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Migraines and gastrointestinal problems: Is there a link?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/migraines/AN01874
- With Mayo Clinic neurologist
Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.read biographyclose window
Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.
Dr. Jerry Swanson is a board-certified neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He is also board certified in headache medicine and is a professor of neurology at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. He has a special interest in medical education.
Dr. Swanson, a Lacon, Ill., native, was appointed to the Mayo Clinic staff in 1982 and works in the Department of Neurology with more than 90 other physicians. He formerly chaired the department's Division of Headache and continues to work with headache subspecialists around the world. He has published and lectured widely on headache disorders. He also serves as assistant dean for assessment at Mayo Medical School.
"In a manner similar to the printing press, Internet technology enables the unprecedented ability to communicate with the global community about health information," Dr. Swanson says. "There is no doubt that the knowledgeable individual contributes greatly to his or her own health care, and now we can share information much more widely.
"There is much information already available about health care on the Internet. Unfortunately, much of it is not founded on sound principles. It is exciting to be a part of the web team and contribute to the creation of a reliable and timely health resource."
Dr. Swanson is the neurology editor for "Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and has reviewed articles for "Mayo Clinic Health Letter" and "Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource." He is also editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic on Headache" book, published in 2004. In 2008 the magazine Women's Health named him one of America's Top Doctors for Women. In 2011 he received the Mayo Medical School Dean's Recognition Award for his contributions to undergraduate medical education.
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Migraines and gastrointestinal problems: Is there a link?
Is there any link between migraines and gastrointestinal problems?
from Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.
There can be a link. Nausea and vomiting are common with migraine attacks. And in younger children, recurrent bouts of vomiting (cyclical vomiting), abdominal pain (abdominal migraine) or dizziness (benign paroxysmal vertigo) — referred to as childhood periodic syndromes — also are associated with migraines.
Although childhood periodic syndromes usually aren't accompanied by migraine head pain, they're considered a form of migraine. In many cases, childhood periodic syndromes evolve into more-typical migraines later in life.
Research has shown that people who regularly experience gastrointestinal symptoms — such as reflux, diarrhea, constipation and nausea — have a higher prevalence of headaches compared with those who do not.
These studies suggest that people who get frequent headaches may be predisposed to gastrointestinal problems. Digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease, also may be linked to migraines. However, more research is needed to understand these connections.
If you experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea with your headaches, talk to your doctor about treatment options. Treating the headache usually relieves gastrointestinal symptoms. However, in some cases, an anti-nausea or anti-diarrheal medication may be recommended. Keep in mind that some pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve) may increase nausea.Next question
Nighttime headaches: How can I get relief?
- Aamodt AH, et al. Comorbidity of headache and gastrointestinal complaints. The Head-HUNT Study. Cephalalgia. 2007:28;144.
- Cuvellier JC, et al. Childhood periodic syndromes. Pediatric Neurology. 2010;42:1.
- Cruse RP. Classification of migraine in children. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 2, 2012.
- Garza I, et al. Chronic migraine. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 3, 2012.
- Cady RK, et al. The bowel and migraine: Update on celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2012;16:278.
- Bajwa ZH, et al. Acute treatment of migraine in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 5, 2012.