Hot Dog Vertigo

Ah, life! It can be a trip. Especially when you’re tripping. Literally. A fun thing about migraining, that I learned by experience, is that cured meats, especially hotdogs and sausages, can cause an eater to experience vertigo. Serious Vertigo. Serious Hot Dog Vertigo.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Gross! Who cares?”

Or maybe you’re thinking, “Oh, NO!”

I fall somewhere between. Don’t get me wrong: I like hotdogs. And I love a good sausage. But we probably eat hotdogs four or five times a year, including during summer camping. This year, we’ve had hotdogs two times so far. Even though they are so tasty, I’m no dummy — hotdogs are so bad for you. Let me count the ways: fat, poor-quality meat (or, maybe, “meat”), sodium, and allofthechemicals.

The last two are where us migraineurs fall down. Excess sodium is nobody’s friend. But researchers believe it’s the nitrates that really send migraine activity into a tizzy. I had never experienced hotdog vertigo until the last time we ate hotdogs, about a month-and-a-half ago. We had hotdogs and brats for dinner, and I had one of each.

The next morning was Saturday, and I had promised the kids donuts from Wake the Dead. I awakened, and swung my legs over the side of the bed. As soon as my feet hit the floor and I stood up, I knew something was off. I moved with an uncertain shuffle, and a bit of a list. If you’ve ever been drunk you might know what I’m talking about.

This is called subjective vertigo — when you know your surroundings aren’t moving but you feel as though you are. You might have this sensation after roller skating for a while, or after being on a cruise. Some people experience objective vertigo, which is when you know that you are not moving, but the things in your environment appear to be moving or spinning — this is a vertigo type that may accompany ear infections.

Fortunately, I do not get motion sick. I rarely get nauseated with my migraines, and have never vomited from a migraine. I know some of you have, and, I’m sorry, friends. For me, these little forays into the vestibular Twilight Zone are not much of a bother. In fact, sometimes it just feels like I’m on my favorite thrill ride, without having to fork over the price of admission (which is often nauseating for me). Eventually, the effects wear off, and my sense of balance returns to normal.

Now that I know what caused my Adventures in Disequilibrium, I can choose to avoid those foods, or eat them anyway, and be prepared to hang on for the ride.

It’s always something, isn’t it, living with this chronic condition we call “life”?

Are you living with a chronic condition that causes you to alter something about your usual routine? What has helped you have a better quality of life or better health?

4 thoughts on “Hot Dog Vertigo

  1. I cannot get the flossing hot dog image out of my mind!! 🙂

    I feel you on the migraines. It sounds like we have different symptoms/causes but either way they suck! My migraine triggers are mostly stress, and overwhelming/overloaded situations. Also lack of sleep, wine ,or not drinking enough water can cause them. I never thought about food related triggers… I’ll need to pay more attention to that.


    1. Courtney, about the hotdog: I know! Juli put that hotdog into my consciousness, and I’ve loved it ever since. You’re right – all of those things can be triggers for a lot of people. I’ve done a pretty good job managing most of them, and now I’m at the point where I have to explore cutting out certain foods.
      Thank you for sharing your experiences, and thank you for reading!


  2. Well, you know how food makes me react. I’m ever amazed at the range of physical and mental reactions that are caused by food. Hotdogs are way up at the top of my list. And oh how I love a hotdog with loads of yellow mustard.
    So my husband, Jim comes up while reading your current post and says, “ why are you smiling?” I didn’t realize I was. I said I’m watching the hotdog dance😁. I love that hotdog dancing.


    1. I LOVE THAT DANCING HOTDOG, TOO. It might be the main reason I wrote the piece. 😉
      I’m glad you enjoyed the article, and that it gave you a smile.


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