Experimenting With Coffee

Let's talk about the amazing smell of freshly brewed hazelnut coffee. I love sipping on a cup while juggling two kids, a nonprofit, and school. It's my ultimate pick-me-up.

Drinking coffee to help my migraines

Lately, I've been dealing with migraines, and the medicine has not helped. My primary care provider recommended coffee. Coffee has made a large impact on relieving my migraines. My first thought? "Prescribe me coffee anytime!"

However, there are days when 1 cup isn't enough. I've needed 3 cups to help with my migraines. While some people make a pot of coffee as a morning routine, for me, it triggers anxiety and makes my brain feel foggy.

But what about coffee and seizures?

Like many with epilepsy, anxiety can be a trigger, and a foggy brain feeds into my anxiety. Despite being seizure-free for over 10 years with medication, I get nervous when my head feels "off."

I started to have concerns as I encountered conflicting information about the impact of coffee on epilepsy. Some studies argue it heightens seizure risk, while others sing the praises of moderate consumption.1

Caffeine vs. anxiety

Armed with this conflicting data and fueled by my experimental mindset from my chemistry class, I created a "coffee experiment." Basically, my questions was: How much and what kind of coffee balances my migraine relief, while still allowing me to keep a clear mind?

I delved into the world of Excel sheets, meticulously documenting my coffee consumption and daily routine. The verdict? The medium roast emerged as my champion, not only providing relief from my migraines but also maintaining my clarity of mind. Regrettably, despite being my preferred coffee type, the blonde roast failed to deliver the desired results.

How I "experimented" with my coffee routine

Let's break down my experiments:

  • Decaffeinated coffee remained neutral, offering no change in my fatigue or migraine status.
  • The 50% decaf blend, while not altering the amazing taste, only alleviated fatigue, leaving my migraines untouched.
  • Full caffeine medium roast continually gave me the best results. It enhanced my mental clarity, reduced my fatigue, and provided relief from my migraines.
  • Full caffeine blonde roast, while effective against my migraines, left me excessively stimulated. This would lead to a lot of anxiety. Which again, can be a trigger for a seizure.

Still able to drink coffee while avoiding a seizure trigger

The results of these experiments have become the cornerstone of my caffeine management strategy. According to my data, limiting myself to a maximum of 2 cups ensures a clear head, avoids overstimulation, and provides relief from my migraines.

While migraines don't always disappear entirely, this approach lessens them enough for me to function properly or to take medication to alleviate the remaining discomfort.

Like most individuals, understanding my triggers or potential triggers sits at the top of my seizure care plan. Maintaining a seizure-free life is always my goal.

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Balancing our epilepsy into the equation

I'm grateful for 2 things. First, that I can still enjoy my cup of coffee (as I mentioned, with 2 kids, a nonprofit, and school, so it's a necessity). And second, for understanding my body's limits.

I strongly recommend discussing with your doctor any "experiments" you may be considering to determine if you can maintain life's little blessings – like coffee – in your daily routine.

Always remember, you are not alone.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The EpilepsyDisease.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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