A Swallowed Balloon Pill May Treat Migraines Without Surgery.
There is a new pill that will give you all the benefits of a gastric bypass without surgery. All that you need to do is swallow a pill and it will expand into a balloon inside your stomach. The new balloon, named the Elipse, even self-deflates after four months into the original, pill-sized, flexible polymer film. The film then passes through the body and is excreted out. The pill is already available in Europe and is expected to get FDA approval in the United States after clinical trials are completed.
Check out the video of the Elipse in action at the end of this article↓↓↓
Gastric balloons are currently in use, but they require anesthesia and a procedure to insert them and take them out. Once the new pill is expanded, the grapefruit-sized balloon will reduce stomach capacity and also control hunger hormones. In a new study, thirty-four overweight and obese individuals lost an average of twenty-two pounds during a four-month trail of the Elipse—about 37 percent of their excess body fat. (LA Times article).
Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with migraines. Well, obesity can increase migraine risk by 81 percent (study link).
In a study referenced in my book, eighty-one obese patients with migraine underwent bariatric surgery. Within six months, 89 percent of patients reported a significant reduction of migraines and 70 percent of patients became completely migraine free (study link). The success rate of bariatric surgery is incredible and unmatched by migraine medications.
The simplicity of swallowing a pill coupled with the easy availability of the pill for non-obese patients, as opposed to the strict obesity guidelines for bariatric surgery, make this new pill of interest for migraine sufferers. Weight loss is not the only benefit of a smaller stomach capacity. A smaller stomach means less space for headache triggers. Size does matter when it comes to food triggers.
The headache threshold is affected by multiple headache triggers that add up to break the threshold and trigger headaches or migraines. For example, combining the biogenic amines in aged cheese, aged meat, wheat, tomato sauce, and MSG into a pizza could break the headache threshold. Add some bread sticks and wine to that meal and you are more likely to break the headache threshold and trigger a migraine.
Limiting the amount of headache triggers must play a role in the gigantic success rate of gastric bypasses for migraine sufferers. If it didn’t, gastric bypass would probably have the lower success rates seen from exercise or weight-loss studies. Obesity is only one risk factor for migraines. There are millions of fit men and women who have migraines. Interestingly enough, the only studies that have shown more success at completely eliminating migraines have been studies on reducing food triggers (full article). Perhaps a balloon in the stomach could do just that.
Even if the Elipse works for migraines, which it is not indicated for, the pill is a temporary solution. Migraines are likely to return soon after the Elipse exits the body. A balloon in the stomach will also cause nausea for a small percentage of users.
The Elipse is an extreme measure, a last resort, but it may be preferable over strong migraine medications that have low success rates and come with a long list of horrible side effects. And migraines, when left untreated, may cause a painful debilitation that can result in financial ruin.
The Elipse could hold the key to a permanent solution. Finding individual headache triggers can be more than difficult. Most headache elimination diets are flawed and contain known headache triggers. It’s also hard to follow a diet when you don’t know if it will work. If a migraineur finds complete headache remission after a four-month trial of the Elipse, he or she can say, “this definitely works.” It becomes infinitely easier to follow a path when you are certain it leads in the right direction. The migraineur could then take the long-term approach of reducing hunger, reducing headache triggers, finding headache triggers, and eating foods that prevent migraines.
Three ways to reduce trigger intake (without a balloon in your stomach)
- Eat healthy fats such as MCTs that promote ketones. MCTs increase fat loss, appetite satisfaction, and fight migraines by providing neural protection. (full article).
- Reduce processed foods. Look at Doritos chips. They are designed to melt in your mouth in order to reduce the food volume in your stomach. Doritos have a number of headache triggers, including MSG—which increases your appetite. Processed foods are often loaded with headache triggers that leave you feeling hungry. (full article).
- Practice Hara Hachi Bu. Hara Hachi Bu is the popular Okinawa practice of eating until 80 percent full and then stopping. You will end up feeling full in about 20–30 minutes. This will reduce overeating headache triggers. Okinawa has been revered for its low obesity rates and the highest concentration of centenarians in the world (Boston Globe article).
- Eat a diet that eliminates top food triggers and supports headache health. I’ve been working on creating a migraine diet for the last five years and it will be available for free shortly. Like my Facebook Page if you want to stay tuned for updates.