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Headache and Nausea: Causes And Treatment
Headache and Nausea: Causes And Treatment
07 Mar 2024

Headache and Nausea: Causes And Treatment

Nausea and headaches frequently coexist. This can occur in primary headache diseases, such as migraines, where symptoms appear independently of external factors. Headache and nausea might also result from another sickness, including food poisoning or the stomach flu. Menstruation, dehydration, and alcohol intake are a few more health issues that may be to blame.

Although it is not unusual to have headaches along with nausea, it is crucial to see a doctor if these two symptoms coexist frequently. This blog will discuss what it means to experience both nausea and headaches, as well as what circumstances may trigger these symptoms and how to treat them.

Types and Reasons of Headaches

Low-Risk Types of Headaches

1. Tension headaches

The most prevalent kind of headache is a tension headache. One of the symptoms is a dull, continuous discomfort that surrounds the head and feels like a tight band of agony rather than pulsating. In addition to despair or tense muscles, emotional stress might also be the reason.

Although these kinds of headaches typically go away on their own, tension headaches can be treated and prevented with the use of over-the-counter painkillers, hot and cold therapies, and relaxation techniques.

2. Dehydration and headaches

Although it is widely known that eight glasses of water daily are necessary, most people still need to meet this goal. A dehydration headache can occur when your body is not getting enough fluids; it can be moderate or severe. This kind of headache is brought on by a brief contraction brought on by fluid loss in the brain.

Extreme thirst, exhaustion, or decreased urine may indicate dehydration. To avoid and relieve a headache caused by dehydration, gradually increase the amount of water you drink each day.

3. Exertion headaches

An exertion headache is a headache that develops quickly after physical activity, such as working out, running, or chasing after children. Find another form of exercise if you experience headaches after intense activity, or move more slowly through your everyday responsibilities. Over-the-counter pain relievers are typically effective in treating exertion headaches; however, if symptoms worsen, consult a physician.

4. Headaches from the common cold

There is a significant probability that a headache will accompany a cold. People with a cold also experience headaches in addition to the typical cold symptoms of chills, sore throat, runny nose, and cough. The body releases cytokines when you have a cold.

Although these molecules help fight colds, they can also give you headaches. They are an essential component of your body's immune system. Although over-the-counter cold remedies are helpful, relaxation and a higher hydration intake are also advised.

5. Hangover headache

One may wake up with a pounding headache as a reminder of the thrill of the previous night if they had one too many glasses of wine with dinner or stayed at the bar with their pals until closing time. A hangover headache is characterised by throbbing pain and, occasionally, nausea and weariness brought on by the brain's blood vessels being irritated. Moderate drinking is the best way to avoid a hangover headache, but if the damage has already been done, increase your fluid intake and take it easy.

6. Stomach flu headaches

A virus that inflames the stomach and intestines is the cause of gastroenteritis, sometimes known as the stomach flu. The stomach flu can cause several unpleasant symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhoea, and nausea, which can cause dehydration. Dehydration headaches range from mild to severe.

However, other flu symptoms like fever and exhaustion can worsen the headaches. Your headache and stomach flu should go away on their own in most cases. However, get medical help if symptoms last longer than a few days to avoid more severe consequences.

7. Sinus pressure headaches

A sinus pressure headache may develop from clogged or inflamed nasal passages. This headache is among the most frequently misdiagnosed migraines, and it is sometimes initially attributed to sinus problems. Although infections are the most common cause of sinus headaches, nasal polyps or a deviated septum can also cause them. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if an infection is the cause.

8. TMJ headaches and symptoms

The temporomandibular joint, which opens and closes the jaw, is connected to TMJ headaches. A painful clicking sound may occur whenever you open your mouth if a misaligned jaw causes a headache. Occasionally, the alignment of your teeth when biting puts strain on this joint, which can result in headaches.

In other cases, stress plays a role, mainly if it makes you clench your jaw. Headaches caused by the TM joint can be prevented and treated using a bite plane or nightguard. If the bite guards or aircraft you may buy over-the-counter do not fit you well, your dentist can custom-make one for you.

9. Seasonal allergy headaches

If your headache occurs when the seasons change, seasonal allergies or other environmental irritants are probably to blame. More mould, pollen, and other airborne irritants can cause watery, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing, and headaches that are all over the place. Most people find that taking an over-the-counter medication helps them control their allergies. Your doctor may recommend injections as an additional alternative if you find that seasonal allergies and headaches significantly affect your quality of life.

10. Headache from too much sleep

Weekends and vacations are ideal for catching up on sleep, but as they say, you can never have too much of a good thing. Most studies think that this kind of headache is a result of changed neurotransmitter levels in the brain, yet it is unclear why oversleeping gives certain people migraines. A consistent sleep schedule every day of the week and avoiding extended naps are the best ways to prevent this kind of headache.

11. Caffeine withdrawal headaches

Be ready for a few headaches from caffeine withdrawal if you are trying to break the morning coffee habit. Although they may last many days, these headaches will eventually disappear. Caffeine will help with the headache, but the discomfort may increase over the next few days. Since each person reacts to caffeine differently, you should completely cut back on your intake if you start to experience headaches when you do not drink any.

12. Headaches after sex:

As the name implies, sexual activity is the cause of various kinds of headaches. Though they are more of an annoyance than a dangerous medical disease, some of them may indicate damaged brain blood vessels.

If, after an orgasm or during sexual excitement, you frequently get headaches, notice how strong they are. Most merely last a few minutes and go away independently; the ailment disappears entirely within a few months after onset.

13. Migraine headaches

Severe headaches, or migraines, are characterised by a sharp pain on one side of the head. Sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting are additional symptoms. Hereditary migraines can also be brought on by certain foods, stress, or even the environment. It is advised to seek medical attention if you experience migraines frequently to identify the precise reason and create a preventative and treatment plan. Prescriptions are commonly required.

14. Mononucleosis headaches

Mononucleosis is a viral infection typically transmitted by saliva. Although adults of any age can contract Mononucleosis, teens are the ones who do so most frequently. A sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, and fever are among the symptoms.

A headache is another typical sign. A blood test is necessary for an accurate diagnosis, and the usual course of therapy entails getting lots of rest, drinking more water, and taking over-the-counter painkillers.

15. Fibromyalgia headaches

Several symptoms, including widespread pain, stiffness in the morning, difficulty sleeping, exhaustion, numbness, anxiety, and sadness, are associated with fibromyalgia. Headaches are frequent in fibromyalgia patients. The most common cause of these headaches is stiffness and spasms in specific muscles in the back or neck. If your doctor has diagnosed you with fibromyalgia and you get frequent headaches, ask about your treatment choices.

16. Headaches from dieting and food intake

Headaches may be brought on by the foods we eat. Low blood sugar during dieting or calorie restriction might cause headaches. Focus on eating more often, but in smaller portions, if you are attempting to reduce weight.

Magnesium deficiency is another possible cause of headaches. Although taking too much magnesium can also result in headaches, you can increase your consumption as long as you stick to the daily recommended amount. Steer clear of excessive sugar or sodium intake, which can cause headaches. If you experience chronic everyday headaches, try keeping a food journal for a few weeks and see if you can identify any patterns related to your diet.

Are you experiencing any of the symptoms outlined in this article?

Contact the clinic today for a same-day GP appointment.

Medium-Risk Types of Headaches

17. Pregnancy headaches

Among the many adverse symptoms of pregnancy are headaches, which are frequent during all three trimesters. Headaches during the first trimester can be attributed to changes in hormone levels and increased blood volume. Headaches can also be brought on by sleep deprivation, dehydration, and physical and emotional stress.

However, if you experience severe headaches, consult your physician right away since this may indicate preeclampsia. This dangerous illness can be fatal to both the mother and the unborn child.

18. Menopause headaches

Menopause can also result in headaches, much like monthly menstruation. Once more, hormones are the source of severe headaches. Menopause may provide some women with relief from their period headaches.

However, for some people, headaches may become more frequent and intense. If menopause headaches occur frequently, oestrogen patches may help prevent or treat them.

19. Cluster headaches

Severe headaches usually affect just one side of the head, known as cluster headaches. The discomfort is often severe or scorching and usually comes with a runny nose or eye tears. This kind of headache may radiate for several hours before going away or be brief, lasting less than 30 minutes.

After the discomfort goes away, it can return suddenly. Cluster headache sufferers probably get these daily. A red, puffy eye is an indication of a cluster headache. Your nose may get stuffy, and you may notice drooping in one eyelid. If you frequently suffer from cluster headaches, consult your doctor.

20. Wisdom teeth headaches

The eruption of wisdom teeth or their extraction can both result in wisdom tooth headaches. Pain relievers of prescription strength should be helpful as your body heals if you recently had your wisdom teeth out. Consult your dental surgeon if the headaches do not go away.

However, if your wisdom teeth are still in place, their eruptive process may give you headaches. Your wisdom teeth may push on neighbouring teeth, cause your bite to become out of alignment, or strain your jaw joints if there is insufficient space for them. If your wisdom teeth need to be extracted, an x-ray from your dentist should show this swiftly.

High-Risk Types of Headaches

21. Encephalitis headaches

When the immune system unintentionally targets brain tissue, it results in inflammation of that tissue, known as encephalitis. Most frequently, a viral infection is the cause. Unexpected headache development is typical, as is fever, extreme light sensitivity, exhaustion, and muscular aches.

More severe symptoms include weakness in the muscles. Life-threatening encephalitis can have long-term consequences, including paralysis and speech difficulties. Visit the urgent care facility immediately if you think this is the source of your headache.

22. Meningitis

Meningitis is an infection of the brain's outer layer that viruses, fungi, or bacteria can bring on. Specific forms of meningitis can be prevented by vaccination, but not all. A headache, nausea, fever, and feeling poorly are the initial symptoms.

More severe symptoms such as limb discomfort, chilly hands and feet, and pale skin develop as the sickness worsens. Consult your physician right away. Treatment options range from essential rest and pain control to major life-saving procedures, depending on what triggered the illness.

23. Brain tumour:

Brain tumours nearly always require emergency medical intervention, regardless of whether they are benign or malignant. Headaches may be one of the initial symptoms as the tumour progresses. Additional indications of a brain tumour include altered vision, difficulty speaking, altered behaviour, or vomiting.

Although the exact cause of brain tumours is unknown, significant advancements in treatment have been made. Treatment with radiation therapy or surgery can remove the tumour and its associated symptoms.

24. Brain abscess

An infection, either bacterial or fungal, is the cause of a brain abscess. A brain abscess is a rare but potentially fatal condition in which a bag of pus forms in the brain tissue. Patients with a brain abscess experience a dull headache; this is the only sign of the condition for some.

Depending on the location of the abscess, the pain is often local and gets worse until medical attention is given. Painkillers will not relieve headaches caused by brain abscesses. Typically, drainage or antibiotics are used in treatment.

25. Thunderclap headaches:

A severe headache that needs to be treated immediately is a thunderclap headache. These headaches come on fast and without warning. Pain does not increase gradually, like in other, more typical headaches. Instead, the headache does not improve; it reaches its maximum severity in several seconds.

Typically, a thunderclap headache indicates a potentially fatal illness such as meningitis or a brain haemorrhage. See a doctor right away if the headache you are having is unlike anything you have ever experienced.

27. Headache as a stroke symptom

Stroke symptoms often recognised include numbness in the face or limbs, difficulty speaking, and difficulty walking. But a headache is another sign to be aware of. When the blood supply to the brain is cut off, strokes happen. 

Hemorrhagic strokes are a particular kind of stroke that occurs when a blood vessel bursts, causing bleeding inside the brain. An excruciating headache was a symptom in almost one-third of patients with this kind of stroke. Seek medical assistance right away if you acquire a severe headache that develops quickly.


Primarily, treatment depends on whether you have a primary headache disorder, like migraines, or a secondary one, in which the symptoms arise from other conditions.


Getting enough rest can help prevent migraines and other kinds of headaches.

Getting rest during an attack: If you’re experiencing a migraine, one of the best methods of easing the severity of the attack is to go to a dark, quiet place and try to take a nap.

Stress management: Learning relaxation techniques can also help with headaches and nausea. This may involve specific breathing exercises, listening to calming music, working on muscle relaxation, and employing mindfulness strategies.

Biofeedback: Identifying high stress levels and muscle tension can be crucial for controlling headache symptoms, as both conditions are strongly associated with headaches. Using technology to track the body's tension signals is known as biofeedback. This helps you control and treat your symptoms.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is a prevalent cause of headaches and nausea. Drinking water when you have an attack can go a long way towards easing it. Not only that, headaches are less frequent if you ensure proper daily intake of fluids. Notably, if you’re vomiting, you must pay extra attention to hydration.

Eat Bland Foods

Heartburn, ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease can all be controlled with certain foods. Known as a bland diet, it can also aid in reducing headache-related nausea.

  • Refined wheat foods, such as bread and pasta
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy products
  • Pudding and custard
  • Cream of wheat or other refined wheat hot cereals
  • Meats, poultry, or seafood
  • Eggs

You’ll also need to steer clear of certain foods, including

  • High-fat or fatty dairy products
  • Raw vegetables, greens, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, and others
  • Whole grain cereals and bread
  • Spicy and strongly seasoned foods
  • High sugar foods
  • Fermented or pickled foods

OTC Pain Medicine

Several over-the-counter medications can help ease headache pain and nausea. Common types include

  • Tylenol, Ofirmev (acetaminophen)
  • Aspirin
  • Motrin or Advil (ibuprofen)
  • Aleve (naproxen)
  • Excedrin (a combination of pain medications and caffeine)


Making lifestyle changes and incorporating positive habits can also help prevent migraines or other conditions that cause headaches and nausea. Four ways to prevent migraines include

Exercise: Ensuring enough physical activity has many benefits and is essential for headache prevention. Even a little activity a day—30 minutes of walking or cycling—can significantly help.   

Avoid triggers: Pay attention to what you’re eating, scents, or types of lights that set off your headaches. Once you've identified your triggers, you can work to avoid them.

Regular eating schedule: Skipping meals is another common factor in migraines and headaches. In general, aim to eat meals at consistent times every day and avoid snacking.

Good sleep hygiene: As with meals, disruptions in sleep and inconsistent sleeping hours can make you more sensitive to migraines. Aim to go to bed and get up simultaneously, keep your bed a work-free zone, and get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.  

Stress management: Lifestyle changes can also reduce your overall stress. Taking part in daily meditation or yoga—or even finding time to take a bath or do a relaxing activity—can help you manage tension, preventing attacks.

When Should You Call a Healthcare Provider?

While headaches are widespread and most aren’t dangerous, they can be signs of severe conditions. If you’ve experienced any of the following, you should get medical help:

  • You’ve lost consciousness following a blow to the head.
  • Your headaches set in very suddenly.
  • The pain is unusually severe and debilitating.
  • Your headache steadily worsens over the next 24 hours.

Also, get immediate help if any of the following symptoms accompany your head pain:

  • Fever and neck stiffness
  • Confusion, memory problems
  • Loss of balance, as well as issues coordinating limb movements
  • Severe pain in one eye with redness in that eye
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing

Concerned about any of the issues raised in this article? It's well worth undergoing a full body health screening to check for underlying issues, with 4 GP appointments included in all Advanced and Elite MOTS throughout 2023.

Alleviating the Pain of Headache and Nausea with Proper Treatment

Our doctors at Medical Express Clinic specialise in headache and nausea treatment. Visit us to begin receiving thorough, high-quality care and assistance for your migraines. The medical professionals at our office can assist you in lessening the pain and suffering caused by migraine headaches so you may resume your regular activities and routines. Speak with our experts if you have tried at-home treatments and are still unable to get long-lasting relief from migraine headaches.