Friday, March 31, 2023

What Causes Headaches And Nausea

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Immediate Action Required: Phone 999 If:

Sinus Headaches: Causes & Treatment
  • your headache occurs suddenly and is very severe it may feel like a blinding pain
  • your headache occurs after a severe head injury

You have an extremely painful headache and:

  • slurred speech or memory loss
  • a very high temperature, feel hot and shivery, and have a stiff neck or a rash
  • drowsiness or confusion
  • severe pain and redness in one of your eyes

Types Of Migraine And Headaches That Can Cause Nausea

Part of the diagnostic criteria for determining if someone has a migraine headache versus another type of headache are the presence of unilateral head pains , nausea and vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound, Dr. Segil says. The thing is, most migraines, including the ones without a visual component, cause nausea and vomiting, so deciphering which type you have may not be easy.

That said, here are the types of migraine that are most likely to make you feel queasy:

Often when people think of migraine, they envision the type that comes with a warning. Thats technically called a migraine with aura because it involves visual disturbances that alert you to an impending attack. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these are actually less common, only affecting about 15 to 20% of people with migraine.

Migraine without aura, on the other hand, is more common and accounts for approximately 70 to 75% of people with migraine, according to the American Migraine Foundation. The part to remember here is that nausea and vomiting are common with both, but Dr. Schim says it does not seem to be worse with one compared to the other.

Vestibular migraines pack a one-two punch. Not only can you experience nausea and throbbing head pain, but your balance can also take a hit, along with fun sidekicks like dizziness and vertigo . Another fun sensation to watch out for is feeling like youre falling down even though youre sitting still.

You Also Have A Stiff Neck Or High Fever

If you have a headache and a fever, you may think its the flu. But add in the telltale symptom of a stiff neck, and you may have meningitis.

The infection, which can be bacterial or viral, affects the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. The swelling of these membranes is what can trigger a headache and stiff neck. You may also have nausea, vomiting or even seizures if you have meningitis. Although meningitis is hard to diagnose because it can mimic other infections, if you have a headache along with these other symptoms, its best to get checked by your doctor.

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Which Children Are At Risk For Headaches

A child is more at risk for headaches if he or she has any of the following:

  • Recurrent episodes of vomiting without nausea or other signs of a stomach virus

  • A very young child with a headache

  • A child that is awakened by the pain of a headache

The symptoms of headaches can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

Urgent Advice: Get An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Call 111 If:

Headache And Nausea And Dizziness

You or your child has a severe headache and:

  • jaw pain when eating
  • other symptoms, such as numbness or weakness in the arms or legs

Also get an urgent GP appointment or call 111 if your child is under 12 and has any 1 of the following:

  • a headache that wakes them at night
  • a headache when they wake up in the morning
  • a headache that gets progressively worse
  • a headache triggered or made worse by coughing, sneezing or bending down
  • a headache with vomiting
  • a headache with a squint or an inability to look upward

Also Check: How To Relieve Tension Headache Naturally

Conditions That Cause Headaches And Nausea

Many other types of conditions and headaches can also cause nausea and vomiting. They include:

  • Cluster headaches
  • Headaches accompanied by any type of viral infection such as flu
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Pre-menstrual syndrome

Some of these conditions act as triggers for migraines too. It often becomes difficult to understand if the nausea is being caused by a migraine or it is triggering the migraine. Only an expert headache doctor can determine what you are going through and determine the reasons behind recurring nausea and vomiting.

Headaches and nausea may also be a sign of some serious medical ailment that requires immediate medical attention. Consult your pain management doctor to know more about what could be causing these headaches and accompanying nausea to get lasting relief.

What Are The Symptoms Of Migraines

The primary symptom of migraine is a headache. Pain is sometimes described as pounding or throbbing. It can begin as a dull ache that develops into pulsing pain that is mild, moderate or severe. If left untreated, your headache pain will become moderate to severe. Pain can shift from one side of your head to the other, or it can affect the front of your head, the back of your head or feel like its affecting your whole head. Some people feel pain around their eye or temple, and sometimes in their face, sinuses, jaw or neck.

Other symptoms of migraine headaches include:

  • Sensitivity to light, noise and odors.
  • Nausea and vomiting, upset stomach and abdominal pain.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Feeling very warm or cold .
  • Pale skin color .

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What Causes Migraine With Nausea And Vomiting

The who and why of migraine attacks are already a bit of a mystery, but symptoms can be Clue level head-scratchers. Even though nausea tops the list of migraine symptoms for many people, why this happens is not clear-cut. The good news is experts have a few theories that shed light on the link between migraine and nausea.

A migraine commonly includes things like nausea, but sometimes vomiting and diarrhea too. Jack Schim, M.D., F.A.H.S., F.A.A.N., co-director of the Neurology Center of Southern California, tells SELF that experts think at least part of this is due to migraine affecting different brainstem areas involved in autonomic functionsthe things your body just does automaticallysuch as digestion. The idea is that migraine attacks irritate the nerves that activate this system, triggering those not-so-fun symptoms.

Another theory according to Medhat Mikhael, M.D., pain management specialist and medical director of the non-operative program at the Orange Coast Medical Centers Spine Health Center, is that migraine decreases serotonin levels in the brain, which is believed to contribute to nausea. Serotonin is generally known as the happy chemical keeping our mood on an even keel . So, its no surprise that a decrease in our feel-good chemicals could have noticeable side effects. Dr. Mikhael also says that a decrease in serotonin can trigger motion sickness, another uneasy feeling.

How Is Abdominal Migraine Diagnosed

Headache – Overview (types, signs and symptoms, treatment)

There is currently no test to confirm abdominal migraine. Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on specific criteria that details the type, frequency, and severity of symptoms associated with abdominal migraine. The diagnosis will typically be made only after all other causes of abdominal pain have been ruled out.

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How Are Migraines Diagnosed

To diagnose a migraine, your healthcare provider will get a thorough medical history, not just your history of headaches but your familys, too. Also, they’ll want to establish a history of your migraine-related symptoms, likely asking you to:

  • Describe your headache symptoms. How severe are they?
  • Remember when you get them. During your period, for example?
  • Describe the type and location of your pain. Is the pain pounding? Pulsing? Throbbing?
  • Remember if anything makes your headache better or worse.
  • Tell how often you get migraine headaches.
  • Talk about the activities, foods, stressors or the situations that may have brought on the migraine.
  • Discuss what medications you take to relieve the pain and how often you take them.
  • Tell how you felt before, during and after the headache.
  • Remember if anyone in your family gets migraine headaches.

Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests and imaging tests to make sure there are no other causes for your headache. An electroencephalogram may be ordered to rule out seizures.

It Comes On Suddenly And Severely

A brain aneurysm occurs when weak blood vessels in the brain start expanding or ballooning out. Usually they dont cause symptoms, although if they get very big, they can cause headaches. But a ruptured aneurysm which occurs when the ballooned vessel pops and leaks blood around the brain, can cause a massive, sudden headache.

The classic presentation is the worst headache of your life, says Jonathan J. Russin, MD, a neurosurgeon at Keck Medicine of USC and assistant professor of clinical neurological surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. They call it a thunder clap headache.

It may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, weakness or drowsiness. If you experience a major headache like this, call 911 immediately.

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Certain Types Of Cancer

Colon cancer, lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, and some other types may cause gastric symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation. Some forms of cancer may go undiagnosed until gastric symptoms occur.

Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can also cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Let your doctor know if your symptoms are accompanied by:

Your doctor can diagnose lactose intolerance with a hydrogen breath test. Avoiding foods containing lactose is the best way to avoid symptoms.

Medication And Painkiller Headaches

New Treatment Provides New Hope For Migraine Sufferers

Some headaches are a side effect of taking a particular medication. Frequent headaches can also be caused by taking too many painkillers. This is known as a painkiller or medication-overuse headache.

A medication-overuse headache will usually get better within a few weeks once you stop taking the painkillers that are causing it. But, pain may get worse for a few days before it starts to improve.

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Primary Headache Disorders Including Migraine

Primary headaches occur independently and are not caused by another medical condition. A cascade of events that affect blood vessels and nerves inside and outside the head causes pain signals to be sent to the brain. Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters are involved in creating head pain, as are changes in nerve cell activity.

Primary headache disorders are divided into four main groups:

  • trigeminal autonomic cephalgias
  • miscellaneous primary headache


Migraine headaches are characterized by recurrent attacks of moderate to severe throbbing and pulsating pain on one side of the head. The pain is caused by the activation of nerve fibers that reside within the wall of brain blood vessels traveling within the meninges.

Untreated attacks last from 4 to 72 hours. Other common symptoms are increased sensitivity to light, noise, and odors and nausea and vomiting. Routine physical activity, movement, or even coughing or sneezing can worsen the headache pain.

Migraines occur most frequently in the morning, especially upon waking. Some people have migraines at predictable times, such as before menstruation or on weekends following a stressful week of work. Many people feel exhausted or weak following a migraine but are usually symptom-free between attacks.

A number of different factors can increase your risk of having a migraine. These factors, which trigger the headache process, vary from person to person and include:

Phases of Migraine.

Other types of migraine include:

What Are The Treatment Options

A number of things can ease migraine with nausea. They include:

Lifestyle changes.Stress is a common trigger for nauseating migraine headaches. Find ways to cut it, and your attacks could get less severe and happen less often. What else helps? Quit smoking, and keep a diary to identify any foods that trigger your headaches. Common culprits include chocolate and alcohol.

Medications. Your doctor might prescribe drugs to prevent migraine headaches, to stop them once they’ve started, and to relieve your symptoms.

You can also take anti-nausea medications during your headache. They come in different forms, like pills, suppositories, syrups, and shots. They have a number of side effects, so work with your doctor to find one that works for you.

Complementary treatments. Some evidence shows that biofeedback and acupuncture may help ease migraine and related symptoms, such as nausea.

Show Sources

National Headache Foundation: “American Migraine Study II: A Ten Year Report Card on the State of Migraine,â “Migraine,” âMenstrual Migraine,â âGlaucoma.”

American Academy of Family Physicians, “Headaches,” “Management of Cluster Headache,â âFood Poisoning.”

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Migraine.”

Vestibular Disorders Association: “Vestibular migraine.”

American Hearing Research Foundation: “Migraine Associated Vertigo.”

American Headache Society: “Migraine Variants in Children.”

News release, FDA.

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Constant Headaches And Nausea

Constant headaches, when accompanied by nausea, may not be a good indicator for your health. Both the signs are common, but if they are a constant occurrence then it might affect your health badly. Read more to know about the possible causes behind these problems.

Constant headaches, when accompanied by nausea, may not be a good indicator for your health. Both the signs are common, but if they are a constant occurrence then it might affect your health badly. Read more to know about the possible causes behind these problems.

Statistics say

In most cases, headache and nausea may go hand-in-hand. Further, these two conditions have a close connection, as headaches could lead to nausea, and vice versa. To start off, nausea is a feeling of uneasiness and discomfort in the stomach and head. It is coupled with a strong urge to vomit. It is not a sickness, but a symptom of several conditions.

Talking about headaches, there are different types of headaches which have a variety of causes and conditions. Headaches normally involve mild or severe pain in different parts of the head, including the back of the neck. Normally, headaches could occur due to minor reasons, though at times, they may be indicative of a major health problem.

Causes of Constant Headaches and Nausea

Now, there are umpteen reasons for this condition and the causes can be difficult to pinpoint. Take a look at the reasons for constant headache and nausea.

Common Causes

How Are Headaches Treated

Headache and Vomiting (Medical Symptom)

One of the most crucial aspect of treating headaches is figuring out your triggers. Learning what those are typically by keeping a headache log can reduce the number of headaches you have.

Once you know your triggers, your healthcare provider can tailor treatment to you. For example, you may get headaches when youre tense or worried. Counseling and stress management techniques can help you handle this trigger better. By lowering your stress level, you can avoid stress-induced headaches.

Not every headache requires medication. A range of treatments is available. Depending on your headache type, frequency and cause, treatment options include:

Stress management

Stress management teaches you ways to cope with stressful situations. Relaxation techniques are helpful in managing stress. You use deep breathing, muscle relaxation, mental images and music to ease your tension.


Biofeedback teaches you to recognize when tension is building in your body. You learn how your body responds to stressful situations and ways to settle it down. During biofeedback, sensors are connected to your body. They monitor your involuntary physical responses to headaches, which include increases in:

  • Breathing rate.
  • Brain activity.


Occasional tension headaches usually respond well to over-the-counter pain relievers. But be aware that using these medications too often can lead to a long-term daily headache.

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When To Worry About A Headache: 7 Most Serious Symptoms

Here’s how you’ll KNOW when to worry about a headache.

Headaches are often treated like taxes or bad weather: a minor annoyance that we just have to put up with.

Thankfully, most headaches aren’t serious. But what do you do when you have one that is particularly painful or continues to interrupt your daily life?

There are more than 150 different kinds of headaches. It can be difficult to know if what you’re experiencing is normal or a warning sign that something more serious is going on.

Read on to learn more about when to worry about a headache.

  • Recurring HeadachesChronic headaches are defined as headaches that occur 15 days or more a month for longer than three months. They can disrupt your daily life and be difficult to manage without medical advice.Seek medical care if you are regularly having two or more headaches a week and the symptoms are interfering with your daily activities. There are many possible underlying causes. These range from simple tension headaches to serious problems with the brain.Your doctor will be able to determine the most likely cause and the best course of treatment. They will help you identify your headache triggers and make changes in your daily routine to reduce your symptoms.

Get help immediately.

Seeking Treatment for Your Headache

Headaches can range from annoying to debilitating, but you don’t have to suffer. Knowing when to worry about a headache is the first step toward your best health.


Who Gets Migraines What Are The Risk Factors

Its difficult to predict who may get a migraine and who may not, but there are risk factors that may make you more vulnerable. These risk factors include:

  • Genetics: Up to 80% of people who get migraine headaches have a first-degree relative with the disease.
  • Gender. Migraine headaches happen to women more than men, especially women between the ages of 15 and 55. Its likely more common in women because of the influence of hormones.
  • Stress level. You may get migraines more often if youre high-stress. Stress can trigger a migraine.

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