If you have ever experienced nausea as a symptom of migraine, you’re not alone. At the last count of our ongoing survey, 77% of participants indicated that they had suffered from nausea as well as a headache, making it the second most common symptom of an attack. Your answers also tell us that women are five times more likely to feel sick during a migraine than men. NHS Heroes can help you!
There are various explanations as to why nausea often goes hand in hand with a migraine. Some believe that it is due to the migraine stopping the muscle of the stomach moving properly. This means that the contents aren’t able to go anywhere so they just sit there and build up, resulting in that unsettled queasy feeling. Others blame it on a change in our levels of serotonin, a hormone which influences the behaviour of our nervous system and digestive system.
Whatever the cause, migraine-associated nausea affects different people in different ways. It may be the first sign that a migraine is on the way or it might accompany the splitting headache. It could even start as your head pain subsides.
Nausea isn’t harmful in itself but it can stop you sleeping and of course, in some cases it can lead to vomiting. This may actually help to relieve your migraine due to the physical act of vomiting increasing the body’s serotonin level but remember if you are repeatedly sick, it can leave you dehydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids.
The following advice should help to minimise your discomfort until the migraine passes.
When migraine strikes…
Have a soak in the bath – the warm water should help to relax tense muscles and reduce blood flow to your head
Turn out the lights – lying in a darkened room reduces your exposure to the visual disturbances which can make you feel more nauseous
Reach for the ginger – Chopped up ginger root in hot water or a glass of ginger ale act as effective stomach settlers
Try accupressure bands – these relieve nausea by exerting pressure on a certain point in your wrist
Use a treatment containing anti-emetics – these drugs suppress the symptoms of nausea and vomiting
Take your treatment as early as possible – inactivity in your stomach makes it harder to absorb any medication so it is best to take it at the first signs of an attack
Hit the H2O – water is essential to keeping you well hydrated, especially if you are vomiting or sweating a lot
Avoid cleaning your teeth – the brushing sensation, taste and texture can all add to that queasy feeling