Constipation and headaches: Are they related?

Constipation and headaches are common symptoms. I know that you experienced both. You want to know whether those two are related or not. That’s why you are here, right? I will give you the answer with a good explanation.

Can constipation cause headaches?

can constipation cause headachesThe Answer to the above questions is yes, constipation can cause headaches. The main reason is stress associated with the constipation. Infrequent bowel movements and hard, painful defections can cause lots of stress.

Stress makes your body produce many different hormones. These stress hormones trigger headaches.

The second reason is low blood sugar levels due to lack of regular meals. You can’t have regular meals when you are severely constipated. Your tummy will be bloated and you will feel nauseous. You will try to skip meals. That will reduce your blood glucose levels. This is a trigger factor of headaches.

The third reason is more serious. Some people have dilated blood vessels in the brain. This condition is called cerebral aneurysm. It can run in families. Straining at defecation can rupture the blood vessels. It will cause bleeding into the brain (subarachnoid haemorrhage).

This intracranial bleeding causes sudden severe headaches. A major bleeding can be lethal. If you have a history of aneurysms and get headaches, you should seek immediate medical help.

It is recommended to take a laxative or stool softener to lower the risk if aneurysm rupture.

Chronic constipation can cause urinary tract infection. Headache is a common symptom of bladder infections.

Constipation and headaches can coexist in many medical conditions.


Migraines are a debilitating type of headaches that mainly affects young people. Migraine causes severe, one-sided headaches, visual disturbances, nausea, and headaches.

Some experts believe that straining at defecation can trigger migraines. This article mentions that if you open your mouth when straining on the toilet, you can prevent migraine headaches. I am not convinced about that. In my opinion, constipation is a symptom of migraine, not a cause.

Some people take opioid-containing pain medication such as Panadeine to relieve migraine. These medications can cause severe constipation.


Lack of water in the body is one of the reasons for having hard dry stools. When you are dehydrated, you will also get headaches.

Medication overuse can cause constipation and headaches

Overuse of some medications is one of the common causes of headaches. Codeine containing medications and migraine medications are common triggers. These medications also make you constipated.

Regular use of simple painkillers such Panadol can also cause headaches.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition that mainly affects young people. The main symptoms of the disease are weakness, numbness, visual disturbance, fatigue, memory loss, headaches, and constipation.

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic condition that affects the nervous system. People with this condition suffer from muscle rigidity, incoordination, poor balance, and depression.

Constipation is a very common symptom of Parkinson’s disease. People with this condition also get headaches, mainly due to the stiffness of neck muscles.