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.
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:
|Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences||29%||Unlikely|
|Magnesium Need||4%||Ruled out|
|Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia||4%||Ruled out|
|Multiple Chemical Sensitivity||2%||Ruled out|
|Low Serotonin||2%||Ruled out|
Do your headaches (any type) tend to occur in the afternoon?
Possible responses:→ No / don't know
→ Almost always / always
Migraine/Tension Headaches also suggests the following possibilities:
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.]
Dehydration is an important trigger of migraines and tension headaches. The mechanisms are not entirely clear, but there appear to be several. Dehydration leads to:
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.
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.
A 'sluggish liver' often contributes to headaches.
Migraines are more common among women who have very low testosterone levels.
Migraines sufferers often are found to have reduced blood levels of melatonin.
Vascular or migraine headaches occur in 10% of lupus patients.
Migraines sufferers often are found to have reduced blood levels of magnesium.