What Is Abdominal Migraine? How Can You Prevent It?
I am sure you have heard of migraines and many of us may be experiencing close encounters with it on a regular basis. But have you ever heard of abdominal migraine?
What Are Abdominal Migraines?
Abdominal migraine belongs to the family of migraines in general, but is totally different from the regular kind of migraine headache that we all know about, since there is no headache involved in the first place. To make matters worse, abdominal migraine and children go together. Around 2 to 4 % of all children suffer from abdominal migraine.
Symptoms Of Abdominal Migraine
- The usual symptoms in abdominal migraine are severe abdominal pain and vomiting. The abdominal pain often arrives as acute attacks of colic followed by vomiting.
- There may be nausea preceding the vomiting.
- Abdominal pain is usually described as being moderate to severe.
- The child may have slight pallor of the skin as well and mostly refuses to eat any food.
- The abdominal pain is almost always felt over the midline area and it can persist for hours together or in some cases could even extend to more than a day at a time.
Causes of Abdominal Migraines
- Migraines and hormones are deeply related. In almost all of these attack there is considered to be an imbalance between levels of serotonin and histamine. Anything that disturbs the natural balance between these hormones can lead to abdominal migraine as well.
- Abdominal migraines may also be triggered by consuming certain food stuffs like for instance chocolates, Chinese cuisine or meats that have been processed.
- Some kids have a habit of swallowing air, which is called as aerophagia. Aerophagia can be one of the triggers for abdominal migraine.
- Psychological issues could also be one of the causes.
- Genetic history seems to play a very important part, because children who suffer from abdominal migraines may have blood relatives suffering from migraines.
Difference Between Abdominal Migraine and Migraine Headache
- Abdominal migraine is never accompanied or preceded by any aura, whereas it is a common factor with migraine attack.
- There is no disturbance of vision or flashes of light before the eyes or ringing in the ears in abdominal migraine.
Treatment of Abdominal Migraine
- Some doctors prefer to treat them like migraine headache.
- Serotonin blockers and tricyclic anti-depressants are often prescribed
- Other drugs that are used are valproic acid and sumatriptan
Can Abdominal Migraines Be Prevented?
- Prevention is possible only if you can pin point the trigger foods or circumstances that cause the flare-ups.
- Once you know for sure about the triggers, inform your child about them and also ensure that your child learns to avoid such foodstuffs.
- Since stress is an important factor that triggers the abdominal pain, take measures to relax. Meditation and relaxation techniques are quite useful in cutting back on the negative effects of stress and can be easily learnt and done by children as well.
- Adopting a healthy lifestyle is very important, and that includes cultivating healthy eating habits. Avoiding consumption of fast food, junk food, processed food or Chinese foods that contain MSG in large measure is an effective step towards protection against abdominal migraines.