Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Gastric Stasis Migraine

Although some people may use the term gastric stasis migraine, the term “gastric stasis” refers to a medical condition, not a type of migraine.

Gastric stasis is a delayed emptying of the stomach. This may be accompanied by a variety of symptoms, including nausea or vomiting. Many people believe that the nausea and vomiting that often accompany migraine attacks may be caused by gastric stasis.

Gastric stasis can slow down the body’s processing or breaking down of foods as well as slow down the absorption of medications taken through the mouth. This causes a problem for those who take oral medicines to fight migraine symptoms. Therefore there is a lot of emphasis and study into medications that are given to patients through nasal inhalers, patches on the skin and other methods.

Gastric Stasis Migraine Causes

Many scientists believe migraine head pain comes from changes in blood vessels. However, several other parts of the brain might be involved, particularly in those migraine sufferers who experience a wide range of symptoms. Therefore some researches point to the brain’s hypothalamus, located in the center of the brain, produces hormones that control metabolism, body temperature, thirst, hunger, fatigue, mood, sleep and sex drive.

Gastric Stasis Migraine Studies

A study conducted in 2006 compared ten people who suffered from migraines to ten people without migraine. This study found that time it took for the stomach to become half empty was delayed during a migraine attack. The time for stomach half emptying was also delayed in migraine sufferers between attacks. In this study, it was concluded that nausea was not a result of gastric stasis as nausea was only present during attacks while gastric stasis was also present between attacks.

Recent studies, such as ones presented at the 2010 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, show evidence that people who have had migraines for longer periods of time and have more frequent attacks are more likely to have gastric stasis. Also because gastric stasis is present between migraine attacks, some doctors believe it is an indication that body’s migraine sufferers function differently than those without migraines.

Note: Although gastric statis migraine is not recognized as a separate type of migraine by the International Headache Society, many doctors use the term to define this particular set of symptoms.


Written by: Otesa Miles | Last reviewed: August 2014
Migraine: More than just a headache; Neurology Alert; Jamieson; January 2008