A mother-of-two who suffered debilitating migraines for over half her life finally feels normal again after eliminating ‘trigger foods’ from her diet.
Andrea Henson, 46, a catering business owner from Lincolnshire, had been plagued by migraines since her twenties, often leaving her loved ones helpless.
With attacks ranging from moderate to severe, one extreme occasion landed Andrea in hospital with a suspected embolism.
‘That was definitely my worst episode’, she said. ‘I had to have all kinds of tests including a lumbar puncture and CT scan. It was very frightening and just goes to show how bad migraines can be.’
She added: ‘My episodes were always unpredictable, they could come on quickly and affect my vision or be a slow starter, lasting anywhere between one to three days.
‘I was left feeling exhausted and achy but there was nothing anyone could do. As I run my own business, I had to try to soldier on the best I could. It was really hard.’
To combat the constant attacks, Andrea was prescribed migraine relief tablets, which she carried everywhere.
She said: ‘The tablets were very strong so I was only able to take a limited dose €“ around four tablets a month.
‘This was difficult to manage because the migraines were so regular; although I needed the relief, I had to try and reserve the medication for when I really needed it, or risk not being able to have any at all and really suffering later.’
Like many medications, Andreas tablets caused adverse side effects including making her feel drowsy and queasy.
As a caterer for corporate events and weddings, Andrea was originally interested in the YorkTest programme as a way to help with client dietary requests by learning about food intolerances and to ensure she was adhering to new food regulations.
Andrea said: ‘YorkTest came highly recommended by a friend who had been diagnosed with a severe gluten intolerance.
‘I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to gain a deeper insight into different sensitivities for the business, while also looking deeper into my familys health by getting my husband and children involved and taking a test with me.
‘I had no idea that a food intolerance could be causing my migraines at that point.’
After undertaking the programme with her family, Andrea discovered she has intolerances to cows milk and corn, which had contributed to her weekly migraine attacks.
Her husband, Andrew, found he is intolerant to wheat, milk and Brazil nuts while both children, 18-year-old Mckenna and 16-year-old Carter, returned results indicating cows milk intolerance.
Mckenna was also surprised to learn she has an intolerance to prunes.
The Henson family removed all intolerances from their diets and replaced cows milk with soya milk. Twelve weeks later they started reintroducing some trigger foods back into their diets with successful results.
Andrea said: ‘Before changing our eating habits, if Andrew and I ate out we would both suffer from uncomfortable and painful bloating afterwards which ruined our night, but now we are able to enjoy our meals without discomfort.
‘Since starting my new eating regime, Ive gone from having migraines on a weekly basis to having just three in total – they pretty much disappeared after six weeks. I was amazed.
‘It was a huge relief to take the medication out of my handbag and be confident that I dont need it anymore.
‘Migraines used to be a normal part of my life. Now I finally feel I am normal for not having them.