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Does constipation cause migraine headaches?

Written and verified by Holly Hazen

Does Constipation Cause Migraine Headaches? @migrainesavvyDoes Constipation Cause Migraine Headaches?

Constipation may not be the most fun topic of conversation, but it is a fact of life - especially as you grow older. Constipation may affect more than 50% of people over 55 years old with limited proven medical remedies available. [1]

If constipation is left untreated, it can lead to internal toxicity in the liver, kidneys, heart, and brain. And we are led to believe that it's an easy fix... but it's not.

Many of the medications you may be currently taking to help abort and prevent attacks will cause constipation... leaving you more vulnerable than most.

Does constipation cause migraine headaches? This is a tricky question because it does not cause them as such, the cause of migraine is from a biological chain of events. But constipation can lead to a toxic condition in your body and trigger an attack. If it becomes chronic, which is common for those of us living with migraine - then it can trigger repeated attacks.

Donna Gates, author of the book Body Ecology Diet says that "a number of suggested treatments will not heal constipation, including osmotic agents, soluble fibers, herbal laxatives, and increased fluid intake and exercise." [1]

And fyi - if you are not eliminating at least once a day you are most definitely constipated.

Let's have a look at some solutions.

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Does Constipation Cause Migraine Headaches? @migrainesavvyDoes Constipation Cause Migraine Headaches? @migrainesavvy

Does Constipation Cause Migraine Headaches? What You'll Learn In This Article:

  • Does constipation cause migraine headaches?
  • What does work?
  • What causes constipation?
  • 10 Natural Things That Help Get Things Moving Down And Out
  • Key Points

What Does Work? 3 Tips From An Expert

In order to address constipation effectively you will need to look at your life style habits, what you eat, and you will need to treat both the stomach and the colon.

Tip 1: Rebuild and Increase Your Stomach Acid

If your stomach acid is low, you will need to increase it and rebuild it.

A number of events - ranging from stress to overuse of antacid medication to neurological decline - can affect our ability to produce enough stomach acid.

As we age, we naturally lose our digestive force. When the ability to breakdown food slows down or comes to a halt in the stomach or small intestine, this food ferments and leads to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.

~ Donna Gates [1]

She says we can only properly digest (and eliminate) our food when we have:

  • Sufficient stomach acid, or Hydrochloric Acid (HCl)
  • Enough digestive enzymes
  • Healthy gut bacteria and a balanced inner ecosystem

Both digestive enzyme and stomach acid levels can be increased by using supplementation.

Tip 2: Balance and Support Your Inner Microbiome 

Having the right gut bacteria, in the right amounts and right locations, will not only help to resolve constipation but will also help to remove toxins, including heavy metals like aluminum and mercury.

Taking the right probiotics and right foods (like cultured vegetables) is the best way to improve your inner ecosystem. BUT - fermented or cultured vegetables might wreak havoc with your migraines - so be careful to test this out first. If it's a trigger - leave it out of your diet. 

Probiotics are normally safer for us migraineurs. 

My #1 Choice in Magnesium Supplements

Tip 3: Stimulate Your Stomach Points with Acupressure

The best thing about acupressure is that you can do it at home.

You can start to assist your constipation with self massage and by using this targeted acupuncture point for the stomach - Stomach-25, or ST25, (Tian Shu, which means 'Heaven’s Pivot'). [1]

To locate the Stomach-25 point, "place three fingers parallel and alongside the center of the bellybutton. The point is at the edge of the last finger, three fingers away from the center of the bellybutton.

In order to stimulate Stomach-25, use your finger tips to firmly and gently massage the area. The best time for this massage is from 5am-9am, which is when the energy runs strongest through the Stomach and Large Intestine acupuncture channels." [1]

1. Using small counter-clockwise circles, massage the point directly for several minutes until the area feels warm.

2. Next, massage the entire abdomen. Create a circle, moving from right to left. So from your right hip, up towards your ribs, across the top to the left and then down the left side. Following the shape of the intestines.

3. Continue using this gentle circular massage until the area feels softer and warm and you may find that your breath deepens giving you a more relaxed feeling.

I share more on acupuncture here - Can Acupuncture for Migraines Stop Attacks?

And a pressure point routine for migraine headaches here - A Pressure Point Routine: How To Get It Right

What causes constipation?

Any number of things could cause constipation. Stress is a big one. The question started as does constipation cause migraine headaches... well migraine headaches can sure cause constipation too. With slow stomach motility and side effects from medications... you are vulnerable.

Here are a few more things that can cause constipation:

  • Inadequate or low stomach acid
  • Overconsumption of alcohol, sugar, birth control pills, or NSAIDs (anti-inflammatories)
  • Digestive diseases like Celiac, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Thyroid disorder
  • An autoimmune condition

10 Natural Things That Help You Poop @migrainesavvyDoes constipation cause migraine headaches? Here are 10 natural things to help you poop @migrainesavvy

10 Natural Things That Help Get Things Moving Down And Out

1. Take HCL and enzymes so you can digest your food and avoid deficiencies and low stomach acid.

2. Enemas & flushes. A salt flush or vitamin C flush. A coffee enema. OR a salt flush followed by a coffee enema. [2]

Plain water enemas (saline) work too, or you can add some bicarb soda. Colonics are great too. 

There are preparations you can buy. Experiment, you need to help your body evacuate regularly. 

3. Laxatives. Magnesium oxide is the best laxative. Or citrate can still work as a good laxative. You'll need a high dose pill, powder would be better. So 1,000 mgs up to 1500 mgs at night before bed is good. [2]

You might even find a good combination product. The incorrect dose will not work!! 200 mgs that is often prescribed for migraines is too low a dose. So (if you have SIBO and migraines) getting a bowl movement takes that higher dose. 

Vitamin C is an osmotic laxative (substances that draw water into the colon). You will need to give this 3 nights, as the cycle of a bowel movement is 24 hours... and that's on a daily basis. [3]

The dosing is finicky. 

Iberogast is another great option. It's a prokinetic shown to help with bowel movements. 

4. You can increase fiber too. Insoluble fiber is only fermented a little, which will make less gas. You will have to experiment as fiber can be irritating for some. Start low and work your way up.

Foods that are high in fiber: nut flour, nut butters, peas and green beans. Green beans are low FODMAP. Dr. Seibecker suggests boiling your vegetables so they are not too damaging to your digestive tract.

And another great tip - cook the vegetables in your smoothies first to help aid constipation. [2]

5. Some probiotics can help with constipation. Yogurt and kefir are common food sources. Sauerkraut or fermented vegetables - but also common migraine triggers.

It's safer to go with supplements - the one I like is: BioGaia Protectis baby Drops. It's a liquid. But you must avoid FOS, GAS, MOS, arabinogalactan, and inulin if you have SIBO. Be sure to read the label. You do NOT want to feed the SIBO bacteria, so be careful with probiotics.

I mention that because constipation can often cause SIBO - I've written more about that here - SIBO and Migraines.

6. Increase fat intake. Fat can stimulate motility throughout the digestive tract. Have a tablespoon of coconut oil or MCT oil, right off the spoon. It will help with constipation and increase your energy.

Melt ghee in a hot drink or use grass fed butter, and sip.

7. Warm water can help stimulate a bowel movement. Especially in the morning upon rising or soon after. 

It stimulates the gastrocolic reflex which is between the stomach and large intestine. So combine these two things in the morning soon after you wake up - take one tablespoon of coconut oil and then some warm water. A simple experiment will tell you if this works for you. [2]

8. Increase your potassium. This brings water into the stool and it helps retain water in the stool. Some foods that help with this are: avocado, banana, cooked spinach, cooked broccoli and potatoes.

Potassium also helps to balance your electrolytes. The thing I love best for this is coconut water. Orange juice, tomato juice and prune juice are great sources too.

9. Neuro-activation techniques. Finally a fun one... start doing some gargling, singing, and deep breathing that wake up the brain to help it remember it has role in intestinal motility. This should also help alleviate constipation. YAY! [2]

10. Broth & fruit. I saved my favorite thing for last...

Eat 2 fresh Kiwi fruit every morning for 30 days. I have them with a hot cup of bone broth, 1 Tbsp collagen powder, 2 tsp ghee, and 1/8 tsp Celtic sea salt.

~ Holly Hazen,

Key Points

Does constipation cause migraine headaches? It sure can, and long term too.

You can consider using over the counter stool softeners like: docusate sodium (Senna) or docusate calcium. But...

Constipation and diarrhea are common problems with people living with migraine. If you feel like you need a laxative to get some relief, try some of these things first that can help long term:

  • Drink water. If you don’t drink enough water, your body will sequester it from your stool. This means that your hard and dry stool will not pass easily. Even if you think you’re drinking enough water already, drink more. Try this - every 5 minutes drink 5 mls (or 10cc) of water - pure, filtered water - for 4 or 5 hours.
  • Sip on warm water. Sip on a glass or two of warm water when you first wake in the morning. This is a natural time to have a bowel movement, and the warm liquid can help get things moving. To help even more add 1 Tbsp of coconut oil.
  • Eat more healthy fats. That means things like avocado, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, and nuts. Healthy fats stimulate the release of bile, which helps improve gut motility. [3]
  • Eat potassium-rich foods. Fruits and vegetables like broccoli, pumpkin, bananas, and tomatoes not only provide fiber but also potassium, which your colon needs for good motility. [3]
  • The Squatty Potty! Another thing to try is changing your sitting position when you go to the toilet. Historically, humans always crouched to have a bowel movement. You’ll be in better alignment if you position yourself in a crouched position, with your knees above your hips. [3]

Does constipation cause migraine headaches for you? If you found this article helpful, please share it!

Until next time, be well and be pain free.

Until next time, be well and be pain free, Holly @migrainesavvy

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Does constipation cause migraine headaches references:
1. Gates, Donna (2020) Constipation Worsens with Age: Address It Before It’s Too Late. Available [online] at:
2. Orecchio, C. (2019) 10 Natural Remedies For Constipation Relief. Available [online] at:
3. Nirala Jacobi, ND, (2020) The SIBO Doctor. Available [online] at:
Does constipation cause migraine headaches? Posted Oct. 5, 2020 and updated Sept. 18. 2021