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Frequent headaches? It may be your stomach

By Paul Wallis     Feb 27, 2008 in Health
Regardless of your age, gender, or political inclinations, your headache and stomach are likely to have something in common. This may be some help to those who seem to be on an endless cycle of irritating conditions.
A new study of over 40,000 people was initiated because data on the relationship between gastrointestinal illness (GI) and headaches was lacking.
The result? A definite correlation.
According to Dr. Anne Hege Aamodt of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim in this Yahoo/Reuters article:
After adjusting for gender, age, depression, anxiety and other factors that might influence the results, the research team noted a significantly higher prevalence of headache among participants with reflux, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea, compared to those without such complaints.
"The association between headache and gastrointestinal complaints increased markedly with increasing headache frequency," Aamodt told Reuters Health
There’s a few points to be made here: These GIs all have some common factors:
Acidity and gas created by it tend to form bubbles which can pass up through the windpipes and put pressure on the brain and sinuses.
Some of these conditions are chronic and recurrent, and there’s no coincidence that headaches are frequent, even when the stomach seems OK. High levels of acidity are quite enough to cause headaches.
There’s no such thing as a good GI, any more than a good headache.
No treatment is suggested by the article, but some of the home remedies are worth having around:
Water. It dilutes acids, helps digestion, and also helps mucus in the sinuses. Sinusitis, (which I practically invented, and suffered from for years), is caused by swellings of the sinuses due to infection. Severe conditions can spread through the ear/nose/throat system, and cause spectacular headaches.
That infection is in turn very much related to bad mucus flow. Passages get blocked, and disease takes hold. The mucus is intended to remove materials from membranes, including bacteria and viruses. Water dilutes the mucus, which can then move freely again.
Chamomile tea is a non-dramatic way of settling the stomach, tastes good, and it’s not a “chemical” which has to mix with anything else you’re taking.
Yogurt provides acidophilus for digestion. They’re not affected by the acidity, in fact they lap it up, to a point.
Some things not to do:
Avoid acidic foods, wine, particularly cask wine, hot foods like chili, and fatty foods, which release fatty acids, and make things notably worse. Milk can also aggravate, because of the lactic acid content.
More about Gastrointestinal illness, Headaches, Research correlation