Why do I get a headache before a large bowel movement?
by searcherrr, Jul 17, 2010
I've had this issue for the past 4-5 years. I'm overweight 256lbs, 34, 5'7". I don't have problems going to the bathroom. I have normal bm's everyday and I guess I over eat. Anyway, I find it odd to have a headache before a medium to large size BM, but its there and happens all the time. Earlier the headache I had was pretty bad and as soon as I went to the bathroom and had my BM it went away just like usual. Whats the deal with this? Should I be concerned about some bigger problem?
Related Discussions
Member Comments (8)
by Dr SantosBlank, Jul 21, 2010
How are you? Exertion headaches may be experienced during or following physical exertion like running, jumping, or sexual intercourse and also with passive exertion such as sneezing, coughing, or moving the bowels.  Majority are related to migraine or cluster headaches while around 10% can be due to organic diseases. This includes aneurysms, tumors, or blood vessel malformation. If it persists, you may need to have this checked to determine the underlying cause.  Take care and best regards.
by searcherrr, Jul 26, 2010
Thank you doctor, but forgive me as I don't think I was clear enough. There is no exertion. This occurs before I even reach the bathroom, before I attempt the BM. After BM is over headache goes away. Does this information change your answer? Thanks.
by Dr SantosBlank, Jul 26, 2010
Thank you for the clarification. Does the headache appear every time there is an urge to go to the toilet? If there is relief with bowel movement, it is also likely that the complex signals prior to the activity is already in place and therefore, related. At this point, we can observe and  try prophylactic pain medication prior to any bowel movement. But if it persists, I still would suggest further evaluation be done to rule out the differentials mentioned above. Take care and do keep us posted.
by kolet22, Sep 26, 2010
I just want to let you know that I have been having the exact same problem for the last few months. I guess my main difference is that I have suffered from Migraines for years as well. But I feel like a regular Migraine and the Headache/Migraine I get before needing to make a bowel movement are very different. I have a neurologist appt this week for this issue, I will let you know what she says! Have you had any change since your last post?

by searcherrr, Sep 28, 2010
I would be very interested to hear your findings/progress. The problem still happens and the bigger the "payload" (we'll call it - lol) loaded in the bowel before the BM happens, the bigger the headache.

I was hoping the doctor would suggest this theory I have in mind, but the medical community seems to not acknowledge "Leaky Bowel Syndrome" (LBS) and I am thinking this could be a cause of my headaches pre-BM. With LBS it is said that your bowels/intestines become porous leaking digestive fluids/foods, waste, etc.. directly into the body. If there is a pressure change in the bowel from a full bowel waiting to expel and LBS is present (if LBS is really even possible), it makes logical sense to me due to a "leak in the plumbing" that the pressure exerted against the bowel walls could cause a pressure change throughout the body, thus causing a "pressure headache".

I have not seen this idea/theory talked about anywhere. I came up with it purely on my own and it may not be likely or possible what I'm saying.

The other theory I have, is that due to muscle contractions getting ready to or "in process of trying to" push the waste out pre-BM, that the muscle contractions may not stop or release until the waste is expelled, thus causing a rise in blood pressure until the waste is expelled, thus causing a headache, especially if you live as a borderline high blood pressure person. I'm usually borderline high blood pressure, with anxiety problems etc.. hyper sensitive, have had candida problems too and I also recently found out we've been living with MOLD growing in our a/c unit air duct system for just over 30 years, so there are a lot of factors to look at.

I have noticed that taking Apple Cider Vinegar raw unfiltered (with the mother in it) seems to make me feel better overall, eliminate better, etc... just feel better because it helps to liquefy toxins and expel them from your body. It also fights off candida. Yogurt with live acidophilus cultures in it helps too. I've read about this stuff all over the place for a long time and was suspect to it, but it really does seem to help with overall general well being. I still get the headaches though, pre-BM.
by MinnesotaMama13, Sep 07, 2012
I could have written your post.  I'm 5'7" and about 250, in the process of losing weight on advice from my dr.  There are many health problems in my family and my own life - family history of colon cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression.  So far I've had a polyp removed from my colon at age 44, been treated for high blood pressure and depression, and been told I'm pre-diabetic, so weight loss is important at this time.  I've noticed this headache/bm connection since childhood.  

I am very regular - you could set your clock by me.  3 times a day, every day, same times.  I've just had my second colonoscopy (had them early) and was told that I have a very redundant colon with many extra loops.  I suppose this could account for my, uh, volume (I don't eat anywhere near what I see come out).  I've looked into redundant colons, and all I see is info on constipation associated with the condition.  Not my problem.

I've noticed it happens more often when I have been dehydrated, or eaten foods containing more salt than I normally eat.  Sometimes it feels more like a sinus headache; usually it comes on like a bolt from the blue, and I don't feel the need to go until I've had the headache for a while.  

I think the food connection may be important.  When waste enters the large intestine, it has already had all the nutrients removed and the colon is just compiling and compacting it for evacuation.  I suppose some of the leftover chemicals that have not been removed by the small intestine could be leaching out, but at the rate and regularity I process, it doesn't sit around in there for long.  

Check you hydration and salt intake.  Yesterday I had a greater than normal intake of salt (processed packaged soup for lunch, commercially produced salsa with dinner).  I know that I was slightly dehydrated as well - I don't always get enough water during the day.
by CitrusMom, Nov 12, 2012
Hi, I have this when I am pregnant only (not really the rest of the time).  It also seems for me that it's related to hydration.  In some ways it mimics the symptoms of a hangover - but of course I'm not drinking when pregnant.  I feel like there must be some muscle or pressure in the region of the bowel which can give you a headache.  Very rarely when I was younger I would have this problem if I didn't go to the bathroom when I had the urge.  All of this said, I am  really most interested in what could possibly be the cause or mechanism.  But hope you all get some relief.  These are really bad headaches for me and leave my pretty debilitated.
by Tanmay428, Jan 31, 2014
Hi, how are u dear now?..After reading ur post I realised that there is someone other who could understand my problem...I am also sufferening from the same problem that u r...plz suggest me what steps u have followed to cure it.. am very frustrated with this problem.
I have this problem if i am unable to do a bm and I forcefully stop that or after a long sleep...but as soon as I return from bm I feel relaxed and headache starts fading...I also used to wonder that is der any hole inside our body that takes out the gas from intestine and straight to my head...and seriously there is a lot of pain in head at that time.