Often, people may experience gastrointestinal symptoms and headaches simultaneously. This may raise a concern – is it the headache that's causing the acidity or the other way round?
Though research on the topic is limited, the gut-brain axis is connected via various biological pathways, like nerve signaling, endocrine signaling, or the immune system. According to the International Headache Society, nausea and vomiting are major symptoms of migraines sometimes.
According to PubMed Central, GI disorders related to headaches include:
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis
H. pylori infection, which can cause stomach ulcers
GI motility disorders, such as gastroparesis
Let's understand the ways to manage acid reflux headaches and get rid of the pain and discomfort easily.
People who experience acidity on a regular basis must follow a few dietary rules. You should avoid eating fatty, greasy, and spicy food like ginger, garlic, mint, tomatoes, and red chilies. These foods can relax the LES and produce acids in your stomach. Relaxation of LES allows the food and acids from the stomach to come to the esophagus.
Dairy products, caffeinated drinks, chocolate, and citrus foods are also some items one can stay away from.
People who suffer from acidity or GERD must quit smoking. Smoking causes less production of saliva which results in more acid production. Saliva helps neutralise acids in the stomach.
Smoking causes an increase in the production of stomach acids. It also results in the transfer of the bile from the intestine to the stomach, which can make the acids more harmful.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
According to Healthline, alcohol can cause heartburn and hangover can cause nausea and headache. Alcohol relaxes the LES and produces more acid in the stomach.
You can limit your drinks to 2-3 per day, avoid drinking red wine, mix alcohol with water, and keep a track of alcohol that triggers your headache or acid reflux. You must not drink more than 3 beers at a time.
Sleep in the Right Position
According to Sleep Foundation, people must sleep on their left side and avoid laying down on their back if they experience GERD or heartburn symptoms frequently. Sleeping on the back can expose the esophagus to the acids in the stomach, which can damage it.
The other thing to keep in mind is to elevate your upper body while sleeping so that the acids cannot travel back to the esophagus.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
According to the doctors of Mayo Clinic, overweight people are more likely to suffer from acid reflux headaches because the excess weight puts pressure on the esophagus sphincter muscles and they open more easily, leading to heartburn.