Super-hot chili pepper sends man to the hospital with "thunderclap" headaches

Pods of the Carolina Reaper pepper are seen in

Pods of the Carolina Reaper pepper are seen in

A man who ate the world's hottest chilli pepper in a chilli-eating contest ended up in A&E after experiencing "thunderclap" headaches. Doctors determined that the man's headaches were caused by a condition known as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS).

Extremely hot peppers don't just blister your mouth and bum-they can also spark fiery havoc in your brain, according to a report published Monday inBMJ Case Reports. The pain began with dry heaves immediately after eating the chili pepper. Over the next few days, he experienced thunderclap headaches at least twice-but likely more, he just couldn't recall exactly.

Thankfully, the man's symptoms cleared out by themselves, and a subsequent CT scan five weeks later showed that his affected arteries had returned to their normal width.

Because while it's common for the chilli to cause extreme discomfort, it's believed this was the first time it has been linked to thunderclap headaches.

The Carolina Reaper is recorded by Guinness World Records as the hottest chilli pepper in the world.

Given that the man developed the symptoms after consuming a vasoactive substance, the doctors concluded that eating the Carolina Reaper could have been the reason he developed RCVS.

He then developed crushingly painful headaches and at one point he chose to go to the emergency room.

The Carolina Reaper was bred in 2013 by Ed Currie of the Puckerbutt Pepper Company. It's been known to happen with medicines such as antidepressants and certain decongestants, as well with illicit drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy, the doctors wrote.

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While there is no single cause, RCVS occurs when arteries in the brain constrict or narrow restricting bloodflow and increasing pressure.

That's never been diagnosed after eating hot peppers before, but Turkish doctors have reported a heart attack in a young man who took cayenne pepper pills.

"When we were looking at the literature we found a couple of cases similar to our case", one of the researchers, Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, told The Guardian.

Presumably, these effects come down to capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot peppers that gives them their heat. This started out with a hot chili pepper eating contest.

The man's symptoms improved without any specific treatment.

For the average person interested in spice, not suffering, he advised using small amounts of any really hot pepper in food preparation, as they were intended.

What's interesting is this isn't even the first time chilli peppers have caused these kinds of problems.

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