Those mysterious bouts of stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting may be all in your child's head - literally. A new study has found that up to 15 percent of children with recurring abdominal pain meet the diagnostic criteria for Abdominal Migraine (AM).
The area of the brain that can cause the pain of migraine headaches is near the area that controls nausea and vomiting. Researchers believe some children may experience abdominal pain without headache when experiencing a migraine. A family history of migraine headaches may lead doctors to investigate the possibility of AM in children.
Strategies for dealing with migraine headaches - getting enough sleep, regular meals, and daily exercise, as well as avoiding food triggers - may also help children with AM. There have not been any studies done on the use of migraine headache medications to treat AM, but one migraine medication, amitriptyline, is often prescribed for children with unexplained abdominal pain.
About one-third of migraines are triggered by food. Notable triggers are coffee, chocolate, and red wine. Foods high in naturally-occurring histamine are also thought to trigger migraines in some people. A reaction to histamine is not a classic Ig-E-mediated food allergy, but can cause similar symptoms in addition to migraines.