Published: Tue, April 10, 2018
Medical | By Josefina Yates

World's 'hottest chilli' gives man five weeks of excruciating headaches

World's 'hottest chilli' gives man five weeks of excruciating headaches

A man who made a decision to eat what's known as the world's hottest chili pepper, the Carolina Reaper, went to the emergency room after experiencing striking, severe head pain for days.

The 34-year-old needed emergency treatment for "thunderclap" headaches after trying the Carolina Reaper during a hot pepper contest.

The man developed excruciating pain in his head and neck, prompting him to go to an emergency room, according to an article published Monday in the journal BMJ Case Reports. Immediately after slaying a Reaper, the man began dry heaving and developed pain in his neck and the back of his skull.

The pain, medically described as "thunderclap headaches", came on in intense bouts each lasting for a few seconds.

But when they looked at the CT scan of his brain, they realised several arteries in his brain had constricted.

"RCVS is characterized by multifocal cerebral arterial constriction that resolves within days to weeks and often presents with a thunderclap headache", Dr. Kilothungan Gunasekaran, from New York's Bassett Medical Center, explained.

Apparently, a new cause has been identified: Puckerbutt Pepper Company's Carolina Reapers, the world's hottest pepper.

FYI: What is Carolina Reaper?

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Its creator, Ed Currie, has since crossbred the Reaper to create "Pepper X", which he says is twice as hot. But the main takeaway remains - don't mess with extremely hot chili peppers, contest or no contest.

It is normally associated with certain medications, such as ergotamine or triptans, and illicit drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines - not peppers.

RCVS is temporary, and causes sudden narrowing of the blood vessels.

"It was a big surprise to everyone", said doctor Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, one of the authors of the article that warns of the dangers of playing with chilli fire.

Some people like to do this sort of thing in private - testing their powers of endurance for reasons only they know - while for others competing against fellow hot-pepper fanatics is the name of the game.

When you eat a really hot chili pepper, you end up having pain in your stomach. He achieved this accomplishment by consuming 120 grams of the pepper in 60 seconds at the Arizona Hot Sauce Expo in November 2016.

"Our patient's symptoms improved with supportive care, he had no further thunderclap headaches", the report said.

Gunasekaran also said that this is the first time that chili pepper has been related to RCVS.

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