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Headache of Gastro-Intestinal Origin

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Abstract

That most troublesome symptom, headache, so frequently is associated with disorders of the digestive system—especially nausea, vomiting, and constipation—that a cause and effect relationship certainly would appear to exist. When these two symptoms coexist in the same individual, usually the physician or possibly the more specialized gastro-enterologist is consulted in an effort to discover what is wrong with the digestive system, because the majority of patients believe that this disturbance of the digestive tract is the cause of the headache. While some headaches undoubtedly are due to faulty elimination habits, more often than not, the cause of these coexisting symptoms lies outside the gastro-intestinal tract. No matter whom such a patient consults, a very difficult diagnostic and therapeutic problem presents itself.

I have been accustomed to think of such problems as having three possible solutions. First, the disease may be primary in the central nervous system with secondary gastro-intestinal symptoms; second, the disease may be entirely outside either domain with the production of reflex symptoms in both; or third, the headache may be of gastrointestinal origin, and this is placed last in my classification, because if a careful search is made, the cause of most headaches usually will be found outside the gastro-intestinal tract.

The specialist in any field, and this applies also to the gastro-enter-ologist, is prone to view all human ills from his narrow viewpoint, and unless he thinks of other possibilities first, often he will miss the true solution of a problem. Therefore, I never. . .


 

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