Migraines were linked to plastic bottles in a recent study conducted by the Kansas University Medical Center. The culprit is a chemical called bisphenol A, which is commonly referred to as BPA. The chemical strengthens plastic, which is used to produce bottles and cups.
More than 10 percent of the US population suffers from migraines. Although they are often referred to as headaches, an attack includes numerous symptoms in addition to debilitating head pain. Patients also experience sensitivity to light and sound, visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, and numbness in the face and extremities. In some patients, migraines are severe enough to disrupt their quality of life.
Although many Americans suffer from migraines, little is known about their origin. Some patients can reduce their occurrence by identifying triggers. However, the triggers, symptoms, and frequency vary in each patient.
Professor Nancy Berman, who led the KU study, explains that the chemical BPA mimics natural estrogen. She said that consuming BPA can “activate estrogen receptors,” and therefore may trigger migraines.
To conduct the study, Berman injected rats with BPA and monitored their behavior. In previous research, Berman found that rats with severe headaches are likely to avoid light and sound. She also discovered that they were less likely to play or groom themselves.
Berman’s research revealed that the mice injected with BPA were more likely to display signs that they were experiencing severe headache. Lawrence-Journal World reports that the results of the study were published in the journal Toxicological Sciences.
Although a link was found, Berman said more clinical trials are necessary. Further studies would explore whether the headaches subside when the BPA is removed. Burman said her hypothesis has not been tested on humans.
Migraines affect close to 36 million Americans every year. Unfortunately, the origin and long-term consequences are unknown. Although Berman does not advise consumers to strictly avoid plastics, she suggests they may be contributing to the issue.
[Image via Shutterstock]