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Home arrow Health arrow Gut Health arrow Can Constipation Cause Headaches?

Can Constipation Cause Headaches?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 15, 2023
3 min read 1602 Views 0 Comments
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Suffering from constipation and headaches can be challenging, but with the right prevention methods, you can stop experiencing those uncomfortable symptoms.

can constipation cause headaches

There are many factors that contribute to difficult bowel movements. 

Medication side effects, dehydration, and lack of fiber in your diet are just a few of those factors. People experience different levels of constipation that depend on their body. For some, they might have headaches that disrupt their daily schedules.

Constipation puts a lot of stress on the body, so it’s no surprise that headaches derive from that tension. You can follow simple treatment methods, like drinking more water and eating more fiber-based foods, to aid those bowel movements. 

So, let’s take a look at whether constipation actually causes headaches.

Can Constipation Cause Headaches?

Severe constipation can indirectly cause headaches due to the tension in your body. 

The stress of experiencing uncomfortable symptoms can usually trigger a tension headache. However, straining to move your bowels can also give you severe exertional head pain. People with irritable bowel syndrome are most likely to suffer from those horrible symptoms.

Even though headaches may derive from stress, they can also be a sign of underlying medical conditions. Experiencing constipation and headaches at the same time could point toward chronic fatigue syndrome. This often leads to gut inflammation and head pain from tiredness.

Celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome are other medical conditions. The bowel is easily triggered by certain foods that struggle to pass through the system properly. These conditions will also cause constipation and headaches, so it’s important to watch out for the symptoms.

Types of Headaches

There are many types of headaches people can experience – some being more painful than others. Here are four examples of common head pain. 


One of the most painful headaches is a migraine. People who experience migraine pain will often be sensitive to light and struggle to move without feeling nauseous. It’s said that young women are most at risk of developing migraines, and there is sadly no cure to get rid of them.


A tension headache will cause you to feel a dull, aching sensation all over your head. Neck and shoulder tenderness is another symptom of this head pain. Stress is usually the main cause of tension headaches, which is why constipation can easily trigger it. 


Cluster headaches can give you intense pain in or around one eye. The pain is often severe burning that can cause swelling, redness, and sweating on your face. A “cluster” refers to the waves of pain that can last from 15 minutes to 3 hours. 


Exertion headaches usually occur during or after intense physical activity. This is due to the narrowing of blood vessels in the skull. People report feeling a throbbing pain in the head or double vision that causes them to feel nauseous. 

What Can Cause Headaches?

Changes in sleeping patterns, depression, medication, neck strain, and emotional stress are just a few common factors. The head is very sensitive, as there are nerves that travel from the back of the neck to the forehead. A chronic migraine disorder usually runs in the family. 

Some people naturally have more sensitive heads that make it hard for them to do regular physical activity. It’s important to speak to a doctor if you’re concerned about a headache. Seek professional medical advice that may lead you to possible head examinations. 

If you have celiac disease or gastrointestinal disorders, you might experience stress headaches. The stress in your body usually exerts the pain somewhere else. Medication should help treat uncomfortable symptoms that cause a primary headache.

Why Does Constipation Cause Headaches?

Chronic constipation isn’t always the reason for headaches. 

Your body could be dehydrated, or you’re straining to pass stool. The bowel movement itself won’t trigger pain inside of your head. Treating your constipation should help clear any headaches.

However, your body is already under a lot of stress from trying to ease your bowel movement, so it’s possible that you’re feeling tension. Stress can affect many areas in your body that you might not even realize. Some of these areas might be your neck, shoulders, and back.

How to Prevent Constipation

You can fuel your body with the right nutrition and liquids to prevent constipation. Drinking plenty of water can hydrate your gut. 

It’s recommended that men drink 15 cups of water a day, and women should have around 11 cups. This is a great way of energizing your body. 

A well-balanced diet that has plenty of fiber will also help you pass stool easily. People who get regular constipation should eat between 18 and 30 grams of fiber a day. Dietary fiber softens your stool, which makes it easier to pass through your system. 

Exercise could be another way to prevent chronic constipation. Regular physical activity can lower the time it takes for food to move through the large intestine. Your body won’t absorb water from your stool if it quickly exits your system. 

Finally, you can also make use of a number of dietary supplements that promote gut health. Most of them can be taken with water before or after meals to stimulate digestion.

A Word From Nutritionist

Headaches and constipation don’t always link.

It’s possible that you’re suffering from dehydration or a lack of fiber in your diet. Both of these can have damaging effects on your gut health, so make sure to drink water and eat plenty of fiber-based foods. Migraine attacks can also occur from dehydration.

People with irritable bowel syndrome can also suffer from horrible constipation. They may have cramping, abdominal pain, and bloating. These symptoms may indirectly cause headaches.

Of course, straining from passing stool can trigger a tension-type headache. If you’re struggling to pass stool or it’s causing significant pain, then you should speak to a healthcare provider. A medical professional can help get the right treatment for any headache disorders.

Headaches and constipation can be a challenge to both prevent and treat. The body has a natural way of doing things, which is why you need to take care of it. Eat healthy fruit and vegetables, and keep a diary of how much water you drink throughout the day.


Both constipation and headaches can be caused by the same common symptoms. A primary headache can derive from straining, so try to avoid doing that. 

It’s not usually a cause for concern, but it’s still good to talk to a doctor if you experience migraine symptoms regularly. Take good care of your body, and it will surely return the favor.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 15, 2023
3 min read 1602 Views 0 Comments

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