People with migraines often have stomach problems at the same time. In fact, 8 out of every 10 people in the U.S. with these headaches say they get nausea along with them.
Migraines are the type of headache most likely to make you nauseated. But other causes of head pain can make your stomach upset, too. Whatever type you have, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. She can figure out the cause and the best treatment to help you.
Sudden and strong, like a clap of thunder, these headaches hit you with a blast of severe pain and can reach their peak in just 60 seconds. You may feel relief in about an hour. But sometimes, the pain can last up to 10 days.
What Headaches Other Than Migraines Can Cause Nausea?
Cold, flu, or stomach flu. These viral illnesses can give you nausea and a bad headache. But unlike migraines, you’ll usually have other symptoms, too, like a runny nose, diarrhea, chills, body aches, and fever.
Meningitis. A severe headache that causes nausea and extreme sensitivity to light may sound like a migraine. But if you also have a very stiff neck, with or without a fever, it could be meningitis.
Cluster headache. Nausea isn’t a typical symptom of these intense, one-sided headaches like it is for migraines. But some evidence suggests it can happen for some people who get them.
When you’re getting a diagnosis, your doctor will ask about your specific symptoms and how often they happen. Those details will help her figure out if your headache and nausea are migraine-related or due to another illness.
How Are Migraines and Nausea Related?
One theory involves a brain chemical called serotonin. Scientists think migraines happen when certain nerves in the brain signal blood vessels on the brain's surface to enlarge. What else makes them swell? Low levels of serotonin, which are also linked to motion sickness and nausea. It's possible that people with low levels of serotonin may be more likely to have migraines.
Some folks are more likely to get nausea with a migraine, like women and people who are prone to motion sickness.
Certain types of migraines are more likely to cause nausea or vomiting than others. These include:
Migraine with or without aura. Those without aura cause severe head pain, vision problems, vertigo, sensitivity to light, and nausea. People who have migraines with aura typically have warning symptoms 20 minutes to 1 hour before the headache begins, like vision problems and dizziness.