Do you have both migraines and hay fever or nasal allergies? New research says you’re not alone. In fact, a recent study by physicians at the University of Cincinnati revealed that people who have both migraines and nasal allergies have a 33% greater chance of experiencing more frequent headaches compared with those who have migraines but do not have nasal allergies.
Allergies such as hay fever are triggered when you inhale an irritating substance (like pollen, for example). That causes a condition called “rhinitis,” an irritation and inflammation of the nasal membranes. The researchers at the University of Cincinnati surveyed approximately 6,000 men and women from across the country who had migraines and asked them if they had ever experienced rhinitis due to nasal allergies, seasonal allergies or hay fever. What they found was surprising: About two-thirds of the survey respondents also had rhinitis.
The physicians found that migraine sufferers who had rhinitis in response to both allergic triggers (molds, pollen and animal dander) and non-allergic triggers (cigarette smoke, weather changes and perfumes) had an even greater chance of experiencing headaches. These “mixed rhinitis” sufferers were 45% more likely to experience more frequent headaches and 60% more likely to have headaches that were more disabling than were patients without rhinitis.
Typically, the sinus headaches that occur as a result of rhinitis are intensely painful and often accompanied by pressure and pain around the eyes, cheeks and forehead. In the past, sinus headache sufferers had limited options to deal with their pain. Fortunately, there now is a wide array of treatments that can help you effectively deal with your symptoms and reduce or eliminate your pain.
In some cases, medications (antibiotics, corticosteroids, or prescription or non-prescription antihistamines) may help relieve symptoms. When over-the-counter and prescription medications are not effective, minimally invasive procedures may help resolve underlying conditions, such as nasal polyps (fleshy growths inside the nose) or bone spurs. Most procedures aim to enlarge the nasal cavity, thereby reducing painful inflammation and swelling that can occur when crowded nasal membranes become irritated. These procedures can be performed endoscopically, which means no incision is necessary.
If you have sinus headaches with or without migraines, you have many available options. Take the first step to a life with fewer symptoms and less pain: Schedule an appointment with us to help you find a solution that works for you.