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Why Does Puking Relieve Migraines

Why Does Throwing Up Relieve Migraines Facts And

Why Do We Get Migraines?

4 mins readWhy Does Throwing Up Relieve Migraine? Possible explanations, First, migraine is far more complex, A sick feeling in the stomach or vomiting is common.The most common symptoms of a migraine attack include throbbing headache, Vomiting is an event where all your senses are drawnIt might feel like a squeezing sensation around your forehead (in which case, noises, and that can cause some constipation or even diarrhea for some patients, a person may see spots or feel a tingling on one

Causes Of Headaches And Nausea

Common causes of headaches and nausea

Migraine. Many people who have migraine headaches often have stomach problems at the same time. In fact, 8 out of every 10 people in the U.S. with these headaches say they get nausea along with them.

Some folks are more likely to get nausea with a migraine, like women and people who are prone to motion sickness.

Certain conditions associated with migraine are more likely to cause nausea or vomiting than others. These include:

  • Migraine with or without aura. Those without aura cause severe head pain, sensitivity to light, and nausea. People who have migraines with aura typically have warning symptoms 20 minutes to 1 hour before the headache begins, like nausea, vision problems, and dizziness.
  • Abdominal migraine. In rare cases, children have migraines that cause stomach pain instead of a headache. Those can make them feel nauseated or vomit.
  • Benign paroxysmal vertigo. This can be a precursor of migraine in kids, but it can happen in anyone, even without a history of migraine. It usually happens to people over 60. They often feel like the room is moving or spinning. They may get sick to their stomach or vomit.
  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome. It causes people, usually children, to have periods of nausea and vomiting that can last hours or days. The condition isnât a type of migraine, but the two seem to be connected. Many kids who have cyclic vomiting syndrome go on to have migraine as adults.

Rare causes of headaches and nausea

Why Does Vomiting Help To Relieve Migraines

Approximately 70% of migraine sufferers experience vomiting as part of their migraine attacks. In fact, childhood migraines can involve only nausea and sickness with no head pain at all. It may sound strange, but of the migraine sufferers who vomit as part of their migraine attacks, many find that they feel better after vomiting. Why is this?

There isnt a lot of research into this aspect of migraine pain relief, but of what there is, a review paper from 2013 summarises some possible reasons why vomiting can bring migraine headache relief.

One theory is that being sick triggers the release of chemicals which ease pain within the body. This theory is supported by a study from 1986 which suggested that vomiting triggers the release of endogenous opioids these being endorphins which ease feelings of pain.

Another theory is that throwing up could somehow interact with the vagus nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system in a way that relieves pain. Vagus nerve stimulation, as well as being able to induce vomiting, can also relieve migraine headache pain, and some doctors now use vagus nerve stimulation implants to relieve pain in those sufferers who experience chronic migraine headaches.

Two more theories are that vomiting may change the blood flow in the body in such a way that pain or inflammation is reduced, or that, since vomiting happens towards the end of a migraine attack, it may simply be the beginning of the reduction of migraine symptoms.

Read Also: How Much Ibuprofen For Migraine

What Else Can I Do To Prevent Migraines

While there are no sure ways to keep from having migraine headaches, here are some things that may help:

Eat regularly and do not skip meals.

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule.
  • Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise can help reduce tension as well as keep your weight in check. Obesity can contribute to migraines.
  • Keep a migraine journal to help you learn what triggers your migraines and what treatments are most helpful.

What Are The Treatment Options

Headache And Stiff Neck And Nausea Pregnancy Extreme ...

A number of things can ease migraine with nausea. They include:

Lifestyle changes.Stress is a common trigger for nauseating migraine headaches. Find ways to cut it, and your attacks could get less severe and happen less often. What else helps? Quit smoking, and keep a diary to identify any foods that trigger your headaches. Common culprits include chocolate and alcohol.

Medications. Your doctor might prescribe drugs to prevent migraine headaches, to stop them once they’ve started, and to relieve your symptoms.

You can also take anti-nausea medications during your headache. They come in different forms, like pills, suppositories, syrups, and shots. They have a number of side effects, so work with your doctor to find one that works for you.

Complementary treatments. Some evidence shows that biofeedback and acupuncture may help ease migraine and related symptoms, such as nausea.

Show Sources

National Headache Foundation: “American Migraine Study II: A Ten Year Report Card on the State of Migraine,â “Migraine,” âMenstrual Migraine,â âGlaucoma.”

American Academy of Family Physicians, “Headaches,” “Management of Cluster Headache,â âFood Poisoning.”

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Migraine.”

Vestibular Disorders Association: “Vestibular migraine.”

American Hearing Research Foundation: “Migraine Associated Vertigo.”

American Headache Society: “Migraine Variants in Children.”

News release, FDA.

Recommended Reading: Migraine Symptoms Fever

Why Does Throwing Up Help Migraines

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Why Does Migraine Affect Your Stomach

When a Migraine attack descends, it begins in the brain. Doctors are still not 100% sure of the exact cause and pathways of a Migraine attack, but the central nervous system plays a critical role in the initiation and maintenance of Migraine. Activation of certain regions of the brain corresponds to the light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, and nausea.

Migraine nausea, and the vomiting that sometimes results, is thought to be brought about both the nervous system and the stomach itself.

During a Migraine attack, the digestive system actually slows down significantly. Doctors refer to this as gastric stasis, or delayed stomach emptying. The undigested food that waits in the stomach is most likely a cause of nausea and vomiting during an attack. Sometimes the digestive system slows in the intestines, too, leading to constipation.

Gastric stasis and the nausea it causes makes eating during a migraine attack very difficult, if not impossible. People with Chronic Migraine that is, 15 or more headache days a month can experience weight loss as a result of frequent Migraine nausea. Nausea can occur in all four phases of a Migraine attack, meaning that the stomach could still be upset even after the worst of the head pain subsides.

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Out Of 10 People Experience A Stomach Ache With Migraine Attacks

Not just a headache” has become a rallying cry for the millions of us living with Migraine. Even though Migraine creeps into almost all areas of our bodies and our lives, the general public still thinks of it as a “headache,” which is ironic when nausea and vomiting are among the most common symptoms.

Dr. Amaal Starling, headache specialist and Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic, is just one of many valuable people in the Migraine community working hard to educate doctors, patients, and the public. Her education, clinical expertise, and personal experience provide her with a valuable perspective on Migraine disease.

We sat down with Dr. Starling to find out why so many of us experience a stomach ache with Migraine attacks.

Papers Of Particular Interest Published Recently Have Been Highlighted As: Of Importance

Why Do I Get Migraines?
  • 1.

    Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The international classification of headache disorders, 2nd ed. Cephalalgia. 2004 24 :S24101.

  • 2.
  • 3.

    Bag B, Karabulut N. Pain-relieving factors in migraine and tension-type headache. Int J Clin Pract. 2005 59:7603.

  • PubMed Article CAS

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    Selby G, Lance JW. Observation on 500 cases of migraine and allied vascular headaches. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1960 23:2332.

    PubMed Article CAS

  • 7.

    Lance JW, Anthony M. Some clinical aspects of migraine. A prospective survey of 500 patients. Arch Neurol. 1966 15:35661.

  • PubMed Article CAS

  • 9.

    Lipton RB, Buse DC, Saiers J, et al. Frequency and burden of headache-related nausea: results from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention study. Headache. 2012 53:93103. Persons with high-frequency nausea were found to bear higher burden of migraine, associated with being occupationally disabled and having more financial burden.

  • PubMed Article CAS

  • 11.

    Eidlitz-Markus T, Gorali O, Haimi-Cohen Y, et al. Symptoms of migraine in the paediatric population by age group. Cephalalgia. 2008 28:125963.

    PubMed Article CAS

  • 12.

    Gershon MD, Chalazonitis A, Rothman TP. From neural crest to bowel: development of the enteric nervous system. J Neurobiol. 1993 24:199214.

  • PubMed Article CAS

  • 14.

    Gulbransen BD, Sharkey KA. Novel functional roles for enteric glia in the gastrointestinal tract. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 9:62532.

  • PubMed Article

  • PubMed Article CAS

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    How Is Abdominal Migraine Similar To A Migraine

    Abdominal migraine and migraine share similar triggers, such as stress, skipping meals, exposure to bright light, poor sleep, and foods containing chocolate, caffeine, and monosodium glutamate . Because there are so few studies on medications used to treat abdominal migraine, patients with the condition are often treated with medications shown to be effective on a migraine.

    Migraine Nausea And Vomiting Can Be As Debilitating As The Pain Discover The Best Remedies To Stop Nausea And Feel Better Fast From Ginger Ale To Rx Meds

    While there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ or ‘normal’ Migraine attack, some symptoms show up again and again during attacks. Digestive issues, especially nausea and vomiting, are extremely common Migraine symptoms.

    Migraine is a neurological disorder that primarily affects the brain and central nervous system. Why, then, do so many of us experience nausea and/or vomiting along with head pain? How are the stomach and brain connected?

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    How Are Migraines Treated

    Migraine headaches and their triggers can vary a lot between people. Treatment can depend on how severe the headaches are, how often they happen, and what symptoms a person gets with them.

    Usually it helps to lie down in a cool, dark, quiet room. Your doctor may prescribe pain relief medicine or medicines that help with nausea and vomiting. Some people need preventive medicines that are taken every day to reduce the number and severity of the migraines.

    Some doctors teach a technique called biofeedback to their patients with migraines. This helps a person learn to relax and use the brain to gain control over certain body functions that cause tension and pain. If a migraine begins slowly, some people can use biofeedback to remain calm and stop the attack.

    Adding other non-medicine therapies to the treatment plan, such as acupuncture or herbs, helps some people with migraines. But ask your health care provider about these before trying them. This is especially true of herbal treatments because they can affect how other medicines work.

    Home Remedies And Lifestyle


    There are some simple things you can do on your own that may help your migraine-related nausea. Using several of these suggestions together may make you feel a bit better:

    • Loosen your clothes, especially around your stomach
    • Take deep, slow breaths
    • Apply an ice pack to your head or neck
    • Open a window or step outside to get fresh air
    • Eat a small amount of bland food
    • Avoid foods with strong tastes and odors
    • Stay hydrated by sipping water, unsweetened tea, or clear broth

    Allowing yourself to vomit can also provide relief during an episode of nausea, especially if these episodes are not frequent.

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    What Medicines Help Relieve Migraine Pain

    For mild to moderate migraines, over-the-counter medicines that may help relieve migraine pain include:

    • aspirin
    • acetaminophen
    • an acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine combination
    • ibuprofen
    • naproxen
    • ketoprofen

    People who have more severe migraines may need to try abortive prescription medicines. A medicine called ergotamine can be effective alone or combined with other medicines. Dihydroergotamine is related to ergotamine and can be helpful. Other prescription medicines for migraines include sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, almotriptan, eletriptan, and frovatriptan.

    If the pain wont go away, stronger pain medicine may be needed, such as a narcotic, or medicines that contain a barbiturate . These medicines can be habit-forming and should be used cautiously. Your doctor may prescribe these only if they are needed and only for a short period of time.

    Why Do Migraines Make You Nauseous

    A migraine is a serious chronic condition where a person has a severe headache lasting anywhere from hours to days. It can be felt on either side of the head, temples, and even behind the eyes and ears. They generally do not come on suddenly – most will have warning signs like seeing spots or having a tingling feeling. Migraine sufferers have to deal with plenty of symptoms in addition to a debilitating headache. Over one-third of migraine sufferers experience sudden nausea and vomiting.

    So why do so many people feel nauseated with their migraine? Why do people get migraines in the first place? The answer to both of these questions is the same: we do not know! However, here are a few theories:

    • When someone has low serotonin levels in their brain, blood vessels swell up starting the migraine in the first place. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to nausea.
    • Women are known to get more migraines than men. Scientists are looking into the idea that nausea associated with migraines in women could have to do with changing estrogen levels.
    • High blood pressure experienced during migraines could cause vomiting, as a side effect of hypertension is nausea. However, the relationship between high blood pressure and migraines is still being investigated.

    These are just a few theories as to why people vomit during migraines and no one theory is more likely than the other. Testing these answers, or even coming up with a new hypothesis altogether, could take several years of research.

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    Why Do You Get Nauseated During A Migraine Attack

    Nausea often occurs during the prodrome phase in migraine, according to the American Migraine Foundation, but it can occur in any phase of the attack. The prodrome signals the beginning of a migraine attack and can last hours or as long as several days.

    We dont know exactly why some people experience nausea with migraine, though the common denominator seems to be serotonin. Serotonin plays a role in the brain during a migraine attack, and there are a lot of serotonin receptors in the gut, explains Spears.

    It had been previously thought that gastric stasis, which is when the stomach empties more slowly than normal, was the underlying cause of nausea in migraine. More recent research has shown that improving gastric stasis during a migraine attack still doesnt relieve nausea, according to a paper published in Patient Related Outcome Measures.

    Why Does Throwing Up Relieve Migraines

    Menstrual Migraines: Why Do You Get Them and How Do You Get Relief?

    There are many migraine sufferers who find that feeling nauseous forms part of their migraine attacks. In fact 90% of people with migraine have reported feeling nausea as part of their migraine attacks. Not all migraine sufferers who feel nauseous during their migraine attacks then go on to throw up, but many who do find that once they have thrown up their migraine attack becomes less severe, and for some, stops completely.

    There has been plenty of research into migraines and their symptoms, but even so experts still arent sure why throwing up can help to relieve migraine symptoms. There are theories though.

    The first theory is that vomiting may happen at the end of a migraine attack because the attack has slowed down the gastrointestinal tract. With the slowed or even paused function of your stomach comes food which can have sat in your stomach for too long. Throwing up occurs as the gastrointestinal tract begins to function normally again and the normal stomach function returns.

    Another theory is that the act of throwing up relieves some of the neurotransmitter imbalance that is part of a migraine episode. To get more technical the chemoreceptor trigger zone in the brain works with the vomiting centre to trigger vomiting. The CTZ also releases the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are both endorphins that can help you to feel better.

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    Ginger For Migraine: A New Review

    Batya Swift Yasgur, MA, LSW

    Ginger may be an effective home remedy to help alleviate some of the most common and bothersome symptoms of acute migraine in patients who do not want to use or don’t have access to prescription medications, new data suggest.

    Conducted by investigators at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India, the review showed ginger root can relieve migraine-related pain, nausea, and vomiting. However, the evidence does not support ginger’s use as a first-line therapy for acute migraine or for migraine prevention.

    At this point, study author Chittaranjan Andrade, MD, professor of clinical psychopharmacology and neurotoxicology, told Medscape Medical News the evidence base is still “too small” to support formal clinical recommendations. However, he added, ginger can be considered as a viable “home-remedy option” for acute migraine.

    The review was December 2 in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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    Paula: Are there any other non-oral treatments, like some of the neuromodulation devices, that would be appropriate for somebody who’s got nausea and vomiting with their attacks?

    Dr. Starling: Yes, so the other concept is that if we can treat early, then we may be able to prevent nausea and vomiting from occurring. Some of the neuromodulation devices, like the single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation device, are recommended for early treatment.

    Studies have shown that if we treat early with that device, we’re able to prevent nausea and vomiting from even occurring.

    Paula: Are there any options that might work for a stomach ache with a Migraine attack, like ginger?

    Dr. Starling: I’m a proponent of anything that is not a medication that can be added onto medication treatments or non-oral treatments for pain as well as for nausea and vomiting. Ginger can be helpful.

    Some patients have used B6 which can be helpful as well for nausea. Other patients have used the Sea-Bands that activate acupressure points. Other individuals will simply use acupressure points and acupuncture to help with nausea and vomiting.

    Paula: Anything else you would like to add about overcoming nausea and vomiting?

    Dr. Starling: The one thing that I really would like to emphasize is how debilitating nausea and vomiting is. I want to emphasize this to empower patients to make sure that when you meet with your doctor, that you talk to them about your treatment options for your GI symptoms.

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