Does Constipation Cause Headache?

Constipation might be one of the causes of headaches. You have heard it right; many people with constipation also complain of headaches.

Headaches and constipation can develop due to underlying conditions. If you experience headaches due to constipation, you may think of your bowel as a culprit. It’s still not understood if headaches are a result of constipation. The relationship between these two symptoms has not been explored much. Let’s understand constipation headaches in detail. 

Is constipation a contributing factor to headaches?

Both headaches and constipation are very common ailments. If you experience them simultaneously, you may wonder if these two conditions are related, although constipation doesn’t cause trouble. Constipation is one of the most frustrating problems. You want to poop but can’t get anything to come out despite spending quality time in the toilet and trying hard. You might already know the side effects of constipation, including bloating and nausea, but might not be aware of headaches sometimes accompanied by nausea that doesn’t seem to go away so fast.

Can constipation cause headaches? Indirectly, stress from being constipated for several days may trigger a headache. Constipation, nausea headaches may last a few minutes or longer. It is important to first treat constipation with diet and lifestyle changes along with medicines for constipation and then encounter the symptoms of headaches. There are severe types of headaches, including tension headaches, constipation migraine, cluster headaches, and chronic headaches. The symptoms of headache vary depending on the type of headache. The most common type of headache is tension-type which occurs with symptoms like pressure or tightness that feels like a band around the head. Tension-type headaches are often accompanied by neck pain.

Migraines are the next most common headaches. Migraine headache symptoms may vary but include one-sided head pain often accompanied by nausea. Some people with migraine may also experience light-headedness and visual disturbances. Migraine headache treatment works best when used at the first sign of an oncoming migraine as soon as symptoms begin. Studies conclude that successful treatment of constipation can improve tension headaches and migraine headache symptoms. However, they could not recognize whether constipation contributes to headaches or whether constipation and headache are symptoms of the same underlying cause. Often both migraine and constipation occur as a result of not having an adequate amount of fluids or following a balanced diet. 

Symptoms that trigger Headache and Constipation

Normally, people have bowel movements regularly, and stools pass out easily without discomfort. The normal frequency of bowel movements varies from person to person, and research studies suggest that about 95% of adults have a pattern ranging from three times a day to three times a week. Whereas, in the case of constipation, bowel movements either are less likely than expected, or the stool is dry, hard, and difficult to pass. Why does constipation cause headaches? In most cases, constipation headache is not associated with a digestive disorder or other illness. The problem is more commonly due to diet, lifestyle habits, and medications that harden the stool or interfere with bowel movements and the ability to pass stools comfortably. Here are some common triggers that trigger both headaches and constipation in adults: 

  • A diet low in fiber
  • Not drinking enough water 
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Ignoring the bowel movements 
  • Laxative overuse
  • Travelling and scheduling factors
  • Medication side effects
  • Pain or discomfort around the anus

Conditions that cause both headaches and constipation

Headache and constipation are two ailments that can be symptoms of another underlying medical threat. Premenstrual syndrome is a common cause of headaches and constipation in women. Fibromyalgia, a painful muscular disorder, may also be the culprit. People with fibromyalgia are likely to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is associated with the simultaneous occurrence of headaches and constipation. Chronic fatigue syndrome is another example of a possible cause of headaches. People with celiac disease, a condition in which gluten from food triggers an immune response that causes damage to the intestine. Some evidence shows people with chronic gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS and celiac disease are more prone to experience migraine and constipation. Medicines for constipation are used to soften hard and dry stools. One can consider medicinal treatment to counter constipation symptoms.


Without consulting a doctor, it may be difficult to determine the cause of frequent constipation and headaches. In the short term may be able to treat your constipation with laxatives, stool softeners, and other over-the-counter medicines for constipation. However, it is wise to check with a doctor about your over-the-counter treatment to be sure it’s safe. Your doctor may help you determine the cause of your ailments and prescribe medicines accordingly. You may get medication for constipation to eliminate the discomfort that comes while passing stools. Once constipation-free, you will automatically get relief from the side effects of a constipation headache. 


Headache and constipation can sometimes develop at the same time. In some people, these symptoms may share the same underlying condition. Treating the underlying problem can help you get rid of the symptoms. In some cases, constipation headaches may occur as a side effect of a medicine. Headaches due to constipation may result from stress caused by being constipated for a long. One should see a health care specialist if they experience a persistent or recurrent constipation migraine headache. Your healthcare specialist will suggest the best constipation headache remedy for you. 

Also Read: 5 Tips to Improve Digestive System