Random symptoms - migraines and...I smell onions


Hi everyone. I apologize for the length of what’s to come, I’m just baffled and need input. I’m new to the forum but I’ve followed a keto diet a few times in the past, and have been doing various forms of fasting off and on since 2018. My longest fast, up until my current one, was 8 days. This morning I just passed 9 days.

I’ve been drinking water, black coffee, and the occasional cup of tea. For other health reasons, I take a particular vitamin that I was recommended by a doctor. I also take keto pills every day, along with the vitamins. Up until yesterday, I had no negative side effects. My sleep has been great, my energy is about what it used to be, even higher sometimes. My mood is much better as well. Hunger pangs have almost disappeared.

But yesterday morning, I got a migraine on the way to work. I can’t even remember the last time I had a migraine. I felt a little sick, too. This subsided about 45-60 minutes later. I continued on with my workday, making sure to drink plenty of water, until 2.5 hours later I got another migraine. I gave it ~20 minutes and then decided to go home early. The migraine continued for another ~15 minutes so it was over by the time I got home. But it came back, yet again, about 2 hours later. I don’t recall any particular issues after about 5pm.

Last night, I kept detecting the odor of onions. I’m the only one who cooks, my husband has been eating sandwiches and whatever since I started fasting. So there’s no reason to smell onion… I eventually told him that I thought it was him, it was coming from him, but he was kind of baffled. Nothing about him has changed in the last 8 days. He had a doctor’s appointment yesterday so I urged him to ask about the onion smell. His doctor didn’t pick up on anything himself and said it didn’t sound like anything.

I woke up at 3:30 with a headache and realized that the smell in the room was that of onions again. The entire room smelled of onion. I think I drifted in and out of sleep after this but at 5:30, the migraine returned with a vengeance. The room smelled even worse than before, it was oppressive, so I grabbed a warm blanket and camped out in the guest room. Any room that he goes into for more than 1 minute, I smell it.

Each migraine was in a different spot. They started directly between my eyes and then moved to the top of my head, then back down to directly behind my eyes, and then back up to the top of my head. I’m okay now but I don’t know if they’ll return or what the trigger is. The onion smell is still hovering around my husband.

I’ve already taken a pregnancy test and it came up negative. I felt around my sinuses but can’t feel any particular pain or oddity. The only thing obviously different about either one of us is that I’m fasting. I know fasting has been alleged to sharpen your sense of smell but I don’t think my husband has always smelled of onion and I only just now noticed… But since my energy level and mood are otherwise fine, I don’t know what to think…

(Robin) #2

I believe your body is sending you very clear and strong messages. Enough is enough. Time to quit the fast. I think there must be diminishing returns after a few days.
Others may have different opinions. But what are the incentives to go that long?


I’ve wanted to do a longer fast for a while now and, other than the above migraines and that smell, it’s been peachy. I’m still losing 1+ pounds a day on most weigh-ins and as I write this, I’m fine…other than that damn smell…and of course, it’s still early so who knows if I’ll get another migraine. The migraines, I already knew, could be caused be a fast that’s gone long enough or a fast done incorrectly. But the smell…that my husband’s smell was driving me up the wall, that one really had me scratching my head. I was thinking, “Is he sick with something? Are my senses just super sharp right now? Do I have a tumor?!?:sweat_smile:


It could be part of the migraine.

I posted about this a few weeks ago; there’s more than one phase of migraine. Some people experience all stages; some only a few. They are: the before, the aura, the headache, the after.

The ‘before’ is technically called the prodrome. In all of the stages, you can have various symptoms - from changes in your mood through to physical symptoms. For instance, you can become hyperaware of your senses; things like sound, light, smell.

It’s entirely possible that the room - or your husband - smells like that all of the time, but you can’t normally smell it. It’s only because you’re due a migraine / having a migraine that your sense of smell is heightened and you can smell it. This explains why your husband can’t smell the same aroma.

All kinds of aromas can be utterly overwhelming - or smell strange - during a migraine attack.

One of my migraine triggers is imbalanced electrolytes (namely lack of salt). If you’ve been fasting and only taking in liquid, perhaps this has occurred.


Honestly I would see a medical dr and push for a brain scan.

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #7

I second this. Migraine auras are one of my usual indicators that I’ve been skimming on the salt (the other being constipation)

@vdk. You might want to try drinking bone broth instead of plain water. The shake in the broth should help


Ok, so that’s weird. Any reason you’re being cryptic about a vitamin? You’re asking about migraines and there’s a handful of vitamins (and some minerals) that are known for causing headaches and migraines in some people, especially if they’re fat soluble and build up to much.

On the smell, typically onion, rotten egg type smells have historically been linked to ear nose and throat infections / bacteria and undiagnosed oral issues. But these days many have had weird smell issues post COVID, did you ever have it? If you’ve been vaccinated you have no way to tell anymore, but if you haven’t you could get an antibody test and see. Most people that get it never realize they have it but then have some of the issues months later. I work with a couple people who had it, had no idea, but then had things like smell, taste, and lethargy after the fact so they did the test and sure enough they had COVID at some point and never knew it.

I had a smell issue with a weird smoke smell for months, ENT’s couldn’t figure it out. Stuck cameras up my nose and down my throat (real fun!) and gave me a $700 nose spray to attempt to fix it, it kinda did, but they never figured out the cause. It went away after a couple months and has only re-emerged twice randomly. I can’t connect it to anything.

(Robin) #9

@PaulL Thanks for a random bit of info! I’ve had migraine auras (no headaches) for years. Less frequently now. But would not have thought of salt! Pre-keto, I consumed a LOT of salt. Now I TRY to remember to add some to my nightly water and magnesium. But I often forget the whole thing. So, I’m going to be more deliberate and examine my intake after my next M Aura comes along. They aren’t a big deal but would love to see them gone. Fingers crossed!


If you haven’t been taking salt during your fast, or not taking in enough, you really should consider increasing your consumption now. It is vital to your body and functioning parts. : ) I hope you have a doctor overseeing this long of a fast. How many days are you aiming for this time?

(Rebecca ) #11

This is only my opinion, but I don’t think we are designed to go without food for that long. It sounds like hallucinations to me…I agree with Robin, enough is enough. Oh, and what are Keto Pills?