine (1999 I believe) and didn't notice any increase in my shadows.  I'm having light shadows, as if my cluster was a week or so away.
 
During my last cluster period, a little over a year ago, I had a glass of wine one night (I don't remember what kind, but probably a newer red wine) and I did have my usual cluster headache the next morning, but no worse than usual, and the period ended in a week or so afterwards.
 
I seem to remember the articles indicating wine as a trigger spoke specifically about aged wine, and most of the wine I drink isn't aged. (because I usually don't want to spend much money and many aged wines are a little more expensive than the newer, younger wines available)  Do you think that is a factor?  Or do you think that some patients are alcohol sensitive and others are not?
 
I'm a light cluster patient.  In a light cluster period, I might even be lucky enough to have only one headache per day, at the appointed time.  (Usually 6:04am.)  I was only diagnosed recently (three years ago).  I usually take an opioid analgesic (Butorphanol, Stadol NS) to numb the pain somewhat.  (I haven't moved to any more specific drugs because my doctor is slow to respond.  I just changed doctors though, so...)  I carry (well it's at home, but I keep it on hand) a new refill of Stadol NS, and I recently got a couple of samples of Zolmitriptan tablets which I plan to try when I get my next cluster period.  (Hopefully, never!)
 
More often than not, when I start getting shadows, I will actually have a cluster episode.  Recently, I think some factors might be delaying or repelling the cluster episode from happening.
 
First, I try to keep my sleep schedule working correctly.  When I begin to be unable to sleep well at night, I'll take diphenhydramine (Benadryl) at night to help me sleep.  (BTW, Benadryl *does* definitely help alleviate the pain of a very light cluster headache or the heavy shadows one gets as we move from shadows into a cluster period.)  If I end up on a regular schedule of not sleeping, I'll supplement with a nice dose of Melatonin right before bedtime, hoping to jump-start my circadian rhythms into order.
 
I do believe that has helped me to avoid clusters sometimes, but it's also very subjective to judge this.
 
Hope this info helps...
 
-Trent Tuggle, Orlando FL cluster headache sufferer.
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Re: Triggers (wine?) shadows, etc.
« Reply #1 on: Feb 14th, 2002, 1:30pm »
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Sounds as if you really are a sufferer...Sorry about that...Thanks for your post.
hub
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Re: Triggers (wine?) shadows, etc.
« Reply #2 on: Feb 14th, 2002, 2:22pm »
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Hi Tuggle:  
 
Welcome to our madhouse.  You sound as though you've had your share of this horror and we all understand how this disrupts lives.  For  me and others, alcohol isn't a trigger.  I've never been able to find a trigger. My attacks were episodic several times a day....3 to 5 as a rule and at least one about an hour after sleeping. They lasted an average of 20 minutes,  so otc painkillers were entirely useless.  
 
There are some good drugs and many here use oxygen and Imitrex. Verapamil seems to be the drug of choice but this something for which you need a physican's advice.  Read the links on the left, copy what you find useful and keep us posted.  
 
By the way, don't drink Hub's wine.  Indiana wine comes in a box or plastic bag with a nozzle.   Smiley
 
Charlie
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Re: Triggers (wine?) shadows, etc.
« Reply #3 on: Feb 14th, 2002, 2:58pm »
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A lot of migraine articles will talk about red wine or aged chees as trigger for migraines.
 
The cluster articles just refer to alcohol.
 
Beer, wine, booze, any of them will trigger a cluster for me.  Not the next morning but in the next 15 minutes.
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Re: Triggers (wine?) shadows, etc.
« Reply #4 on: Feb 14th, 2002, 3:15pm »
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Alcohol in any form is a trigger for most clusterheads, but only if chronic or in a cycle. I don't think anyone knows what triggers a cycle or keeps someone chronic. If you have shadows, take your finger off the trigger.
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Re: Triggers (wine?) shadows, etc.
« Reply #5 on: Feb 14th, 2002, 8:20pm »
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Hi Tuggle,
     my experience with alcohol and CH is that when I'm not in a cycle I can drink and drink and drink and suffer nothing more than the occasional hangover ; but when I'm in a cycle ,just one mouthful of an alcoholic  
drink will send me to the torture room within 5 minutes.
 
As for other triggers...it seems to me that my CH has a
nasty and cunning intelligence of its own and no matter what I do to avoid or outwit it the Ch will find an opening somewhere in my actions...it can be triggered by lack of sleep ,too much sleep,a cold day,a hot day,lifting,reading etc etc....whatever I cut out of my activities just causes the CH to find another trigger.
 
I have been episodic for about 10 years and the pain level was not too bad usually but over the past few months I have had only 10 days free of CH and a migraine for 7 of those days...anything and everything can set it off...a hair trigger that goes off by itself.
 
I'm really looking forward to this cycle ending cause I'm hanging out for a beer or two in this hot Australian summer .
 
I hope you can get your CH under control and enjoy some fine wines again.
 
Cheers from Iain
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