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Can Constipation Cause a Headache?

by
author image J.M. Andrews
J.M. Andrews has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years. She specializes in health and medical content for consumers and health professionals. Andrews' background in medicine and science has earned her credits in a wide range of online and print publications, including "Young Physicians" magazine.
Can Constipation Cause a Headache?
A woman is laying down with a headache. Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

If you have chronic constipation accompanied by a headache, you're right to wonder if the two are related. Constipation can be related to a headache, although it probably doesn't actually cause the headache. It's more likely that a common factor -- such as another health condition -- causes both your constipation and your headache.

Symptoms

Most people know the symptoms of constipation and headaches. Bowel movements occur within a range of 3 times per day to 3 times per week for the average person. If you have constipation, you will have less bowel movements than usual. You may also strain while attempting to go. Headaches may be caused by migraines, sinus infection or tension.

Conditions

Although constipation and headaches occur commonly, if you have both conditions together, you may have a chronic health condition. For example, people with fibromyalgia, a painful muscular disorder, frequently have headaches and constipation, or occasionally constipation alternating with diarrhea. Celiac disease -- a gastrointestinal condition that makes you unable to digest the gluten found in some grains -- may cause constipation and migraines. If you have chronic constipation and headaches, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Other Causes

It's not unusual for constipation and headaches to be listed as side effects for prescription medications. For example, the common cholesterol medications known as statins can cause headaches and constipation. Some diabetes medications also list both headache and constipation as side effects. In addition, you might have constipation and headache because you're low on the essential mineral magnesium.

Considerations

It may be difficult to determine the cause of your chronic constipation and headache without a visit to your doctor. Prepare for your appointment -- take note of all medications you are using, plus any other symptoms you have. Meanwhile, you may be able to treat your headaches and your constipation with over-the-counter medications.

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