Headaches are very common and most people will experience one from time to time. They are manifested with pain or discomfort in or around your head, including your scalp, neck, or sinuses. However, sometimes a headache may be accompanied by nausea, which is the feeling of needing to vomit, and a number of health issues can be a cause to this.
Nausea and headache are very common symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. Even though there are many factors which can trigger nausea, for example, food poisoning, stress, anxiety, etc., headaches may affect nauseous feelings as well.
Despite not being able to give an exact answer to why certain types of headaches cause nausea, many researchers and physicians believe that headaches trigger nerves in the brain that make blood vessels in the brain enlarged. These nerves are connected to bodily signals that lead to nausea. While other studies have associated low levels of serotonin and changes in estrogen levels to headache-related nausea.
However, to gain a deeper insight into the relation between nausea and headache, let’s see what triggers them and how to prevent and treat these two symptoms.
Nausea and headache causes
There are many causes which trigger both nausea and headache, but the most common one is migraine, which is a recurring type of headache that can cause debilitating pain. Except for nausea, migraines can also cause other symptoms, including dizziness and sensitivity to light. Migraines are often preceded by a visual or sensory disturbance, called an aura.
According to Healthline, other conditions linked to nausea and headache include dehydration and low blood sugar. Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, whereas low blood sugar may develop for various reasons, including taking too much medication, excessive alcohol consumption, severe liver or kidney disease, hormonal deficiencies, and long-term starvation. Even diabetes can lead to low blood sugar, due to too much insulin intake.
Consuming too much alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine can also cause headache and nausea.
Other conditions that can lead to nausea and headache include:
– stress or anxiety
– food allergies
– food poisoning
– early pregnancy
– scarlet fever
– high blood pressure
– diabetic ketoacidosis
– infections, such as the common cold or flu
– strep throat
– skull fractures
– alcohol withdrawal delirium
– labyrinthitis (an inner ear disorder)
– malignant hypertension (arteriolar nephrosclerosis)
– poisoning due to black widow spider venom (black widow spider bites)
– anthrax (a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis.)
– carbon monoxide poisoning
– end-stage kidney disease
– adult brain tumor
– brain abscess
– brain aneurysm
– traumatic brain injuries, such as concussion or subdural hematoma
– low blood sodium (hyponatremia)
– toxic shock syndrome
– acute mountain sickness
– stomach flu (gastroenteritis)
– premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
– menstrual period
Nausea and headache prevention
Even though some cases of nausea and headache are hard to prevent, you can try a few things to lower your chances of experiencing nausea and headache, such as:
– Stay well-hydrated.
– Get enough sleep.
– Follow a well-balanced diet.
– Don’t consume too much caffeine or alcohol.
– Wear a seatbelt while traveling in motor vehicles and protective headgear while riding your bike or participating in contact sports, to reduce your risk of head injury.
– Avoid your migraine triggers.
When should you seek medical help?
Usually, mild to moderate episodes of nausea and headaches resolve on their own with time. For example, if they appear due to the common cold and flu, they will resolve without treatment.
But, in some other cases, nausea and headache can be signs of a serious underlying medical condition. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of the below mentioned symptoms, you should seek immediate medical care:
– vomiting for more than 24 hours
– loss of consciousness
– slurred speech
– neck stiffness and a fever
– no urination for eight hours or more
If your experiences with nausea and headache are mild, but however, occur on a frequent basis, it is still recommended to see a doctor so they diagnose your symptoms and recommend a treatment plan.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article: text, graphics, images, and other materials contained are strictly for informational purposes only. The Content is NOT intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Please ALWAYS seek the advice of a qualified health provider with all the questions that you have related to, or about, a medical condition.