The Ugly Truth: Poop Issues and Migraine Disease
Last updated: April 2023
Let’s talk about something not so charming, shall we?
Let’s talk about the IBS and/or diarrhea that accompanies migraine disease for a huge number of us.
How long have I been embarrassed about pooping?
Let me lay it out for you: I have long since been very embarrassed when anyone mentions going #2. In my younger years, I was tempted to blame my sister for the shame that would wash over me when people referred to poop. You see, my mom once reprimanded her for sitting outside the bathroom door and making jokes about my “daily dump.” Years later, I jokingly retold this story to a med student friend who replied with, “That’s really healthy, actually—going once a day.” I got red-faced all over again to know that my friend was referring to my former poop habits.
Was my family open to discussing it?
In our house growing up, we strayed from ever using any distasteful bathroom humor — no f*rt jokes (see, I can’t even spell it, let alone say it without grossing myself out), no sh*t jokes. This is not to say that the Georgia chapter of the Geddis family had some Victorian sense of secrecy and denial when it came to the less glamorous functions of the body — it’s just that these topics were not up for jokey discussion.
Is my poop related to migraine?
Whatever the reasons are for my poop-related embarrassment, I remain to this day reticent to talk about any related issues, even with my doctor. Living with a dude makes it a little easier (dudes are gross).
But the more I read about IBS being a concomitant issue with migraine disease, the less embarrassed I feel about it.
How are my bathroom habits now?
So here’s the truth: my bathroom habits are all jacked up, y’all. The healthiest my gut has ever been was when I loyally ate and drank what my complementary care doctor told me to. Then I started feeling better (and feeling the economic weight of paying for the vitamins and supplements that were actually helping out a lot), and I fell off the wagon (as I do). I’m back in a stage where certain foods can have me rushing to the bathroom with little to no warning, and then two or more days will stretch on as a result of unexpected constipation. (You must know that writing this is making me profoundly uncomfortable — maybe I do have some stifled Victorian blood in me after all.)
Can anyone else relate?
Let’s lay it on the line, guys. How many of you have stomach/digestion/poop issues? Do they get worse during a migraine attack (perhaps related to gastroparesis), or are they present even when you’re migraine-free?
Join me in an attempt to become more comfortable talking about this. Go ahead — let us know how IBS, diarrhea, constipation, etc., might affect your life with migraine.
How many medications do you take to manage your chronic migraines?