Is Hormonal Migraine Connected to Constipation?

Today we’re going to dive into a fascinating topic that might give you some “aha” moments: the unexpected link between constipation and hormonal migraine (also called menstrual migraine). These two seemingly unrelated issues may have more in common than you think!

Quick disclaimer – this post is not a substitute for medical advice and does not claim to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. Please consult a member of your personal healthcare team before making any changes to medications, supplements, diet, or lifestyle. This post is for educational purposes only.

We all know that constipation can be a real pain (pun intended), but did you know it can also contribute to hormonal imbalances? When we experience constipation, our stool tends to stay in the colon for longer periods, leading to increased reabsorption of substances including estrogen. This can result in a condition called estrogen dominance, where estrogen levels become elevated relative to progesterone levels.

So how does estrogen dominance impact migraine?

Image of estrogen molecule; the link between hormonal migraine / menstrual migraine and constipation

Elevated estrogen levels can dilate blood vessels, which in turn can increase blood flow and trigger migraine attacks. Estrogen also influences serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in pain perception, mood, and sleep. Imbalances in serotonin can trigger hormonal migraine attacks or intensify their severity.

But wait, there’s more (lucky you!). Estrogen dominance can also contribute to systemic inflammation, disrupting the body’s normal immune function. This increased inflammation can also make you more susceptible to hormonal migraine attacks and heighten their intensity.

Now that you understand the connection between constipation, estrogen dominance, and hormonal migraine, the question arises: what can you do about it?

Here are a few practical tips that may help break this cycle:

  1. Boost your fiber intake: Include plenty of fiber-rich foods in your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. These can promote regular bowel movements and reduce the risk of constipation.
  2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining optimal bowel function (especially if you’re adding in more fiber!).
  3. Try ginger tea: Ginger can stimulate motility in the gut, aka “get things moving”, which can help alleviate constipation. This can be especially helpful for people with constipation caused by medications.
  4. Manage stress: Stress is known to trigger migraine and disrupt bowel function. Incorporate stress-reducing practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga into your daily routine.
  5. Seek professional guidance: If constipation persists or you suspect estrogen dominance, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional. These are serious issues that can have long-term effects on not only your migraine, but your health overall!

Remember, every individual is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s essential to find a personalized approach that suits your body and lifestyle. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support – this is the exact type of issue I help migraineurs overcome every day!

I hope you found this information insightful and that it brings you a step closer to understanding and managing your hormonal migraine. As always, take care of yourself, stay informed, and don’t hesitate to explore further resources to enhance your well-being!

xoxo, Kelli


  1. Rajapakse, N., Pathirana, A., & Raja, E. (2020). Migraine and female hormones: Understanding the link. Sri Lanka Journal of Pain, 12(2), 59–63.
  2. Chaudhuri, A., & Behan, P. O. (2004). Migraine and the gastrointestinal system. Headache, 44(10), 971–985.
  3. Chai, N. C., Peterlin, B. L., Calhoun, A. H., & Ostrander, E. A. (2014). Insular cortical thickness in migraineurs: a magnetic resonance imaging study. Neurology, 83(8), 692–700.
  4. Reddy, N., Desai, M.N., Schoenbrunner, A. et al.The complex relationship between estrogen and migraines: a scoping review. Syst Rev 10, 72 (2021).
  5. Brandes JL. The Influence of Estrogen on Migraine: A Systematic Review. JAMA. 2006;295(15):1824–1830.

Published by Kelli Yates, RDN, LD, CLT

Kelli Yates, RDN, LD, CLT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in holistic migraine management and fellow migraineur!

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