Stomach Migraine Occurs Mostly In Children

sick alex What is Stomach Migraine

Stomach migraine or abdominal migraine as it is also known is a variant of migraine headaches that occurs mostly in children. It usually occurs in children where there is a family history of migraine sufferers.

Stomach migraines are rare in adults, but around 2% of children may suffer from them at some time. Girls are more likely to be affected than boys. Children that suffer from stomach migraine are very likely to go on to develop migraine headaches as they get older. Leaving stomach migraine untreated is the main cause for it continuing in later life.

Although stomach migraines are part of the migraine family, the pain occurs in the stomach, usually near the navel or middle of the stomach. This is because the muscles of the stomach vigorously contract to ease the pain. Some people may feel bloated or experience an acidic tummy. Stomach migraines often occur as a reaction to a migraine trigger, much like adult migraine. They can cause severe stomach pain, nausea, cramping and often vomiting.

The reasons for stomach migraine are unclear. However, it is thought that stomach migraines may be caused by changes in two chemicals in the body, histamine and serotonin, which occur naturally in the body. The chemical changes could contribute to both migraine headaches and abdominal pain.

Stress and anxiety can both cause fluctuations to these chemicals. It is therefore possible that psychological factors may be a trigger to stomach migraine. Often those who suffer stomach migraines have high anxiety levels, which causes them to increase their adrenaline levels. This actually makes the pain worse.

Apart from psychological factors acting as a trigger for abdominal migraine, it is thought certain foods such as chocolate, processed meats, Chinese food that contain nitrates may cause an attack.

If you think your child may be suffering from stomach migraine the symptoms to look out for are: acute or severe midline abdominal pain, often with a feeling of nausea, vomiting, pale skin and an inability to eat. The stomach pain can last for from one hour to up to three days. Of course for children this could describe a wide variety of ailments, which is why stomach migraine often goes undiagnosed.

Unlike adult migraine, whereby a warning may precede a migraine attack, such as an aura, stomach migraine is sudden and quite severe. There may be no warning symptoms and the severity of the pain can increase the anxiety of the sufferer.

Diagnosing abdominal migraine is difficult. This is because children often find it difficult to describe what they are feeling. A family history of migraine is a key factor. The first step is to eliminate any other causes of the stomach pain. Keeping a record of the attacks can help in a diagnosis. The doctor will check the length of time of the attack, skin color, diet etc of the child to assess for the possibility of stomach migraine.

Little is known about treating stomach migraines as no specific treatment has been developed. Doctors may well treat stomach migraine the same way they treat ordinary migraines. However, some of these treatments are unsuitable for children. The best possible course of action is prevention.

Both children and adults with stomach migraine should attempt to find out what is their personal trigger. As already stated, some types of foods may trigger a stomach migraine. So avoiding these foods may be useful for some as well as keeping a diary. Keeping foods to a minimum that contain artificial substances in them is beneficial. Also avoiding drinks that are acidic and making sure regular exercise is part of daily life is important too.

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Migraine Symptoms - Vary From Person To Another

Migraine When describing migraine symptoms it first helps to understand what is a migraine. A migraine is not just an ordinary headache, as those who suffer from it will know only too well. A migraine headache can be severe and persistent and is accompanied by a wide range of other symptoms.

Migraines are the result of a constriction of the arteries in the brain, which reduces blood flow to the brain. This is followed by dilation or widening of these arteries. Hence the often unique throbbing sensation experienced with a migraine headache.

Vary From Person To Another
Migraine symptoms vary greatly from one person to another. About one in every five migraine sufferers will have what is called a classical migraine. Associated with a classical migraine is a visual disturbance known as an aura. This is flashing light in front of the eye preceding a migraine. This can be in conjunction with pins and needles and an altered sense of smell and taste.

Most patients commonly see zigzag patterns of brightly colored lights flashing or even a blind spot in the form of a hole, usually in one eye only. This aura can last from about 10 to 30 minutes. This is usually followed by the headache, but not always as some migraine sufferers only experience the aura. This is known as an ocular migraine.

In most cases the main migraine symptom is a moderate to severe headache. This is usually confined to one side of the head and can alternate from one side to the other. It is often a throbbing or pulsating headache and will get worse with physical activity. Often there is pain behind the eyes, which can be relieved with pain killers or a cold compress.

Women are more likely to suffer from migraines than men
. This is because of regular hormonal changes. Women can get migraines just before or after their menstrual period.


As well as migraine symptoms of the head, a migraine sufferer may experience a variety of other symptoms. These include the feeling of nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, even cold hands and feet. If the patient is having a visual disturbance, feelings of dizziness and disorientation can occur.

Hemipleic migraine and can be very frightening.
One very disturbing migraine symptom is that of temporary paralysis on one side of the body. This is known as a hemipleic migraine and can be very frightening if experienced for the first time. As this can mimic the signs of a stroke it is always important to have these sort of migraine symptoms checked out by your doctor to confirm that it is a migraine.

 Sensitive To Sound and Light
Migraine sufferers are generally very sensitive to light and sound during an attack. This is why it is well known that to lessen the effects and aid recovery, being in a darkened, quiet room is very beneficial.

For some people the early warning signs that a migraine is imminent can be easily missed. Migraine symptoms can occur well in advance of an attack. Feelings of elation or intense energy, cravings for sweets, thirst, drowsiness, irritability or depression, are all early warning migraine symptoms.


Migraines can be triggered by a wide variety of causes, such as , certain foods, stress and tension, dehydration, hormonal fluctuations, to name a few. It is important that if you are a migraine sufferer that you try to identify the triggers to your migraine and try to avoid them where possible.

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