Studies are reporting the association between headaches and gastrointestinal disorder like esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some studies have demonstrated the improvement of headache following the treatment of gastrointestinal disorder with acid reducers. Why should a digestive ailment cause migraine at the end? Read to understand the connection.

Headache is one of the common reasons for regular visits to a health care centre. Unfortunately, in some cases, despite the use of medicines for migraines, and other treatment measures, the causes of migraine cannot be determined, and only symptoms are treated. In such cases, patients experience decreased quality of life and therefore forced to visit neurologic centres.

Does POTS explain the connection?

Have you ever heard about postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)? It is an autonomic medical condition during which a little amount of blood return to heart while shifting your body from a lying to a standing posing. A health complication associated with this condition is an increased susceptibility to gastrointestinal ailments such as GERD. So, if you are suffering from POTs, then you may be more likely to develop GERD accompanied by headaches that may worsen on the occurrence of an acid reflux bout. POTS likely to affect both males and females between the ages of 15 to 50 and often occurs immediately after a viral infection, major surgery, or trauma. However, every individual who has GERD and has migraine might not be necessarily be affected with POTS.

Can bad digestion be the culprit?

If you are not someone who is suffering from POTS as explained above, they might have a different cause of migraine. Let’s check another possibility for headaches.

When you develop GERD, your stomach’s acidity is usually low, which greatly affects digestion. In people with low acidity, digestion does not occur efficiently. This is because H.pylori organisms have overgrown in an environment where they shouldn’t be any bacteria. The bacteria play a role in the fermentation of food that should be digested and produce large amounts of noxious gases, which further increase pressure in the stomach, leading to bloating.  These gases also put pressure on lower esophageal splinters or LES, a muscular valve that guards the entrance of the esophagus into the stomach and forces it to open upwards, which allow the flow of acid stomach contents inside the esophagus, causing heartburn. Normally, LES enables the entry of swallowed food into the stomach and does not backflow of stomach contents. These harmful gases spread throughout the body fluids and sinuses and enter our brain and expand. Expansion of these noxious gases puts pressure on the walls of the brain, causing headaches. These bouts of headaches persist until these gases are eliminated from the body system. This theory also explains why you experience bouts of headaches during the progression of acid reflux. Acid reducers may improve gastrointestinal disorder GERD.

Also Read: 5 Home Remedies to Deal with a Migraine

Can a pill for migraine provide relief?

Unfortunately, common pain relief medications such as aspirin and NSAIDs can make your GERD worse. Moreover, the best way to get relief is to counter the causes of headaches, which may gastrointestinal disorders. As mentioned above, GERD is caused by low stomach acid. Due to low stomach acidity, colonization of harmful bacteria like H.Pylori, (known to cause GERD) takes place in the stomach. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can also make your GERD worse. Removal of H.pylori and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth as well as balancing the gut flora (useful bacteria) helps to provide relief from GERD. Moreover, regulating acid production with acid reducers along with diet and lifestyle changes may also help to treat the gastrointestinal condition. Stress management also plays a key role in limiting GERD. Remember, a healthy gut allows you to reach the gateway to lasting health and wellness. Keeping your digestion healthy means keeping your body healthy.

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Amelia Smith

Nutritionist, herbalist, health and medicine writer and yoga enthusiast, Amelia Smith, is a professional in the health, nutrition and diet industry.
Tags: Acid reducers, Acidity, causes of migraine, medicines for migraines, migraine