Constipation and Migraines
Is there a Hidden Relation?

By Victor L., RN
Victor is a final year RN nursing student at the University of Sherbrooke, Qu├ębec, Canada
Constipation and Migraines

woman with headache - constipation

Migraines or headaches caused by constipation aren't something found much in medical literature.

Although a definite relationship is difficult to establish, several cases has been documented.

Dr Mark Hyman once met a patient that had chronic headaches accompanied by constipation and a high amount of stress.  After a prescription of magnesium to relieve the person's gastrointestinal problems, her migraines cleared up and did not reappear.

Dr Jerry Swanson from the Mayo Clinic states that research has shown that there is a higher prevalence of migraines among those with constipation than those who are not constipated.

Let's look a little closer at constipation and migraines' hand in hand relationship.

Why Constipation May Cause Migraines


When someone is constipated they may avoid drinking fluids to keep from upsetting their stomach.

  • Dehydration can result in hardened stools.

  • A lack of water may cause blood vessels within the head  to narrow as a way of regulating body fluids. When this happens, the brain may not get enough oxygen, which in turn can cause migraines. 

It is important to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day in order to ensure proper fluid intake and to prevent constipation and migraines.


A vicious circle can develop because of a migraine induced by constipation.

  • The discomfort of constipation can severely hinder one's sense of well-being.

  • When one doesn't feel well they usually limit their daily activities.

  • The limit of daily activity can cause anxiety.

  • Anxiety can result in a migraine.

Summary of the constipation/migraine cycle

When constipated, a person is more prone to stay in bed or to avoid physical exercise and to avoid eating and drinking. As seen above, this may aggravate constipation.

Breaking the Cycle

Breaking the cycle with exercise

Regular physical activities will not only help to alleviate constipation by inducing more frequent bowel movements, but will also help one to relax and decrease their amount of stress.

Breaking the cycle with fiber

Hard stools can also be caused by not getting enough soluble and insoluble fiber in the diet. Meals composed mainly of dairy products, meats, breads, cereals and pastas made from white flour, white potatoes and white rice are all considered as low in fiber.

Soluble fiber

When soluble fiber is digested, the bacteria that digest it take its place. These do a better job of holding moisture than fiber does. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of soluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber

This type of fiber is not digested by the body. It stays in digestive wastes and makes them bulkier. Since insoluble fiber is like a sponge in the way it holds water, it can significantly soften the stool and help prevent constipation.

Examples of food high in insoluble fiber are cereals, bread and anything made of whole grain.

Breaking the cycle with magnesium

A healthy daily intake of magnesium may be the best natural long-term remedy for constipation.

Magnesium pulls water into the colon, making stools moist and soft. My wife and I have taken a magnesium supplement since 2006. We started taking a concentrated sea mineral supplement because of its beneficial trace minerals.

However, we quickly realized that it took care of our constipation.
This low sodium, concentrated sea mineral product contains 106% of the US recommended daily magnesium intake.

Not only does the magnesium help with regularity, but magnesium has other potential health benefits. 

(Return from Constipation and Migraines to Constipation Pain)

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