Afternoon Headaches

What Causes Afternoon Headaches?

Afternoon headaches can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose afternoon headaches, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "afternoon headaches" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Low Serotonin
  • Stress
  • Lupus (SLE)
  • Low Estrogens
  • Vitamin A Toxicity
  • Liver Congestion
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
  • Rosacea

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
dark facial coloring
frequent mouth ulcers
an enlarged nose
sweating mildly at night
hyperactivity
metallic taste in mouth
slight afternoon/evening fatigue
meal-related bloating
poor concentration during cycle
high systolic blood pressure
regular unexplained nausea
green tea consumption
... and more than 140 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of afternoon headaches:
Cause Probability Status
Low Estrogens 92% Confirm
Liver Congestion 13% Unlikely
Low Serotonin 12% Unlikely
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity 1% Ruled out
Rosacea 1% Ruled out
Vitamin A Toxicity 0% Ruled out
Stress 0% Ruled out
Lupus (SLE) 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate chronic headaches, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do your headaches (any type) tend to occur in the afternoon?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Often
→ Almost always / always
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate afternoon headaches, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Migraine/Tension Headaches

Migraine/Tension Headaches also suggests the following possibilities:

Aspartame/Neotame Side-Effects

Double-blind studies have demonstrated that aspartame causes headaches.  [Headache 1988:28(1) pp.10-14, Biological Psychiatry 1993:34(1) pp.13-17, Neurology 1994:44 pp.1787-93.]

Environmental Illness / MCS

Central nervous system dysfunction is common, resulting in headaches, chronic fatigue, poor short term memory, hyperactivity, and increased appetite leading to food cravings and overeating.

Estrogens Low

Women must first be exposed to elevated estrogen levels before low estrogen levels will trigger headache activity.  Constant low levels of estrogen, as in menopause, are less likely to be associated with increased headache pattern.

Liver Detoxification / Support Requirement

A 'sluggish liver' often contributes to headaches.

Low Female Testosterone Level

Migraines are more common among women who have very low testosterone levels.

Low Melatonin Level

Migraines sufferers often are found to have reduced blood levels of melatonin.

Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

Vascular or migraine headaches occur in 10% of lupus patients.

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