Recurring Stomach Pain? It Could Be Abdominal Migraines

When you imagine of migraines, head suffering possible will come to head. A migraine is a neurological sickness that can deliver on nausea, vomiting and mild sensitivity. Its most important symptom is agonizing head ache. But, it turns out, this ailment can inflict the abdomen as perfectly, especially in children.

“[Abdominal migraines] are relatively widespread and fairly underdiagnosed,” says Lindsay Elton, a pediatric neurologist in Austin, Texas. “Families will occur in and say they assumed their kid was acquiring a lot of tummy bugs, but it was taking place far too often for that to make perception.”  

What Are Stomach Migraines?

Abdominal migraines aren’t like typical headache migraines. In point, individuals who have belly migraines rarely even have head pain. In its place, the discomfort is found in the stomach, generally centered around the belly button. It is typically described as an achy or sore thoughts, like a stomach ache, but it can come to feel distinctive dependent on the particular person. 

Stomach migraines impact .2 to 4.1 percent of youngsters. “We are inclined to see them in more youthful children, usually elementary school-aged, and up until eventually early middle university,” states Elton. It is rare to see them take place earlier, but it does take place. 

Stomach migraine assaults are inclined to get better as youngsters get older, at times disappearing completely. But about 70 p.c of children will go on to have typical migraine head aches.

Pre-adolescent boys have a tendency to have larger incidences of migraines, but as children development via puberty, a lot more girls are afflicted by migraines, and boys are inclined to grow out of them, in accordance to Elton. 

“It would be appealing to know what that looks like with just pure abdominal migraine assaults,” states Elton, “[whether] these youngsters skew out to a higher incidence of migraine head aches in women I would think about it does.” 

Physicians don’t know particularly what causes abdominal migraines, but the ailment could be thanks to shared neurotransmitter methods from the brain and gut. “Your intestine has a huge quantity of nerve endings and serotonin receptor web-sites, just as in the brain,” Elton explains. And the same receptor stimulation that transpires in the brain with headache migraines probably takes place with belly migraines, only in the intestine.

Diagnosing Abdominal Migraines

There is not a unique diagnostic test for stomach migraines. Instead, relatives historical past, indicators and prior screening are all thought of. There is a relatives background of migraines in 34 to 90 percent of young children who have abdominal migraines, in accordance to a 2018 peer-reviewed analyze in Dove Push

If a youngster hasn’t experienced a GI workup, quite a few neurologists will make a referral in purchase to rule out other probable results in, such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and cyclic vomiting syndrome. GI experts might do an endoscopy, ultrasound, blood function or stool experiments.

According to the Global Classification of Headache Problems 3rd edition (ICHD-3), to meet up with the diagnostic standards for abdominal migraines, a boy or girl has to have:

  • Five or much more assaults of belly ache lasting between two and 72 hours 

  • No signs in among episodes

  • Two of the three qualities of: midline or periumbilical area, uninteresting or sore soreness, and reasonable to extreme intensity 

  • Involved indicators this sort of as lack of urge for food, nausea, vomiting or pallor (seeking pale) 

  • Signs are not brought about by some other rationalization

“The analysis is just not a tricky analysis. It has very clear diagnostic conditions, but you do in fact have to sit down and get a heritage from anyone,” says Elton.

Managing Triggers Is Key

Superior self-care is the finest avoidance for stomach migraines. Sleep, nourishment and hydration go a very long way in running the symptoms. “Staying perfectly-hydrated is of paramount relevance,” says Elton. From time to time, the only prescription her young people depart with is a each day drinking water consumption target. With these life style modifications, she thinks half of her patients’ signs turn out to be noticeably improved.

Worry is generally a frequent cause as very well. There have not been lots of research on making use of cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) to aid reduce abdominal migraine assaults in youngsters, but some investigate supports CBT for dealing with migraine headaches in little ones. 

Numerous small children with stomach migraines also have a important movement sickness background, states Elton. Quite often toddlers and young small children with motion illness will go on to acquire complications and recurrent migraines. “There is a backlink there, but we you should not specifically know what it is,” Elton provides.

Selected meals can also be triggers. Food items preservatives these kinds of as MSG, dyes (purple dye in particular) and nitrates appear to result in migraines, as effectively as tyramine, which is present in parmesan and other aged cheeses. If your kid is acquiring frequent episodes, you may well look at eliminating these from their diet program for a couple of weeks, one particular at a time, and see if migraine attacks become fewer frequent or fewer significant. 

Other Means to Take care of Belly Migraines

The faster you can handle migraines, the faster you can protect against signs or symptoms. Above-the-counter (OTC) ache relievers these types of as Tylenol and ibuprofen, or anti-nausea drugs can be terrific alternatives.  

Prescription remedies for migraines are typically secure and efficient. Day-to-day preventative prescription drugs are commonly reserved for little ones who have extra than 4 assaults in a thirty day period, or whose attacks previous for a number of days or result in them to miss faculty, says Elton.

Particular supplements have been reported to have some success in managing migraine indicators. Even though magnesium is backed by the American Migraine Foundation, it can induce belly upset, which helps make Elton additional hesitant to use it with her people. Vitamin B2 may aid avert migraine signs in accordance to a 2021 Dietary Neuroscience study. According to Elton, there is no information showing its usefulness for abdominal migraines in unique, but it could enable some small children and it’s deemed a reduced-hazard treatment to test. 

Demystifying belly migraines and obtaining a analysis is essential, Elton says, simply because it can make the pain fewer frightening and simplicity concerns in mom and dad about their small children. It is also a vital move toward beneficial treatment. “To feel like you have a tackle on it and a sport approach is really helpful,” Elton states.