Abdominal Migraine

What is an abdominal Migraine?
An abdominal migraine is a recurrent disorder that is characterized by abdominal pain and is sometimes associated with nausea and vomiting. The episode begins suddenly and the abdominal pain is severe. It can last for hours to several days and can happen a several times a year.

What are the symptoms of an abdominal migraine?
Symptoms can include:

  • pain around the belly button (not the sides)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pale or flushed skin
  • loss of appetite
  • symptoms are usually relieved by sleep
  • episodes of abdominal migraine alternate with periods of wellness

What causes abdominal migraines?
The exact cause of abdominal migraines is poorly understood. Some researchers believe it is due to alterations in the body’s levels of serotonin and histamine. Genetic factors may play a role in abdominal migraines since abdominal migraines are more common in children who have a family history of migraines.

How are abdominal migraines diagnosed?
Currently, there is no specific test that will confirm a diagnosis of abdominal migraines. Laboratory tests and imaging studies are sometimes done to rule out other causes of abdominal pain.
A diagnosis of abdominal migraine is made based:

  1. the medical history
  2. a normal physical exam
  3. other causes for the abdominal pain have been ruled out
  4. Diagnostic criteria have been met.

What is the treatment for abdominal migraines?
A combination of treatment options are often used and can include:

  • Medications such as NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin), anti-nausea medication and the triptans.
  • Get plenty of exercise and sleep
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that has plenty of fiber
  • Recognize and avoid known triggers such as coffee, chocolate, cola, tea and cheese
  • If vomiting severe – may need to be treat with intravenous fluids and sedatives or antiemetic medication

REMINDER: This information is intended to provide general information and should not be used to base a diagnosis or treatment. Please consult the doctors about your specific condition and the approach for treatment.