Constipation and headache: Can poop problems cause pain in the head?

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If you’ve got a headache, you will probably blame long working hours or too much alcohol or poor sleeping habits for. But have you wondered if straining on the toilet can lead to headache too? It might sound strange, but it seems like it is possible as there are times when people not only have to deal with constipation, but also simultaneous pain in the head. In fact, there is also a 2015 study that indicated that for participants who were diagnosed with headaches, the prevalence of constipation was 25 percent. So, can constipation cause headache? An expert explains the possible link between the two.

According to Clinical and Experimental Pediatrics, researchers behind the 2015 study noted that resolving constipation issues also mostly improved headaches. It was concluded that either constipation plays a vital role in causing headache, or that constipation as well as headache share a common pathophysiology. Studies aside, you must have often heard people around you having constipation and headache at the same time.

Constipation and headache have a connection. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

To shed more light on it, Health Shots consulted Dr Abhinav Gupta, Consultant, Gastrology, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Jaipur.

Common causes of headaches

The list is long as the primary causes of headaches are alcohol, certain foods items like processed meats that contain nitrates, changes in sleeping process or even lack of sleep, poor posture and skipping meals which also cause weakness and stress.

Who have more chances of getting headaches?

Headaches are common and the cause could be anything. But Gupta said that some studies have shown that people who regularly experience gastrointestinal symptoms like constipation, reflux, diarrhea and nausea have a “higher commonness of headaches from those people who don’t have any gastrointestinal symptoms.”

Headaches and constipation together could be a sign of a disease. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Constipation and headache together could be a sign of a disease

You might be having less than three bowel movements in a week apart from having difficulty in passing stool. And adding headache to your constipation problem, can only make things harder.

The expert noted that people can experience constipation and headaches or migraines at the same time. Your problem doesn’t end here as these conditions occurring at the same time, can actually be an indication of another health problem. Yes, there are several issues that are linked to both headaches and constipation. They include irritable bowel syndrome that affects your digestive system, celiac disease, which is an immune reaction to eating gluten, and fibromyalgia, which is a disorder that is characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain.

Treatment for constipation and headache

If you are constipated, you must have often heard people suggesting you to have oats, nuts, bananas and apples. Well, they are not wrong as they are rich in fiber. In order to treat constipation, Gupta also suggested a high-fiber diet with a good amount of daily fluids. He also said that if you have celiac disease, you must get rid of all “gluten from your diet.” As for anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, they can be treated with the help of psychotherapy and medication.

Now, that you know the connection between constipation and headaches, make sure that you consult a doctor before popping a pill to make the pain in your head go away.

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