An abdominal migraine characterized by severe pain in abdomen is seen most commonly observed among children especially girls. However, adults can also be victims of this disease. It generally expresses as a severe abdominal attack rather than a headache. In most of these children, the abdominal migraine emerges as migraine headaches in later years.
Causes of an Abdominal Migraine in Children
The change in levels of histamine and serotonin the two chemicals that are naturally observed in body is the major cause for abdominal migraines.
Certain chemicals present in foods such as processed meats and chocolates can also trigger abdominal migraine.
Increased swallowing of air through mouth also results in severe abdominal pain and may even prevent the patient from taking food due to excessive bloating.
If foods are found to be culprits, it is recommended to maintain a dairy of food items taken during a day. This will help to identify the food item that is triggering the symptoms of abdominal migraines.
Symptoms of Abdominal Migraine in Children
The characteristic symptoms of abdominal migraines include
Irresistible pain in the abdomen mostly in the region of the umbilicus that persists for about two to three hours. The pain continues for two to three days.
- Sensitivity to sound and light.
- Visual disturbances.
- Numbness and tingling sensation in the mouth region.
Due to poor intake of food, vomiting and diarrhea the child may look pale and develops dark circles around the eyes. Mild headache is also observed in few children. Paralysis may also develop in more severe cases.
Diagnosis Abdominal Migraine in Children
There are no specific tests to diagnose abdominal migraines. A particular patient is suspected to have abdominal migraines only be clear study of the symptoms and by knowing the family history of presence of any type of migraines.
Presence of abdominal problems is one indicative of presence of abdominal migraines. In more severe cases, the physician may recommend EEG or brain wave scans to confirm the presence of disease.
Treatment of Abdominal Migraines in Children
Treatment mainly aims at reducing the culprit chemical the serotonin.
Tricyclic antidepressants that block serotonin receptors are used to cure the disease.
To reduce the intensity of the pain, pain killers, paracetamol, anti-nausea drugs, sedatives and ibuprofen are generally used.
The patient is also recommended to take plenty of rest. It is recommended to rest in dark place if sensitivity to light is felt.It is highly recommended to consult the physicians before using any medications even the pain killers to avoid side effects.
Prevention of the Abdominal Migraine
Stress is the one of the important factor that triggers migraines. Hence, to prevent abdominal migraines it is recommended to stay away from stress, high temperatures, bright lights and watching television or use of computers for extended hours.
In few people foods such as fizzy drinks, chocolate, cheese, valproic acid caffeine and monosodium glutamate used as a preservative in processed foods are found to trigger migraines. Hence, patients who are sensitive to these should stay away from them.
Fresh fruits and vegetables reduce the incidence of migraines.
Lastly, with proper treatment and by taking all the required precautions it is very easy to combat abdominal migraines in children.