I'm one of those unfortunate people who suffer from both IBS and migraine headaches. Although they are two different disorders, they have a lot of features in common, including enhanced sensitivity to pain, so it's not surprising that these two conditions often go hand in hand.
A study released from the American Academy of Neurology provides some compelling insights into the connection between IBS and migraine headaches, including the possibility of a powerful genetic component in both disorders. One link is serotonin, a neurotransmitter found in the gastrointestinal tract and nervous system that affects brain cells and influences mood, appetite, sleep habits, memory, learning, temperature regulation, and sex drive.
People who have low serotonin levels are more likely to suffer from migraine headaches, chronic headaches, chronic pain, insomnia, and depression. One theory is that serotonin causes the blood vessels in the head to contract, which results in the unbearable throbbing pain associated with migraine headaches. Since serotonin is a chemical associated with human emotion, it follows that emotionally intense experiences, such as stress, exercise, hunger, and fatigue, may trigger a migraine headache. Not surprisingly, these same occurrences can also trigger IBS symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation.
Whether you're in the throes of an IBS flare-up, the postdrome phase of a migraine headache, or simply want to enjoy something soothing before, during, or after a painful episode, it's helpful to increase fluid intake and eat food that is soothing and light. This noodle soup fits the bill and is free of nearly all food-related triggers, including FODMAPs, soy, gluten, yeast, and nuts, making it ideal for people who suffer from IBS, migraines, or both. A big plus is that it uses common ingredients that you can store in your pantry, so you can prepare it at a moment's notice. It takes mere minutes to pull together and cook, so you can quickly have something hot and comforting right when you need it most. It also contains spices that are soothing to the digestive tract and can help reduce pain. Season it to your taste by adding more or less of the spices listed, and add more or fewer noodles as desired.
Soothing Vegan Noodle Soup for IBS or Migraines
Makes 1 serving
Variation: For a heartier soup, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pre-cooked sliced or chopped carrots and/or canned chickpeas (well rinsed) when adding the noodles.
I love hearing from you! Do you suffer from migraines as well as IBS? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.