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Posted by Margi ( on January 18, 2002 at 10:31:01:

In Reply to: chemical sensitivities and CH posted by steven on January 18, 2002 at 00:31:07:

Hi Steven,

This issued has been discussed here a lot, and with pretty much inconclusive results.

Here are two questions, however, that might help you decide for yourself.

1. Do these chemical sensitivities trigger a cluster headache for you when you are OUT of cycle?

2. Are the same things triggers for you EVERY time - without exception?

If either or both answers are no, I would think that you'll probably be the same as most clusterheads here. Dr. Goadsby in London has done extensive research into cluster headaches and has discovered that there is an enlargement of the hypothalmus in clusterheads, most likely something you all are born with. There is also an imbalance in seratonin production. THESE are the factors that cause cluster headaches, in his educated opinion.

My husband is a clusterhead, and without exception, NOTHING will trigger an attack for him when he is not in cycle. Of course, he has never tried to invoke an attack by ingesting nitro glycerine (which does appear to be a universal trigger), but he has been exposed to all other things that would normally set him off when in cycle.

Our opinion is that when he is in cycle, he is pre-destined to get a certain number of attacks that increase as his cycle peaks, no matter what he breathes, ingests or to which he is otherwise exposed. We do believe he becomes more sensitive to his environment, but even if he put himself in a plastic bubble and removed all sources of outside exposure during that time, we still think he'd get hit, and the number of hits would increase as the cycle progresses, then decrease as it leaves him. We've done that, removed all things that have 'triggered' an attack for him in the past (fumes, sugar, chocolate, dairy, alcohol, smoking, you name it) and it didn't make a difference in the number of hits he got in the course of a day.

Cluster headache is a pretty strange disease, and I really don't think there is anything black and white about it.

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