More on celiac, bowels, and headaches

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity is known to cause or at least increase the frequency of migraine headaches. The recently published study in journal Headache by doctors from Columbia University and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City examined records of 502 individuals in an attempt to find out the frequency of headaches in these conditions. They looked at records of 188 patients with celiac disease, 111 with inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, 25 with gluten sensitivity and compared these to 178 healthy controls. Chronic headaches were reported by 30% of celiac disease, 56% of gluten sensitivity, 23% of inflammatory bowel disease, and 14% of control subjects. Migraine headaches were more common in women and those with anxiety and depression. The severity of the impact of migraine headaches was worst in celiac patients – 72% reported it to be severe, while this number was 60% in those with gluten sensitivity and 30 % with inflammatory bowel disease.
This study confirms previous observations that celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are associated with increased frequency of migraine headaches. The difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity was well described in this WSJ aritcle.

  1. Dr. Mauskop says: 12/28/201211:58 pm

    Straining during a bowel movement can trigger a headache in susceptible individuals, although when someone has such a headache for the first time a neurological evaluation is necessary. If nothing serious is found, avoiding constipation is the way to prevent these headaches. Constipation by itself can trigger headaches in some individuals, possibly due to absorption of toxins from the stool into the blood stream.

  2. gladys says: 12/28/20122:28 pm

    I have been having headaches for the past 3 days once i had a bowel, i got hit with a headache that felt like someone kicked me on my head….the 3rd day, I thought headache subsided until I had another bowel and the same symptoms occurred. I am a diabetic and thought it could have been my sugar intakes..but I took my count and sugar level wasn’t high, I’m concerned as well as afraid to have a bowel.

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