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Migraine before bowel movement

I am 24 and have been having Migraines for 2 years now. It started with the worst migraine I have ever had, non stop vomiting and delirium followed by a trip to the ER with CAT scan, MRI of my brain, and blood tests. All came back normal. After that I would get Migraines 1-4 times a week, severely effecting my work ability. I soon started seeing a neurologist that tried me on a variety of medicines including amitriptyline, nortriptyline, Depakote, and Topamax, and a blood pressure medication I forgot the name of. Nothing worked and I had horrible side effects to Topamax. 6 months ago she started me on Lyrica and I have been down to about one migraine a month. It has been a godsend!
Suddenly over the last 4 weeks I have been having a lot of headaches and a few migraines that all seem to happen about 15 minutes before I need to have a bowel movement. As soon as I start to get the headache, I can also feel that stool is being moved down, but I will not actually be able to have a bowel movement for several minutes after the headache starts. Also during this time I have been very irregular in the frequency and consistency of my stool. It has been softer than normal (though not diarrhea) even though I feel constipated at times. The headache will get much worse if I am unable to make a bowel movement immediately. For example my ride to work and back is one hour long and I am often unable to stop due to traffic. By the time I get to work it is a full blown Migraine, but as soon as I make a bowel movement the Migraine is gone within minutes. I feel like my stool is toxic and my body wants it out immediately.  
Some other random background info: I am a vegetarian (have been for 9 years) and have had no change to my diet recently. The only dairy product I consume is cheese.
26 Responses
Avatar universal
How are you? This could also be due to exertion headaches which present with generalized head pain of short duration during or following physical exertion such as running, jumping, and even sexual intercourse.This can also occur with passive exertion like sneezing, coughing, or bowel movements.  Check with your doctor for proper evaluation. Migraine medications taken prior to bowel movement may help. Take care and do keep us posted.
Avatar universal
I am 50 and have been having the same experience for several years now. I get migraine headaches (relieved with sumatriptin).  The headaches improve after a bowel movement. The way you describe it is exactly how I experience it.  Last year I did some thorough googling on it and ran across an article or post that talked about serotonin reuptake inhibitors being stimulated/released during bowel movements.  If this is true, this may be an explanation for any migraine headache relief you may feel after a bowel movement.
Currently, I am suffering with a sinus headache and am having the same expereince of relief after BM.  I am also eating a mostly vegetarian diet (since about 2 months ago), but had the same experience when eating a regular diet as well.
Please post if you learn anything more about this.
Thank you
Avatar universal
I have exact same problem. Most the time the headache triggers after 4, 5 hours sleep. The headache gone right away after bowel movements. I do not know the trick to improve it, yet. I hope someone can find out a cure.
Avatar universal
Hello Kolet!
I had (please note the past tense) the same problem until 1 year ago and had been suffering from this problem for almost 2 decades. I still remember the first attack when I was 14 years old (I am now 30). My parents thought it came from watching too much TV and playing computer games. They were wrong.
For years I could feel my neck gettins stiff and the slight hammering in my head started to annoy me and I knew "BM is on its way". Just like you wrote, it's not always possible to go to a toilet immedialty and the longer I waited the worse it got: the hammering in my brain was unbearable, my eyes were poking, nausea, vomiting some times, I was unable to speak properly or enjoy life. It was a mess. This pain was constantly with me and followed me around every 2 days, so just like you, between 2-4 times a week. The difference between you and me is that I felt sick even after the BM. This is why for years I did not realize the connection between the pain and the BM.
A couple of years ago I read somewhere that chocolate can cause headache. Out of curiosity I stopped eating it for a week and the headache disappeared. Not having a headache for a whole week was simply liberating! I stopped eating it for 6 months and started slowly again after this period. The pain came back. I then started to write down what I ate and made a list of things which could cause the severe pain: crisps, fried food in general, chocolate, certain cheeses, eggs. Still, it was not always possible to find out exactly what the problem was. Looking after what i ate certainly gave me the chance of avoiding feeling unwell.
Last year I moved country. Here in the UK I got invited to Sunday roast and as I arrived at my friend's place I could feel the hammering starting. I did not want to use their toilet and thought that the day was over for me. This was until they offered me what saved me: Black tea (Yorkshire tea is a really strong blend) with a bit of milk. The first mug did not really do much, but as soon as I drank the second one I felt my neck becoming softer and the hammering stopped.
I have been drinking the tea almost every day now and it has been a true blessing! I can feel the difference almost immedialty after the first sips. The hammering became less and less notable until it utterly disappeared. I truely believe that the pain and food intollerance (maybe even an allergy) are connected. I want to have some tests done soon and hopefully find out more.
Please give the black tea a try (but make sure that you have a toilet nearby as it is highly diuretic) and let me know if it works for you as well.
Avatar universal
Yes, I have this problem about 2 times per week.

Migraine/headache/neck-tightness occurs (often when I wake up) and I will go and with 10 minutes the headache goes away.
Other times the symptoms will happen during the evening or night. It's worth sharing that the size of the bowel movements can vary but sometimes a great deal of pain seems to be related to ones that are quite small (eg: size of a pen cap). Sometimes I will go again 10 minutes after if the headache persists and then finally feel relief. This is not related to constipation.

Info about me:
- Fast metabolism
- Male
- 30 years of age
- Healthy weight (6' x 160 lbs)
- Eat regular meals 3x day

I will be monitoring my diet and exercise more closely to determine if there is a correlation but any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.
Avatar universal
I should also note that I don't experience the vomiting.
But I do agree it feels like my stool is toxic and needs to get out. Every last bit of it.
Do you drink coffee daily? Alcohol? Sugar?
Avatar universal
Do you drink coffee daily in addition to the black tea? I have 1 theory that this is partially related to caffiene withdrawal.
Avatar universal
How interesting.  I thought it was just me.  It's a weird thing to think taking a crap relieves my excruciating headache in the morning.  I have the sense that my stool must be toxic, but the relief of the headache subsequent defecating seems to be too immediate.  There don't seem to be any answers given above, but it's nice to know that I'm not the only one.
Avatar universal
Wow I thought I was loosing my mind on this one .But it is a very real  problem with a lot of people I guess. Usually within a half hour of going to the toilet, my headaches go away.
If only my Dr. would recognize this as  a problem. He thinks this makes no since but its so real. Please if you know of anything that would help to explain this, it would be so welcoming.
Please contact me on email, for I can't always get in this site.

Thank You for letting me know I am not crazy here.
Avatar universal
Hi Mekka,

Whatever you have written, same thing I am also experiencing...I am offering every minute detail to my doctor but he is just not listening but after I saw this post I am now a bit relaxed as few others are also there who are experiencing the same effects....nobody takes it seriously....they asks for soo many tests and everything came normal.....I knew my problem but everybody laughs on first instance.

But seriously everything which other people have mentioned here ...each of those have been experienced by me too.
It is very concerning that doctors choose to ignore the correlation between symptoms that we patients notice and report to them. I have been suffering from migraine-like headaches for the past several years but it is not the stereotypical migraine with auras but since I get these headaches lot more when the weather is hot, when traveling in the hot sun or when I was woken up from sleep earlier than usual,  I think it is a type of migraine. During the past few years, I have noticed that after having a migraine, usually but not always I feel my bowel feeling a bit loose and I can pass stools freely even if it was not during my regular bathroom time. Sometimes, the amount of stools passed would be much more than what is normal in one visit. However, never has it been diarrhea, thankfully.

I wish that medical researchers took notice of what we patients report and not overlook the facts just because their prior knowledge does not provide them a good way to explain the relationship between the symptoms
There are migraines with aura, and migraines without aura. It's actually more common to not get the aura than it is to get it.

https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/what-is-a-migraine-without-aura#1 (The first part of this article may be helpful - you may already know the rest.)  I personally get the aura with about half of my migraines. It doesn't change a thing about the pain, though. It just allows me to take meds a bit earlier in hopes to cut it off.

The triggers you list are really common for migraines. Weather is a huge trigger - either hot or cold, changes in weather (the barometric pressure is a big, big one). Sleep changes - either lack of it, change in routine, or too much - is another big one.

Sometimes loose stools after a migraine can be from the treatments. It may not be though, and that's something you should definitely talk to your doctor about it.

Avatar universal
Perhaps taking a multivitamin with iron, b6, b12, and vitamin c may help.  I had aura (blind-spots mostly) that was usually relieved by bowel movements.  I was told it was migraine related, which it may have been but I think the more direct link was to anemia.  Perhaps anemia causes migraines.  Anyway, the doctors did blood tests but amazingly missed the possibility of anemia.  I had to ask for iron, b vitamins, and blood counts to be tested because it wasn't standard.  The results showed borderline anemia.  My understanding is that anemia can be caused by iron or b-vitamin deficiency.  Something that can be an issue for those who don't eat much red meat.  I'm not sure whether my condition was caused by an iron deficiency, a b-vitamin deficiency, or both.  Regardless, I started taking a multi-vitamin with iron, b6, and b12 and the symptoms went away.  I also drink juice with the vitamin c, because vitamin c helps with iron absorption.  Luckily this simple solution has worked for me but can take a couple of months to kick in (it takes time for blood count to return to normal).  I have been symptom free for about a year.  This post is not medical advice but rather based on my personal experience, as always, do your own research and seek medical advice from a professional.  Good luck.  
Avatar universal
I experienced a neck/headache and had a big craving for ice tea. I ate lunch and drank the unsweetened ice tea and my headache went away, maybe the caffine had something to do with it? Also, sometimes my headache goes away after a bowel movement too. I mainly eat fruit, vegtables and beans and have been know to be anemic. I take vit B 12 & vit D daily and iron supplements about once a week. I don't take other vitamins because they actually GIVE ME a headache.
Avatar universal
I'm excited to have found this thread bc I have always suffered from horrible bowel issues. I get extreme headaches and get no relief until my poop is completely out. I've always said my body is allergic to my poop and it has become a toxin to me. Ironic right....
But I've too have no success from the doctors and my only way of relief is getting my poop out by any means necessary.
Ok ok here it goes I use a glove to pull or break out my poop over the toilet and if that doesn't work I get in the shower. I find the shower head very useful and getting water deep into my colon to loosen things up. I usually have to sit on the toilet for at least 20mins afterwards bc it is a complete wash out lol.
But i hope u find this useful to u.
I think the black tea will help me out too. and I know chocolate and dairy is horrible to come out.
I am 31 and have been diagnosed with IBS. I also have extremely bad eating habits
Plz let me know if this has been useful to u
Avatar universal
Oh I would like an answer to why I'm allergic to my poop and why my migraines is a quick trigger to me pooping.
My anus muscles r no good and I swear I would get surgery if I could to fix this whole chain affect I have. Migraines leads to trying to poop. Trying to poop leads to pulling out my poop. Pulling out my poop leads to using shower head, shower head leads to my migraine relief.
Sux to b me right
Avatar universal
I have known about chocolate, but I never tied it to my headaches.  I don't know why!  My dad had migraines for a years and eliminated chocolate and his headaches disappeared.

Let me share my experience with my migraine headaches.  The amount of sleep does not determine them, BUT, I am more apt to feel better if I get no less than 6 hours of sleep and no more that 8 hours.  I too find that I get headaches prior to a BM: nausea, tension at the base of my skull on the left side, tight neck muscles on the left side.  The headache starts right below my left eyebrow and affects (surprise, surprise) my left sinuses.  :)  They also improve and sometimes disappear when I have a bowel movement.  You would think that they would occur because of constipation, but I am never constipated.  ??

My migraines have subsided a lot since I changed career fields. They were at their peak when I was a head baker and a busy one baker at that!  I have never been overweight, but my diet was TERRIBLE when I worked as a baker.  I think the combination of unrefined carbs (I was always scarfing quick "snacks" that were not healthy) and being on my feet contributed to the headaches.  They became so debilitating that I began missing work.  Desperate, I went to my doctor for medication.  SHe also referred me to a physical therapist and I learned that I had a "tilted pelvis", so we worked on strengthening my core muscles and improving my posture.  I was also prescribed orthotic shoe inserts to correct the tilt. Still the headaches persisted.  SO, I tried acupuncture.  THe acupuncturist was very open with me about how lacing my diet was.  He said that I had a sugar imbalance (duh) and that I needed to get my diet under control.  I took his advice.

SO, I worked on improving my diet and hydrating.  The headaches subsided, but still I had at least two migraines a month and they still affected my work.  I started charting my headaches and focusing more on my diet.  I also began exercising.  What I did not chart was the exact foods I was eating.

I have a migraine right now.  I had chocolate yesterday.  I never eat chocolate.  I had a MASSIVE headacche the day after Valentine's Day.  Again, I had major chocolate.  I had a headache the day after I ate at my sister's house and ate some mini chocolates at her house.  

Those of the last three headaches.  Other days I feel great.  I think I *may* have finally found the culprit.

And tying this all back to BM.  I think my body won't give up until it gets rid of all of the crap contained in chocolate??? Just a theory, but after going to medical professionals and not getting relief, I can hope, right?  
Hi pumpkinseed...  Please contact me..  I have shivers...  I could of written your post word for word....  

I'd like to talk to you more about this...  same headaches in the exact same place....  amazing!!!!

By any chance did you have bowel issue as a baby?
Avatar universal
I used to get like that too. It's from the things I ate, or if I ate later than usual. I suffered from migraines since I was 12. Now being 29, it's much less than it was almost to none, but I did change a lot of things. I became vegetarian about 4 years ago and a very picky one at that (I won't even eat marshmallows, rice crispies or jello) and I noticed most of the internal pains I had did go away... upset stomach, headaches, heartburn, etc. Now as far as my bowel movements that was another question. It got better throughout the years but here's some of the other things I have tried that has made going to the bathroom easier for me and has relieved that headache that I would get that only a bowel movement would save. I wish I really knew what exactly caused it but until this day my doctor hasn't told me what exactly it stems from she just says that there are some people that go poo poo and their headache goes away. Maybe it's like an allergy thing that your body is telling you you are intolerant to that specific food and when you eat it unless you get rid of it you will still have symptoms?? Anyways, here's what I recommend and has helped me:

First of all, go get a good colonic done (colon hydrotherapy). If you're in Los Angeles area, go to The Green Leaf Systems, if outside of Los Angeles, I don't know but read reviews and go to websites like LifeBooker, Groupon or LivingSocial which have really good places but make sure you read that they're good because a bad place can make you traumatized and you won't ever want to go back. I go at least once every 6 months let's say and get it done just to cleanse my colon of any toxins that have gone in me. That helps a lot!

Next, do a juice cleanse and stick to it. Get a basic juicer or go all out and buy a really big one, whatever your budget allows, and start juicing (not just carrot juice, but kale, beets, celery, carrots, apples, oranges, ginger, lemon). Have a juice early in the morning and I don't mean a smoothie, for anyone who thinks that's the same it's not! There is a great 30 day juice cleanse that I did and I can send to you if you somehow give me your email address and that cleanses you out but you must do it when you first wake up....say it's your breakfast. It will keep you full for hours, and it will help to remove toxins in your system which will help bowel movements and help with whatever you eat afterwards.

Last but not least, forget fast food, or if you do fast food stay away from burgers!!!! McDonalds, Burger King, Jack in the Box all their burgers have so much junk in them it will hurt you, have a salad from McDonalds if you go. Honestly when I first found out I had migraines at 12, first thing my doctor said was STOP GOING TO MCDONALDS and it was hard because it's only 6 houses down from me on my street but I had to.

To see changes, you have to make changes. Good luck to everyone!!
Avatar universal
I have had similar symptoms and have been researching this topic for a few years with the following findings.

My migraines were caused by what I was eating. I never used to have these headaches. What had changed?

I believe the advent of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in multitudes of foods are the culprit. HFCS is a common ingredient in breads, apple sauce, fruit juices, etc. Usually, the foods are cheaper as HFCS is cheaper than normal sugar. Over time, the HFCS deteriorated the lining of my intestine to allow toxins to enter my bloodstream. I became allergic to different foods, particularly cheese (not from goats), MSG, and nitrates in some wines.

"New research finds that it (HFCS) is a common cause of leaky gut syndrome. High doses of free fructose have been proven to literally punch holes in the intestinal lining allowing nasty byproducts of toxic gut bacteria and partially digested food proteins to enter your blood stream and trigger the inflammation that we know is at the root of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia, and accelerated aging."
( http://www.naturalnews.com/z048354_high_fructose_corn_syrup_aspartame_leaky_gut.html )

Also, mercury has been found in HFCS.

( http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/20090127/mercury-in-high-fructose-corn-syrup?print=true )

These researchers believe a solution to leaky gut may be glutamine. "Glutamine is presently the best known compound for reducing Intestinal Permiability (IP), and nutritional depletion is known to result in increased IP."

( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898551/ )

Glutamine is an amino acid and may be found in health food powder drink mixes.

Additionally, HFCS passes through the intestinal wall and goes directly into the bloodstream. HFCS is not digested like standard sugar.
Avatar universal
I have read many of your comments, I have suffered from migraines for exactly 30 years now since the age of 3 years old (they are migraines and they are to the extent I projectile vomit, loose coordination, loose sensation, speech becomes extremely slurred and not of any real relevance to anything and my head, well it's in a vice and pounding !)
I to experience migraines (on one occasion, the others are Jaffa oranges, stress,hormonal etc) where if I wake up with a migraine it generally means I will poo soon ! Once I do that the migraine does slowly start to resolve, I too feel like my poo is toxic to my body !
Also over the years people have gone on about chocolate and cheese and caffeine being causes of migraines when in actual fact it is your body craving the foods (and generally a type of vitamin or mineral that may actually have no relevance to the food you are craving) as your body knows there is a migraine on the way a long time before you are actually aware of it and so it's trying to effectively repair it before it fully develops hence why caffiene is now used as a cluster headache, migraine and headache treatment or why you often find it in paracetamol
Avatar universal
I don't feel so alone now. These migraine headaches usually hit me around the same time everyday, late morning, right before a bm. My head starts to pound along with upper jaw tension, and I also feel my heart rate accelerate during an episode. I take 2 extra strength Tylenol's to deal with the pain, and after my bm, it usually takes roughly 45-1hr time for pain to subside. It is just too awkward to explain to others as to why I get debilitating migraine headaches right before a bm. This started recently. I've never suffered from migraines till now! My eating habits have been the same. I'm fairly healthy. I'm a 47yr old female, I exercise 3x a week, mostly running. Any advice or possible solution would greatly be appreciated. Help!
Avatar universal
I have similar symptoms to all of these posts. Usually I woke up with a migraine on the right side,  starting at the base of my neck it would travel around my ear to my temple. Sometimes it would be so bad my eye would turn red almost like I had pink eye. Nausea, head pounding,  worse when I lay down, nothing to dull the pain.  I've had ct scans,  MRIs, blood tests and could never find anything wrong.  Once I had a BM, which was usually really hard to push out, it would subside,  then start coming back and subside again after another BM until my body got rid of what it thinks is a toxin. Caffiene helped make it pass. What was interesting is that before bed my neck would start getting tense and I knew I was going to wake up with a migraine.  After some thorough research and testing I found out I am allergic to, or am affected by, pepper(s). About 2-3 hours after eating I would start to get the tense feeling in my neck.  After removing pepper from my diet I no longer get the migraines. My doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory which I take before I eat something I know gives me a migraine and I'm fine. Hope this helps someone.
Avatar universal
I am so glad i have found this post. I am 41 years old and around 3 to 4 times a week I wake up with a headache.  The headache gets worse until I have had a BM.  My poops are softer than normal and when I have to go, I have to go within mins.   After, I feel my headache is clearing but takes an hour to feel normal again.  I do get very pale and shaky before BM.  I'm glad to see that i am not alone, and thanks to this thread, I am going to cut out chocolate!!  I do eat a lot of it ... but its a start!!!  
Avatar universal
I'm having this tension feel headache , I too have migraines  and once I have a BM I feel  better. I think we may all need to run this by a dr
I have ran it by my doctor. I think I need a new one. He told me the is no possible way they can be connected. Stupid idiot. I KNOW they are connected. The ONLY time I get a headache is when I need to make a BM.
It is totally connected. In 2015 summer time I had my first one, I was completely fine I wasn't sick and didn't have any warning signs like some times with migraines I get there will be an aura or sensitivity to kight. I went in the bathroom to poop, didn't strain but my stomach was going crazy my blood pressure was super high I was sweating and shivering and throwing up. It felt like someone was hitting the back left part of my skull with the beat of my heart with a sledgehammer hammer..I think I had an aneurysm, at East that's what it felt like and it matches the symptoms perfectly. I left the hospital after a few hours when I felt better they didn't want to run any tests
Avatar universal
I am suffering badly  I get the most horrible  feeling come over me and i know it's going to happen it feels like I need to poo and i can't stop the more I go the worse the feeling gets resulting  in me sweating  so much my hole body I wet I start to shake and still can't stop I feel sick and am still pooing and being sick at the same time I then still need to poo and start to involantry  orgasm  still pooing my head starts to pound so bad that it consumes me  and i know that its not over as feel the poo is toxic to my body i manage to stop myself and make my way to my bed after 2 or 3 mminutes  I'm back on the toilet still going this goes on 4  or  5 times by now I I am totally excaused  and can't see and talk to well my head hurts so bad  I have been to the doctors  and there answer is to give me stool softener as they say I get a plug of poo but it's not I have had poos  that r fine the night before xx
I have had the same issues. Also lots of body pain. I was tested for everything. Finally got tested for porphyria. The test came back positive. Supposedly a very rare disorder that can be a simple pee test. I have several family members been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I have a horrible suspicion it's porphyria in my family and not fibro. When I have these bouts such as you describe it damages nerves and joint tissues. Hope this helps. P.S. I still haven't gotten any help with my issue but at least I know why.
Hope this helps
Avatar universal
So great to find this. I've been having a migraine for more than 24 hrs now. No matter how many headache tablets I take or rest it doesn't go away. I then remembered maybe I haven't had a BM all day and I do recall feeling better a couple times in the past before. I literally researched this question and found that other persons think there is a link. I did also have a bit of chocolate 2 nights prior which I have to wonder helped to trigger the headache. A doctor I went to once (interestingly not a General Practioner but a Optometrist) told to me do a migraine diary. Write what the things you ate down so you can know what foods to stay away from, the time it took after eating any particular food for the migraine to fully start and what medications worked for you etc
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