Abdominal migraines tend to occur in children, though they can occur in adults. Most children who have abdominal migraines will grow out of it, but will develop migraine headaches later in life.
What Are Symptoms of Abdominal Migraines?
Symptoms of abdominal migraine attacks usually last between 2 to 72 hours and may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Often described as dull or sore, but may also be moderate to severe
- Usually located in the middle of the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Pale appearance (pallor)
- Dark shadows under the eyes
What Causes Abdominal Migraines?
It is not known what causes abdominal migraines, but there seems to be a brain-gut connection.
Both abdominal migraine and migraine headache have similar triggers, including:
- Hunger/skipping meals
- Exposure to bright light
- Poor sleep
- Certain foods and drinks, such as chocolate, processed foods with monosodium glutamate (MSG), and alcohol
- Withdrawal from caffeine/suddenly stopping medications that contain caffeine
- Weather changes or changes in barometric pressure
- Exposure to smoke
- Certain smells
- Certain prescription medications, such as nitroglycerin and estrogen
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
How Are Abdominal Migraines Diagnosed?
What Is the Treatment for Abdominal Migraines?
Abdominal migraine attacks are usually treated similarly to migraine headaches. Treatment for abdominal migraines may include:
- Hydration therapy (especially if there has been significant vomiting)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Antinausea medications (antiemetics)
- Preventive therapies used for other forms of migraines
- Avoiding known triggers
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