Migraine and GI Disorders: What's the Link?

Pavankumar Kamat


August 09, 2021


Why this matters

  • Migraine concomitantly occurs with gastrointestinal (GI) problems, but the possibility of a causal association remains unknown.

Study design

  • A cross-sectional study of 489,753 participants (age, 37-69 years) from the UK Biobank.

  • The associations of migraine with IBS, peptic ulcers, HP infections, coeliac disease, CD and UC were evaluated.

  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • Of 489,753 participants, 14,180 had migraine.

  • Migraine was significantly associated with an increased risk of (adjusted OR [aOR]; 95% CI):

    • IBS (2.24; 2.08-2.40); and

    • peptic ulcers (1.55; 1.35-1.77; P<.001 for both).

  • Migraine was not significantly associated with an increased risk of (aOR; 95% CI):

    • HP infection (1.34; 1.04-1.73; P=.024);

    • coeliac disease (1.29; 1.04-1.60; P=.023);

    • CD (1.08; 0.80-1.45; P=.617); and

    • UC (1.00; 0.79-1.27; P=.979).


  • The prevalence rates of GI disorders were low (ranging from 2.3% for IBS to 0.3% for CD and HP infection).


Welander NZ, Olivo G, Pisanu C, Rukh G, Schiöth HB, Mwinyi J. Migraine and gastrointestinal disorders in middle and old age: A UK Biobank study. Brain Behav. 2021 Jul 21 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1002/brb3.2291. PMID: 34291601.  View full text

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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