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Migraines And IBS Have Something In Common

Migraines are highly common in North America, and known for the debilitating pain they deliver. Unlike standard headaches, migraines can cause blinding pain, light sensitivity, and even nausea. Those who suffer from them often need to lie down in a dark, quiet room to find relief, and over the counter pain medication rarely works the way that it does on other headache types. The National Center for Biotechnology Information writes; “The association between migraine and functional gastrointestinal disorders has been confirmed by many clinical observations and epidemiological studies. In most patients during the attacks of migraine, apart from various neurological and vascular symptoms, gastrointestinal disturbances occur including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), are reported in migraine patients in periods between the attacks as well.”


IBS and migraines differ in location, but can be brought on by similar stimulants. Irritable bowel syndrome causes upset stomachs, diarrhea, constipation, and other gastrointestinal discomfort.


New information which was announced at the 68th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology suggests that both IBS and migraines could be linked genetically. This information could prove useful in the treatment and preventative measures used in the treatment of both ailments.


More Headaches Than Usual


Headaches can affect anybody, and can be caused by a number of contributing factors, but these latest findings have shown a direct correlation between the number and intensity of headaches individuals suffer and IBS. Those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome may get more frequent migraines and tension headaches than those who do not. Dr. Derya Uluduz from Istanbul University and his team used an experiment to determine just how closely linked the two are. Medical News Today reports on the experiment, saying; “The team assessed the patients with IBS for any incidence of migraine and ETTH, while incidence of IBS was assessed among patients with migraine or ETTH (episodic tension-type headache). Compared with patients who had ETTH, those with migraine were almost twice as likely to have IBS; 54.2% of patients with migraine also had IBS, compared with 28.3% of those with ETTH.”


Other findings throughout the experiment pointed researchers in the direction of a serotonin difference between IBS sufferers and non-IBS sufferers.


Other Similar Ailments


Migraines and IBS aren’t the only two ailments that seem to coincide in many patients. Fibromyalgia is another problem which can present itself in individuals who suffer from IBS. This has lead some research in the area of neuroimmune issues, and whether they might have some hand in the connection of the disorders.


Fortunately, for those who suffer from any of the above, there are effective ways to treat symptoms and relieve pain and discomfort. One of the most common between the three is triptans, which can be used to decrease pain in migraines, but not as a preventative tool.


Other treatments which work for a combination of painful disorders is dietary changes, getting enough sleep, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. Some studies have shown that vitamin intake can also have an effect on the pain.


Types of IBS


Irritable bowel syndrome is often simply referred to as IBS, but the truth is, there are several strains of this disorder. Symptoms vary based on which it is. One such type, spastic colon IBS, causes a frequent and intense need to empty the bowels. This can be highly frustrating for those who work and travel.


Other IBS types include mucous colitis, nervous functional bowel, spastic colitis and nervous diarrhea. Medical professionals will shy away from calling any IBS strain, colitis however, because colitis is its own entirely different disorder. Nursing Times reports; “The symptoms of IBS can fluctuate. There may be times when your symptoms are particularly troublesome and times when you experience no symptoms at all. Although IBS poses no serious threat to health, it can have an adverse effect on a person’s quality of life. The exact causes of IBS are unknown.”


Migraines also come in different shapes and sizes, with some coming on strong and lasting all day, while others hit quick and move on after medicine, or a nap.


Talk To Your Doctor


It is very important to speak to a physician if you feel like you may have symptoms pertaining to migraines or IBS. Having one does not necessarily mean that the other will follow, but recent studies do point to the possibility, so having a thorough checkup to be certain can be helpful.


Before changing medications, starting a new diet, or increasing vitamins, you should have a talk with your doctor about possible treatment options, and preventative measures. IBS has a number of therapeutic treatments, which require very little medication, and include more natural methods to find relief.


Migraines tend to require more serious medication if they are persistent and chronic, but natural methods of prevention can also be used. Lowering caffeine intake, steering clear of fizzy drinks and high sugar ingredients, and lessening alcohol intake can all help reduce migraine frequency and intensity.


For more information on this link, and new research data in the field of migraines and IBS, take a look at some of the educational and science journals updated monthly. Many universities and other research facilities work tirelessly on the subject of migraines and IBS in the hopes of finding a cure, or a treatment that will create effective and long lasting control of the ailments.

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