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Abdominal Migraines in Children: What You Need to Know

Have you ever heard of abdominal migraines? It sounds like a fancy way of saying, “My tummy hurts,” but trust me, it’s more than that. Abdominal migraines are real, and they can be a real pain in the gut for our little ones.

But don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about abdominal migraines in children, from the symptoms to the causes to the treatments.

By understanding the basics of this condition and taking a proactive approach to management and prevention, parents and caregivers can help their children lead healthy, active lives free from the pain and discomfort of abdominal migraines.

What are Abdominal Migraines?

Abdominal migraines are one type of migraine that mostly affects children. Even though it’s not as well-known as other types of migraines, they are surprisingly common, affecting up to 4% of children

Abdominal migraines are marked by intense, repeating bouts of severe stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting that can last for hours or even days. These events can be very bad, making it hard for a child to go to school, do social things, and do other things that are part of daily life.


Abdominal migraines are another type of migraine that primarily affects the abdomen instead of the head. When a child has this condition, they may have repeated bouts of severe stomach pain that can last from a few hours to a few days. Most of the time, the pain is felt around the belly button, which can be dull or sharp.

In addition to abdominal pain, children with abdominal migraines may experience the following:

  • nausea 
  • vomiting
  • decreased appetite 
  • fatigue
  • pale appearance

However, unlike typical migraines, abdominal migraines do not typically cause sensitivity to light or sound.

The severity and number of these symptoms can change from child to child, but they often come back repeatedly. Migraines in the stomach can be very painful and make it hard for a child to do everyday things like go to school or play with friends.

It’s important to know that the signs of abdominal migraines can be confused with other conditions, like appendicitis or gastroenteritis. So, it’s important to see a doctor to make sure you get the right evaluation.


No one knows for sure what causes migraines in the stomach yet. But research shows that both genetics and the environment may play a role in their development. Abdominal migraines have been linked to:

  • a family history of migraines
  • stress
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • certain foods
  • changes in hormones
  • digestive system problems
  • neurological issues

Even though the causes of abdominal migraines can be complicated, figuring out what sets them off and avoiding them can help reduce how often and badly they happen. In the next section, we’ll look at some of the ways to identify abdominal migraines in kids.


It can be hard to tell if someone has an abdominal migraine because the symptoms can be like other illnesses. A doctor or nurse will usually do a full physical check and review the patient’s medical history to rule out any other possible causes of the symptoms.

In addition, to help confirm the diagnosis, the provider may recommend additional tests, such as:

  • blood tests
  • imaging studies
  • gastrointestinal studies

It’s vital to get a correct diagnosis of this condition so that a good treatment plan can be made and symptoms can be managed.

It’s also important to remember that abdominal migraines don’t have a unique test or sign. So, doctors must look at the child’s symptoms and medical background to determine what’s wrong. Keeping a record of your symptoms and possible triggers can help your doctor figure out what’s wrong and help you get better care.

Treatment and Prevention

Abdominal migraines can hurt children and greatly affect their quality of life. Even though there is no known cure for this condition, there are things that can be done to help avoid them and lessen their effects. In this piece, we’ll look at some good ways to keep kids from getting abdominal migraines.

Identify Triggers

The first step in preventing this condition is to figure out what causes them. Stress, lack of sleep, certain foods or food additives, and changes in habits can all be common triggers. Recording your child’s symptoms and possible causes can help you find trends and give your doctor important information.

Live in a healthy way

Keeping a healthy lifestyle is very important if you want to avoid getting abdominal migraines. Encourage your child to eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise regularly, and sleep regularly. Drinking enough water is also important since dehydration can cause abdominal pain.

Manage Stress

Stress is a common trigger for abdominal migraines. Encourage your child to find healthy ways to deal with stress, such as deep breathing or meditation. Physical activities like yoga or tai chi or artistic activities like drawing or writing can also help.

Avoid Certain Foods

Some children can get abdominal migraines from certain foods or food additives. Chocolate, coffee, prepared meats, and foods with nitrates or monosodium glutamate (MSG) are often to blame. If you know what these things are and stay away from them, it may help prevent attacks.

Consider Medications

In some cases, preventing abdominal migraines may require taking medicine. Your doctor may recommend beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or tricyclic antidepressants to help prevent episodes.

Acupuncture and Biofeedback

Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or biofeedback, may also be beneficial in preventing this condition. These therapies aim to help manage stress and promote relaxation, which can help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes.

Working closely with your child’s doctor is important to figure out the best way to treat them. A healthcare practitioner can help you make a treatment plan for your child that takes into account all of their symptoms and needs.

Sometimes, a child’s abdominal migraines go away on their own as they get bigger. In other cases, though, the symptoms may last into age. Children who get migraines in their stomachs can live healthy, active lives if they get the right medicine and care.


Children and their families can find it hard to deal with abdominal migraines. But with the right method, it is possible to reduce the number and severity of attacks. By knowing the signs, causes, diagnosis, and treatment choices for abdominal migraines, parents and other caregivers can help their kids deal with this condition.

You can help your child live a healthy and active life without the pain and discomfort if you know the problem and take steps to deal with it. If you put in a little work and take the right action, you can help your child do well despite this problem.