Capsaicin Headaches - A Cure?

Okay, "cure" might be a bit optimistic, but permit me to relate to you the events of the last two days:

I took my family out to Old Chicago. Now, I have not been avoiding restaurants which have hot food because I don't ever want to be "that person". You know, the one where you have to watch what you serve because he doesn't eat fish (which I don't), doesn't eat Chinese (which I don't), doesn't eat meat (which I do!), or has some other dietary restrictions which always seem to be imposed on those around him.

Buuuut, after trying to get my family to go to Three Margaritas or another fine Mexican restaurant (knowing I'd have to probably eat off the kids menu), we decided on Old Chicago. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it's an awesome pizza-and-beer joint.

I ordered their "Double Deckeroni" pepperoni pizza. No big deal.

I took my first bite, and *hot*. Yes, it was too hot to be spiced with Italian spices. I knew right away there were some peppers in it which would cause me a massive headache, but I also know that it only takes a few drops, so I was screwed already.

So I finished that piece.

Then I asked the waittress what is in it. She responded "Oh, they sprinkle quite a bit of Frank's Red Hot in there...".

Crap. Well, that explained it. (The menu only says that it has a "spicy sauce", not that it's Frank's or Bruce's or whatever).

This time, unlike any other, I was determined to head off the impending doom. I immediately took 2 Benadryl. Every 4 hours afterwards for 36 hours I took 2 more. (This exceeded the daily recommendation, I should mention).

HOWEVER, now it has been over 40 hours and I have had no headache! Typically one would start from 4 to 20 hours later.

Now, the trade-off is that Benadryl puts me to sleep. Soooo, I'm not going to be adding red peppers back into my diet, but I now at least know that if I slip up then I am not doomed to a dozen hours of "holy @%@%$ my head hurts".

Now, dare I say it, I need to test this twice more. Once to set off a headache again with a known food, and NOT treat it, and then set off yet ANOTHER but treat it as I did this one.

I hope this info helps someone.


Lilian said…

I found a solution for your problem. It's the capsaicin which acts as an agonist. You might look at the Wikipedia page right here:

When I understood the problem right there might be a solution in the form of a medication.

Best wishes from Germany,

P.S.: I know someone with your symptoms.
Brian said…
Wow, Lilian, good find! One of the interesting points here is that I had been wondering of other things may trigger the same headaches as capsaicin. According to this article, the TRPV1 receptor which capsaicin triggers (which may be causing my headaches) is also triggered by mustard! That could explain the remaining headaches I occasionally get. Thanks!
Katie said…
I know this blog is several years old, but I needed to know someone else was going through the same thing. I eat chipotle or chili powder & have a migraine caliber headache in 20 minutes or less followed by vomiting & misery. The last time was 3 hours from home right after eating chips & chipotle salsa. I ate 1 chip with salsa & was sick before we paid our tab. I took benedryl before we got on the road & slept for 2 solid hours once we started home. I still had the migraine for the rest of the night & the next day. Misery! Then my husband put chili powder on scrambled eggs, they were awful, one bite & there was the migraine again. Thank you for sharing!

Popular posts from this blog

Capsaicin Intolerance

STFU - A Guide For People Who Talk Too Much