The headache of ice cream

The Headaches or headache They are frequent in humans and the list of triggers is very broad. Poor nutrition, stress, sexual activity, among others, can cause a headache; but, did you know that there is a headache due to the ingestion of ice cream?

The experts of the Spanish Association of Patients with Headache (AEPAC) give us some clues of the "Ice Cream Headache". Although it is very short (lasts from a few seconds to half a minute), it is very annoying and intense and the pain almost always appears in the central area of ​​the forehead. The few studies carried out indicate that one third of the population suffers from it and that it is much more frequent in those people who suffer from migraines, where the percentage rises to more than 70%.

Causes of Ice Cream Headache

The initial cause is clear: it is due to the decrease in temperature of the tissues of the palate (the roof of the mouth and that we can touch by raising the tongue). Now, think the specialists of AEPAC, that the cause is clear does not mean that the mechanism that produces it is. Currently there are two theories that relate this decrease in temperature with the headache.

The decrease in temperature of the palate causes a nerve irritation called trigeminal and this causes a referred pain in the forehead. That is to say, although the origin of the pain is in the palate, in reality it is perceived in the forehead.

This descent causes a stimulation of the nerves that leads to a change in the degree of contraction of the blood vessels of the brain. These vessels dilate and cause headache. That would explain why headache by ice cream is more frequent in people who already suffer from migraine.


Remedies to avoid it

Scholars say that the remedy is very simple: avoid the temperature drop of the palate . This can be achieved in several ways:


  1. When eating a cold food, try to keep it on the floor of the mouth and prevent it from touching the palate
  2. If this is uncomfortable, try touching the tongue with your tongue just after the food has done so. In this way we quickly heat the area and prevent the temperature from falling
  3. If you have to eat cold foods, do it slowly. A recent one showed that those who consumed ice cream more slowly were less likely to suffer a headache.