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):
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
  • Low Serotonin
  • Magnesium Need
  • Dehydration
  • Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences
  • Low Female Testosterone
  • PMS C

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:
indoor allergies
multiple swollen axillary nodes
low energy/stamina
constant thirst
being postmenopausal
very watery eyes
high systolic blood pressure
frequent confusion/disorientation
seizures
shortness of breath when at rest
angry/hostile disposition
being easily irritated
... and more than 90 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 Carbohydrate Diet Consequences 99% Confirm
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity 25% Unlikely
Magnesium Need 13% Unlikely
Dehydration 1% Ruled out
Sarcoidosis 0% Ruled out
Low Female Testosterone 0% Ruled out
PMS C 0% Ruled out
Low Serotonin 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.

Magnesium Requirement

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

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