Headaches and bowel conditions may be linked genetically.
New research cited in a release from the American Academy of Neurology has found a link between migraine and tension headaches, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), according to a report on WebMD.
The findings, released online and scheduled to be presented at the April meeting of the Academy in Vancouver, Canada, just may point more researchers toward finding new treatments for all of the disorders, including IBS, which affects as many as 45 million Americans. The condition, with symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in the world, but the exact cause of the condition is still unknown. Many more may suffer from the disorder but have not been officially diagnosed with the condition.
The new study evaluated 107 people with migraine headaches, 53 with what was described as tension headaches, another 107 with IBS, and 53 with none of the above conditions. The findings revealed 54 percent of those with migraines were likely to also suffer from IBS, almost twice as many as those with the tension-type headaches at 28 percent. Of the 107 with IBS, the survey found 38 also had migraines, and another 24 suffered from tension headaches.
With the research focusing on the genetics, in particular the serotonin transporter gene and the serotonin receptor 2A gene, the study’s authors determined that people that have IBS, migraines or tension headaches had at lease one gene that was different from those study participants that had none of the disorders.
Dr. Derya Uluduz, study author from Istanbul University in Turkey, said in the release, “Since headache and irritable bowel syndrome are such common conditions, and causes for both are unknown, discovering a possible link that could shed light on shared genetics of the conditions is encouraging.”
Uluduz adds, “Further studies are needed to explore this possible link. Discovering shared genes may lead to more future treatment strategies for these chronic conditions.”
Although the findings have been released, the conclusions of the research team will be considered as preliminary until they have been published in a medical journal after a peer review.