One of the most frustrating feelings our bodies can experience is the feeling of constipation. You want to poop, you have to poop, but no matter how hard you try or how much quality time you spend with your toilet seat, you can't get anything to come out. Our bodies sometimes don't make sense, and our stomaches can be the biggest mystery of them all, since it makes it have to burp, fart, and poop, sometimes at the most inconvenient of times.
But one common side effect of constipation, besides feeling bloated and nauseous, is getting a gnarly headache that doesn't seem to go away so fast. If you've ever wondered why that's happening, Dr. Mashfika Alam, a family physician, says it's because of a number of things.
"A constipated body draws up a lot of water to soften the bowel, leading to dehydration, which can cause a decreased blood flow to the brain, hence the headache," Dr. Alam says.
The second reason has to do with our determination to push our poop out as fast as we possibly can. "Secondly, if the stool is hard, one needs to strain hard, which if done often or too forcefully can cause headaches," he says.
Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, says that while constipation and headaches sometimes go hand in hand, it may be a sign that something more serious is going on.
"Generally speaking, constipation and a headache are related to different issues and can be treated differently," Backe says. "However, when they occur in combination, you should take note as your body may be trying to deal with an underlying issue that you might otherwise have been unaware of up until then."
Those issues, Backe mentions, can include the possibility of having fibromyalgia, celiac disease, or chronic fatigue syndrome.
"If you're experiencing both relatively close together or at the same time, it's best to consult a doctor regarding the possibility that you may be suffering from one of these ailments," Backe says.
So how do we battle constipation and those stubborn headaches that come with it? Dr. Alam says it's important to keep your bowels soft and regular.
"Drink plenty of sugarless fluids and stay hydrated," Dr. Alam says. "Eat fiber-rich food and less sugar and carbonated beverages. Try to limit caffeine and nicotine intake as much as you can. Also, eat a healthy and heavy breakfast. Getting in some light exercises can also help maintain a heathy regular bowel movement."