Abdominal Migraines in Children and Adults
What Are Abdominal Migraines in Children and Adults?
An abdominal migraine is a variant of migraine headaches. It usually occurs in children who have a family history of migraines. Abdominal migraines are rare in adults, but about 2% of all children may get abdominal migraines. Females are more affected than males.
Children that experience abdominal migraines typically develop migraine headaches when they get older.
Although abdominal migraines are in the migraine family, the pain occurs in the belly. Usually, it's near the navel or midline. Abdominal migraines frequently occur as a reaction to a migraine trigger. They can cause severe stomach pain, nausea, abdominal cramping, and often vomiting.
What Causes Abdominal Migraines?
The exact cause of abdominal migraines hasn't been discovered, but one theory is that abdominal migraines are caused by changes in two chemicals, histamine and serotonin. Both of these occur naturally in the body. The chemical changes could contribute to both migraine headaches and abdominal pain. Experts now believe that daily stress and anxiety can cause fluctuations in these body chemicals. There is increasing support for the theory that unexplained abdominal pain may have a psychological trigger.
In addition, it's thought that foods such as chocolate, Chinese food, and processed meats that contain certain chemicals -- nitrites -- might trigger abdominal migraines. Excessive air swallowing may also trigger abdominal migraines or other similar gastrointestinal symptoms. The result is bloating and interference with eating.
Reviewed on 8/29/2012
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