What are the Characteristics and Symptoms of Abdominal Migraine?

What is abdominal migraine?

Abdominal Migraine

As the name suggests, abdominal migraine is a migraine that occurs not on the head but on the stomach. Even so, abdominal migraines often occur due to the same triggers as migraine headaches. Abdominal migraines can feel very painful and cause nausea, cramps, and even vomiting.

Children whose family members have migraines are more at risk of developing a stomach migraine.

Children affected by abdominal migraines usually experience migraine headaches as they grow older. Abdominal migraine usually occurs in infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents.

Abdominal migraines are also usually experienced by young people who will later suffer from migraine attacks. However, severe abdominal pain can also occur in migraine attacks in adults. Sometimes this is called gastric migraine or migraine in the stomach.

Abdominal migraines are often not diagnosed in adults. Therefore, when adult men and women experience symptoms, other syndromes or disorders will be considered, such as bowel syndrome, gastric acid reflux, or lactose intolerance.

How common is a stomach migraine?

Some studies assess that one to four percent of children suffer from abdominal migraine, while other studies say that around 10 percent of children experience abdominal pain that recurs during a childhood.

Children with abdominal migraine usually have a family history of migraines. Some 65 percent of cases of abdominal migraine or cyclic vomiting have a family history of migraine.

However, this can be overcome by reducing your risk factors. Discuss with the doctor for more information.

Characteristics and symptoms

The initial signs and symptoms of abdominal migraine are a pain in the center of the child's body or around the navel (not on the side of the body), which is called midline abdominal pain by a doctor. Some other signs and symptoms of this condition can include:
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pale or red skin
  • Yawning, drowsiness, or no energy
  • Loss of appetite or unable to eat
  • Dark circles under the eyes

Abdominal migraines often occur suddenly and quite severely, and without warning signs. The pain can disappear after one hour or can last up to 3 days.

When should I see a doctor?

Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent worsening conditions and other medical emergencies, so consult your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.

If you have questions, consult your doctor. Everyone's body reacts differently. It's always better to discuss what's best for your situation with your doctor.

What are the causes of abdominal migraines?

Until now, the exact cause of stomach migraine is unknown. One theory says that changes in the levels of two compounds produced by the body, histamine, and serotonin, are the cause. Experts think that feeling sad or worried can be a trigger too.

Foods, such as chocolate, foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG), and processed meats with nitrites, can trigger stomach migraines.

Swallowing lots of air can also be a trigger or cause similar stomach symptoms. This can cause bloating and difficulty eating.

Who is at risk for experiencing abdominal migraines?

S ost child abdominal migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine, and most continue to get migraines as an adult.

How is abdominal migraine diagnosed?

It seems difficult to diagnose this condition because children often have difficulty distinguishing between abdominal migraines with normal stomach pain, stomach flu, or other problems related to the stomach and intestines.

Because abdominal migraines tend to be experienced in families, doctors will ask about family members who have migraine headaches.

Then, the doctor will eliminate other causes for stomach pain. The doctor will also see how suitable your child's symptoms are with a specific list made by migraine experts.

If the doctor suspects that you have an abdominal migraine, he may carry out a thorough examination to determine this condition.


The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor for more information.

How do you treat abdominal migraines?

Because not much is known about stomach migraines, doctors will treat it like migraines in general. They usually do not prescribe medication unless the symptoms are very severe or very frequent.

Drugs such as rizatriptan (Maxalt) and sumatriptan (Imitrex), called triptans have not been approved for use in children, although older children may be helped by using sumatriptan as a nasal spray.

What can be done to treat a stomach migraine?

With the help of parents and doctors, children with stomach migraines can find out what triggers them. Keep a diary of the date and time of the occurrence of abdominal migraines, what foods were consumed before, what was done before stomach migraines occurred, whether they used drugs recently and whether something was happening in the lives that might make them depressed or anxious.

If food triggers stomach migraines, try to avoid these foods. However, this might not work for everyone.

Children with stomach migraines must undergo a nutritious diet that is rich in fiber. Other healthy habits, such as daily exercise and getting enough sleep, and teaching children how to control their emotions and overcome their problems, can also help.

If you have questions, consult your doctor to understand the best solution for you.