Why Coffee Makes Your Head Explode: A Neurologist Named 5 Main Reasons

A headache can occur not only from drinking too much coffee but also from a lack of caffeine.

Coffee is a drink that many people simply cannot imagine their lives without. A walk, a break at work, a morning ritual, part of an order in a restaurant – this is just a small percentage of the places where you can drink coffee.

However, it is not always the case that this drink can help you gain vigor and energy. Coffee can often give you an unbearable headache. In this case, the unpleasant sensation can appear not only after drinking the drink but also due to the lack of caffeine in the body.

Olga Glinska, a neurologist, has identified 5 main reasons why coffee can give you a headache.

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant and activator of the nervous system. After its ingestion, nervous excitement occurs in the body, and the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol increases in the blood.

It is believed that caffeine can fight fatigue and increase concentration. Its effects begin in 15 minutes and can last up to 6 hours.

Caffeine is found not only in coffee drinks, but also in Coca-Cola, energy drinks, tea, and dark chocolate.

Why does coffee give you a headache?

Coffee can cause a headache in the form of unpleasant sensations behind the eyes. A person may feel tightness.

There are 5 main reasons for this:

  • hypersensitivity to caffeine;
  • excessive consumption of caffeine;
  • caffeine allergy;
  • caffeine withdrawal (pain can occur even from reducing the dose by 30 mg);
  • a sharp increase or decrease in the amount of coffee you drink.

A sharp change in the amount of coffee you drink means that you are used to drinking 2 cups of coffee every day, but you have drunk 4 cups or none at all. Such cases are perceived by the body abruptly and can cause a headache. A headache can last for several days due to abrupt coffee withdrawal.

The neurologist also points out that headaches and nausea can occur even after drinking a drink on an empty stomach. Moreover, it may also depend on the type of coffee.

“Robusta can cause headaches more often,” Glinska writes in her comments.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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