Have you, or someone you love, been experiencing stomach pain that hasn’t had a clear cause even after medical investigations? You may be suffering from abdominal migraines! Read on to see whether this explains your symptoms and what you can do to help manage them!
What is abdominal migraine or stomach migraine?
Abdominal migraine is also known as a ‘stomach migraine’. It is a type of migraine that causes recurrent attacks of moderate to severe pain in the abdomen. Any signs of gastrointestinal or renal disease or such disease should have previously been ruled out by appropriate investigations.
Who do Abdominal Migraines affect?
Abdominal Migraine in Children
- Abdominal migraine is most commonly seen in children aged 3-10 years. Children who have experienced these abdominal migraines may go on to experience headaches or migraines later on in life.
Abdominal Migraine in Adults
- If adult stomach migraines are linked with abdominal migraines, it may be associated with other types of headaches or migraines, or even a history of abdominal migraines when they were younger.
What are the symptoms?
Those who suffer abdominal migraines may experience pain directly above or around the naval, directly along the middle of the abdomen or generalised pain around the abdomen.
Episodes of abdominal migraines can last from 2 to 72 hours and are also associated with symptoms such as:
- increased heart rate
- pale skin
- changes in body temperature and anorexia
What causes or triggers abdominal migraines?
The cause of abdominal migraines is still under research but is thought to be due to neurological or hormonal changes in the body — which happens a lot during a child’s early years.
What triggers Abdominal Migraines?
- Things that may trigger an abdominal migraine are:
- skipping meals
- exposure to bright light
- poor sleep
- certain types of foods (e.g., chocolate, caffeine).
Can Abdominal Migraines be genetic?
- There is thought to be a potential link between abdominal migraines and genetic history of headaches or migraines. However, the link between these two factors is still undergoing research.
When should I speak with a migraine expert?
There are a few things you can do if this information has resonated with you and you believe you may be suffering from abdominal migraines. Keep reading to see what your options are!
Speaking with your Doctor
- Your doctor can help provide you with information about what medications may help relieve symptoms. They may also be able to conduct medical assessments to rule out the presence of any underlying conditions.
- There are certain types of medication that your GP or specialist may recommend to help reduce or relieve symptoms of abdominal migraines such as:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (also known as NSAIDs) to relieve pain.
- Triptans – this is a type of medication that helps prevent symptoms from progressing.
- Anti-nausea medication to relieve or prevent nausea and vomiting.
- Medications such as NSAIDs may be able to be bought from a pharmacy, while triptans and anti-nausea medication may require a prescription from your GP. However, it is important to discuss your symptoms with your GP first to discuss the best and safest option for medication.
- Medication can be useful to help give you or your child relief from their symptoms. Unfortunately, the effects of this are only temporary and only offer short-term relief as it does not target the root cause of the condition.
When to speak with a migraine expert
- So, have you continued to experience abdominal or stomach migraines, even after having rigorous medical testing to rule out the presence of any other conditions?
- Are you tired of using ‘band-aid fixes’ such as medication to relieve your symptoms?
- If you believe you’re suffering from abdominal migraines and you’re looking for more answers and the root cause of your symptoms, you could significantly benefit from seeing a migraine expert.
- Abdominal migraines are thought to be due to a neurological issue known as ‘brainstem sensitisation’. Your brainstem houses many nerves, one of which runs all the way down to your stomach. This is called the ‘Vagus nerve’. If the brainstem becomes sensitised then this may cause sensitivity of the vagus nerve which causes symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. This is something that our headache clinicians can assess for!
What are the benefits of booking an appointment at the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic?
- Our expert clinicians will be able to conduct a thorough interview and assessment and you will know if you are eligible to receive treatment from them by the end of the very first session.
- In this session, they will be able to determine if a sensitised brainstem is the cause of visceral hypersensitive relating to your abdominal migraine. If so our headache practitioners can offer the best treatment solution that is medication-free, non-invasive and aimed at treating the root cause of your condition.
- If you have been suffering from abdominal migraines and have had little to no success in resolving your symptoms or finding the cause of your condition, we highly recommend booking in with one of our headache clinicians for an assessment!