woman lying on her couch nauseous from a cluster headache

Why Do Headaches Cause Nausea?

As if having a headache wasn’t bad enough, some headaches are also accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Nausea is the uncomfortable feeling of needing to vomit, dizziness, and general discomfort in the upper stomach. Nausea does not always lead to vomiting, but the feeling itself can be very unsettling. Oftentimes, symptoms of nausea will subside once the headache that is causing it goes away. Here is an explanation of why some headaches cause nausea and the types of headaches that could make you feel nauseous. This article will also discuss ways to relieve nausea symptoms associated with headaches and effective treatment strategies for nausea.

What Can Cause Headaches and Nausea?

Headaches are one cause of nausea, but there are many other factors that can trigger this feeling or make it worse. For example, stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, low blood sugar, and dehydration can all cause both headaches and nausea.3,4 Scientists have not been able to definitively say why certain types of headaches cause nausea. But many researchers and physicians believe that headaches trigger nerves in the brain that cause blood vessels in the brain to get larger. These nerves are connected to bodily signals that cause nausea. Other studies have linked changes in estrogen levels and low levels of serotonin to headache-related nausea.
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Headaches That Make You Feel Nauseous

Migraines are a common type of headache that includes nausea as one of its symptoms. In fact, certain types of headaches are more likely to cause migraines. These include migraines with aura symptoms, abdominal migraines, and cyclic vomiting syndrome.3,4 Although cluster headaches are generally rarer, the intense pain from these severe headaches can make people feel nauseous as well. Cluster headache sufferers typically experience nausea when an attack is occurring. These are repeated, one-sided headaches that are very excruciating.2

Severe Headache and Vomiting Symptoms

In some headache patients, the symptom of nausea actually causes vomiting as well. Migraine headaches are notorious for inducing vomit, as well as causing an upset stomach and abdominal pain while experiencing the headache.3,4 Both nausea and vomiting can occur at all stages of a migraine headache. This means that the abdominal symptoms could potentially persist even after a migraine begins to feel better. This is problematic because vomiting makes it more difficult to keep down headache medication and stay hydrated. For these individuals, alternative delivery systems for medication, such as topical treatments or massage, may need to be explored.

Ways to Relieve Nausea from Headaches

It is important to stay well-hydrated and drink lots of water when experiencing a headache with nausea. This is because dehydration can make symptoms of both conditions worse. Avoid wearing tight or restrictive clothing, and dim the lighting to reduce the risk of other triggers like loud noises. Vanquish is a unique formula with two powerful pain relievers plus a low dose of caffeine to target tension headaches. Once a headache is treated, associated symptoms of nausea will often fade away as well. Small doses of caffeine can be effective in relieving pain, as well as hot and cold compresses.1 While feeling nauseous, stick to bland foods and small meals that aren’t too heavy.4 Since stress makes these symptoms worse, it is advisable to relax, get more rest than usual, and maybe try aromatherapy with soothing scents like peppermint and lavender. Finally, simply stepping outside to get some fresh air may reduce feelings of nausea and make headache sufferers more comfortable. Ultimately, relieving the headache is the best method of ending the nausea.
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Vanquish® is indicated for tension headaches. If you have a cluster headache, sinus headache, migraine headache or any other type of headache you may want to consult a doctor.

References for Why Do Headaches Cause Nausea?

  1. Altabakhi, I. W., & Zito, P. M. (2018, December 2). Acetaminophen/Aspirin/Caffeine. Retrieved on August 22, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513274/
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Cluster Headaches. Retrieved on September 5, 2019 from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/5003-cluster-headaches
  3. Healthline. What’s Causing My Headache and Nausea? Retrieved on September 5, 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/health/headache-and-nausea
  4. Medical News Today. What Causes A Headache With Nausea? Retrieved on September 5, 2019 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322317.php
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