Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Migraine Disorders

In Iran, researchers found data that showed a correlation of migraines with gastroesophageal reflux disease, Helicobacter pylori infection, and duodenal ulcer.

Migraine appears to correlate with the presence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Helicobacter pylori infection, and duodenal ulcer, a study in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences suggests.

A total of 341 patients with dyspepsia who underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy in Iran during 2016 and 2018 were enrolled in the observational, cross-sectional study. The researchers used a checklist to collect data on patients’ demographics, symptoms, and endoscopy and H pylori testing results.

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Patients also responded to a questionnaire to identify migraine based on the International Headache Society criteria in patients who had headache. Gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer was diagnosed based on a gastroenterologist who performed the endoscopy.

Almost half (43.7%) of the cohort had a diagnosis of migraine. A higher proportion of patients with migraine were women (67.8% vs 32.2%, respectively; P =.003). Approximately 58% (n=198) of patients had H pylori infection, with 69.7% (n=138) of these patients having migraine. Overall, there were 7.7% (n=11) of migraineurs in the 143 H pylori-negative patients. Migraine was associated with both H pylori and GERD (P <.001).

The presence of duodenal ulcer was most often associated with migraine (P =.001), whereas no correlation was found between migraine and gastric ulcer (P =.863). A multiple logistic regression analysis found an association between family history of migraine with gastrointestinal disorders (odds ratio, 5.49; 95% CI, 3.34-9.01; P >.001).

Limitations of the study include the small sample size, as well as the inclusion of patients from a single center.

The researchers added that “treatment of underlying [gastrointestinal] disorders may help relieve headaches,” according to their findings.


Hormati A, Akbari N, Sharifipour E, et al. Migraine and gastric disorders: Are they associated? J Res Med Sci. 2019;24:60.