A woman in a gold jacket leaning against a brick wall with a migrane headache.

Why Do Migraines Make You Nauseous?

Do you often experience nausea when you have a migraine? You’re not alone.

Many people who suffer from migraines also deal with the unpleasant symptom of nausea, adding to the misery of their already painful headaches.

But why exactly do migraines make you feel queasy?

Here’s an interesting fact: Did you know that over 70% of individuals who have migraines also report experiencing nausea during their attacks?

If you’ve ever wondered why this happens and how to manage it, then keep reading because we’re going to explore the connection between migraines and nausea and provide some helpful strategies for coping with it.

Key Takeaways

  • Migraines can cause nausea due to complex neurological changes that affect both the brain and digestive system. For instance, serotonin fluctuations during migraines may slow down stomach emptying, leading to feelings of queasiness.

  • Women are more likely than men to experience nausea during migraines, partly because hormonal changes such as those related to menstrual cycles can trigger these symptoms.

  • Ginger and flat sodas are practical home remedies that can help manage migraine-induced nausea by settling the stomach. Staying hydrated and eating bland foods might also provide relief.

  • When oral medications for migraines aren’t possible due to vomiting, non-traditional forms like nasal sprays, injections, or skin patches offer alternative methods for delivering anti-nausea treatment effectively.

  • Consult with healthcare professionals who can guide personalized strategies for managing migraine-related nausea; they might suggest medical interventions such as specific drugs or therapies suited to your condition.

Trying to understand why migraines often lead to nausea.

Migraines are more than just headaches; they’re complex neurological events that can disrupt your entire body’s balance.

This disruption often results in nausea, leaving many migraine sufferers feeling sick to their stomachs along with the intense head pain.

Experts believe this unwelcome addition to a painful migraine attack has a few potential causes, such as changes in brain chemistry or issues with how food moves through your stomach during an attack.

Exploring why migraines cause nausea takes us into the intricate relationship between your nervous and digestive systems.

You might notice that right before or during a migraine headache, waves of nausea hit you hard.

Scientists link this sensation to various factors including serotonin levels, blood pressure changes, and even gender differences in response to migraines.

Navigating these bouts of queasiness requires understanding the underlying connections so you can find relief without worsening your condition due to treatments like oral medications that might be hard to keep down.

Understanding Migraines

Migraines are a complex neurological condition characterized by severe headaches, usually accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.

They can last for hours or even days, significantly impacting the daily lives of those affected.

What are Migraines?

Migraines are a powerful and often debilitating type of headache disorder.

They’re recognized not just by the intense pain they cause but also by symptoms like light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, and sometimes even nausea or vomiting.

Unlike common headaches, migraines frequently come with warning signs known as ‘aura,’ which can include visual disturbances or tingling sensations on one side of the body.

Migraine attacks can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours if untreated.

During a migraine episode, many sufferers report additional symptoms such as dizziness, blurred vision, or extreme fatigue.

Migraine headaches typically present a throbbing or pulsing sensation that is usually felt on one side of the head but can affect both sides.

Sensitivity to smells and physical activity often exacerbates the pain, leading individuals to seek refuge in darkened and quiet rooms until an attack subsides.

Understanding these key characteristics helps differentiate migraines from other types of headache disorders and is crucial for effective treatment strategies.

Two people standing under a stormy sky.

The Migraine-Nausea Connection: What We Know

Feeling nauseous during a migraine is not just in your head; it’s a common and distressing symptom for many sufferers.

You might find yourself reaching for anti-nausea medications as often as pain relievers.

Studies show that the same intense activity in your brain that triggers migraine headaches may also influence areas controlling nausea and vomiting.

Experts believe this connection stems from complex neurological interactions.

Serotonin, a key neurotransmitter involved in migraines, has been implicated in this gut-brain link.

Elevated levels of serotonin can prompt your stomach to empty more slowly, leading to nausea.

Other factors like stress management difficulties or certain foods could play into why you feel like you’re going on an unwanted carousel ride every time a headache hits.

Effective treatments target both symptoms simultaneously; triptans, recognized by neurology specialists for their efficacy in acute migraine events, often include properties that alleviate stomach upset as well.

Many people with migraines know all too well the wave of nausea that often accompanies the pounding headache.

A young woman in a denim jacket with her hand on her chin.

In fact, reports from the American Migraine Foundation indicate that this stomach upset is not just common—it’s one of the primary symptoms for many sufferers.

It’s enough to make daily tasks feel like climbing a mountain while nursing an inner ear infection.

Experts link this prevalence of nausea to complex changes in the brain and digestive system during a migraine attack.

Several theories aim to explain why you might feel nauseated during a migraine.

One leading idea suggests that serotonin levels fluctuate significantly, which can influence both your mood and your gut function—think about how stress can cause stomach issues.

Another theory examines gastric stasis, where delayed stomach emptying contributes to feelings of queasiness or even vomiting during an episode.

Researchers also consider how heightened sensitivity in areas like the vestibular system could lead to motion sickness-like symptoms alongside typical migraine pain.

These insights form part of a larger puzzle neurologists and scientists are piecing together as they seek more effective ways to treat and manage migraines comprehensively—including those unwelcome waves of nausea.

Theories Explaining Nausea During Migraines

Several theories seek to explain the connection between migraines and nausea.

Research suggests that fluctuations in serotonin levels may play a significant role.

Gender differences in migraine experiences have also been observed, with women more commonly reporting nausea during migraines than men.

Additionally, changes in blood pressure seem to contribute to the onset of migraine symptoms.

Moreover, understanding these theories can offer crucial insights into potential treatment strategies for managing nausea during migraines.

By delving deeper into the mechanisms behind this phenomenon, healthcare professionals can tailor interventions to provide relief and improve the overall migraine experience for individuals affected by this distressing symptom.

Serotonin Levels and Migraines: Investigating the Impact

Low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and pain perception, are believed to play a significant role in migraines.

When serotonin levels drop, blood vessels can expand and become inflamed, potentially triggering migraine attacks.

Additionally, serotonin is involved in the modulation of pain signals in the brain, so lower levels may lead to an increased sensitivity to pain, exacerbating migraine symptoms.

Therefore, understanding how serotonin fluctuations impact migraines is crucial for developing effective treatment strategies.

Studies have shown that medications targeting serotonin receptors or increasing serotonin levels can help alleviate migraine symptoms for some individuals.

These treatments focus on restoring balance to serotonin function and reducing the frequency and severity of migraines by addressing its potential role in causing or worsening these debilitating headaches.

Gender Differences in Migraine Experiences

Women experience migraines at a higher rate than men, with about 18% of women experiencing migraines compared to 6% of men.

Research suggests that hormonal fluctuations, particularly estrogen and progesterone levels, contribute to the increased prevalence among women.

These hormones play a significant role in migraine development as fluctuating levels can trigger or exacerbate migraines.

Moreover, certain life stages unique to women such as menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause are associated with changes in hormone levels that can impact migraine frequency and severity.

Menstrual migraines are also more common among females due to the drop in estrogen levels before menstruation.

Additionally, studies have shown that female migraine sufferers are more likely to experience longer-lasting attacks and report greater pain severity compared to male counterparts.

Blood Pressure and Migraine Symptoms

Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, is often linked to migraine symptoms.

When experiencing a migraine attack, your blood pressure can drop significantly, potentially leading to dizziness and light-headedness.

This drop in blood pressure can exacerbate the nausea and vomiting that commonly accompany migraines.

Furthermore, changes in blood pressure are believed to trigger or worsen the throbbing pain associated with migraines.

It’s essential to monitor your blood pressure levels if you frequently experience migraines.

Understanding the connection between low blood pressure and migraine symptoms can help you better manage and cope with these debilitating attacks effectively without unnecessary stress on your body.

A woman sitting at the kitchen counter with her head in her hands.

Effective Strategies to Manage Nausea During Migraines

When managing nausea during migraines, consider incorporating ginger into your diet.

This natural remedy can help alleviate nausea symptoms and promote digestive comfort.

Another effective strategy is sipping on flat soda or clear liquids to stay hydrated and soothe the stomach.

Additionally, adjusting your diet by opting for bland, easily digestible foods may provide relief from migraine-induced nausea.

Implementing acupressure techniques could also aid in managing nausea during migraines.

Applying pressure to specific points on the body may help alleviate discomfort and reduce feelings of queasiness.

Medical Treatments and Considerations

We will now discuss the various medical treatments available to manage nausea during migraines, including specific medications and alternative options like biofeedback.

We’ll addresses considerations for individuals who may have difficulty taking traditional medication due to vomiting.

Medical Interventions for Migraine-Related Nausea

When nausea prevents you from taking oral medications for migraines, non-oral options like nasal sprays or injections become crucial.

Anti-nausea drugs such as ondansetron can be administered in various forms, including intravenously, orally disintegrating tablets, or through a patch placed on the skin.

These medical interventions for migraine-related nausea offer an alternative approach when traditional methods are not viable due to vomiting episodes.

Intravenous administration of migraine medication bypasses the digestive system and provides rapid relief for both nausea and pain symptoms.

Moreover, inhaling certain medications represents another effective avenue to combat severe nausea during a migraine episode.

When traditional medication is difficult due to vomiting, medical treatments and considerations become crucial.

Alternative delivery methods like nasal sprays or injections may be explored for effective drug administration.

Anti-nausea medications such as promethazine can help manage vomiting, while intravenous fluids aid in preventing dehydration during severe migraine episodes.

Consulting healthcare professionals for personalized advice on managing nausea and finding suitable treatment options is vital.

In some cases of cyclic vomiting syndrome or gastroparesis, oral drug intake may not be feasible; thus, exploring inhalations or topical applications could be considered.

Understanding the challenges associated with gastrointestinal symptoms during migraines is essential to tailor medical interventions effectively, ensuring optimal relief for patients experiencing nausea and vomiting.


Understanding and coping with migraine-induced nausea can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and strategies, it is possible to manage this aspect of migraine symptoms effectively.

Nausea during migraines is often linked to disruptions in serotonin levels, which affect the digestive system.

Utilizing strategies like ginger supplements and aromatherapy may offer relief from migraine-induced nausea, providing a sense of control amid the discomfort.

When it comes to managing migraine-induced nausea, it’s essential to explore various remedies while seeking medical guidance for personalized care.

Remember, consulting healthcare professionals will provide personalized guidance for your specific situation, ensuring you receive the most effective care tailored to your needs.


1. What makes migraines cause nausea?

Migraines can spark off symptoms like nausea due to mixed signals sent by your brain. When you have a migraine, chemicals like calcitonin gene-related peptide shift in your body and can upset your stomach.

2. Can certain foods or events trigger migraines with nausea?

Yes, specific triggers such as certain foods, stress, or changes in the weather can kickstart a migraine that might make you feel nauseous. Keeping track of these triggers helps manage future incidents.

3. Are migraines with aura more likely to make me nauseous?

While both types of migraines can lead to nausea, those experiencing a migraine with aura may report more intense symptoms including sickness in the stomach.

4. Is there any medicine I should avoid if I get nauseated during a migraine?

Taking certain medications too often for migraines, like Advil or Motrin IB (which are forms of ibuprofen), could potentially worsen your condition and even prompt medication-overuse headaches which include nausea.

5. If my child gets abdominal pain but not headaches, could it still be related to migraines?

Yes indeed! Children sometimes experience what’s known as an abdominal migraine instead of typical headache pains—this involves tummy troubles without the common head pain usually associated with adult migraines.

6. Could other health issues link up with my migraine-induced nausea?

Definitely! Migraineurs sometimes face various health challenges together; issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and anxiety show up alongside their neurological disease symptoms which adds on extra layers such as feeling sick.