The Complete Abdominal Migraine Guide
Abdominal migraine is a rare condition that primarily affects children but can very rarely affect adults. It is commonly stated that around 10% of children between the ages of 5 and 15 suffer from abdominal migraines, but other studies show that number to be a little over 4% are affected.
However, in Europe, the diagnosis of abdominal migraine is much more prevalent, because in the US it is often misdiagnosed. The healthcare system in Europe seems to have a much better grasp of the condition while US doctors are still struggling to understand it. A 2009 study found that it is likely that as many as 15% of pediatric gastrointestinal patients who present with abdominal pain that is idiopathic and recurrent likely have abdominal migraine.
As the name suggests, abdominal migraines are not what most people think of when they hear migraines they arent headaches. Instead, they cause pain in the stomach and often include intense pain cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
They tend to share the same triggers as migraine headaches and often occur in families where members are prone to migraines. Whats more, children who have abdominal migraines usually get the headache version as well or they develop as the child matures. The link between abdominal migraines and the migraines that produce headaches is still a bit of a mystery for doctors.
Combining Therapies For Migraine Treatment
While diet can play a significant role in your migraine attacks, it may not be the only trigger. You will still need to look at your environment, health, and stress levels. You may find that migraine medication and some natural remedies for migraine will help to boost your preventative measures.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to maintain healthy habits. Get enough sleep each night, get regular exercise, and stay hydrated. Learn stress-relieving techniques and take time for yourself. Maintain a healthy diet whether you eliminate all triggering foods from your diet, or just a few items. If light sensitivity is a problem, wear migraine glasses, not only outdoors, but indoors as well especially while using your computer or other electronic devices.
Top Foods That Trigger Migraine
The relationship between migraines and food is a very personal one. There is no universal directive for foods that should be eliminated from the diet as a preventative measure against migraine. At first glance, the list may appear daunting, especially when you break down additives or chemicals that are in the food. You may walk away wondering if there is anything that you can eat!
The good news is, its very rare for a person to be affected by most of the offending foods and even rarer, for someone to be affected by everything on the list. The chances are very good that, at most, you will walk away with a handful of foods that you will need to avoid and you can freely enjoy the rest.
This list is broken down into two categories: Foods and food additives. This makes it a little easier to review and understand. In many areas they will overlap since additives are found in foods. As you review the list, some foods may immediately pop onto your radar as you make the connection between your migraines and certain things that you eat regularly. However, some foods may not be as apparent. It is best to thoroughly assess all the foods you come in contact with in order to determine what should be omitted from your diet.
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Pain Safe Foods From The Migraine Diet
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has created the Migraine Diet, a vegan based plan that is designed to help prevent migraines and minimize migraine pain. They have compiled a list of pain safe foods that almost never contribute to migraines:
- Rice brown rice preferably, but white rice is good too
- Cooked or steamed green vegetables spinach, collards, broccoli, and Swiss chard
- Cooked or steamed orange vegetables sweet potatoes and carrots
- Cooked or steamed yellow vegetables summer squash
- Dried or cooked non -citrus fruits cranberries, prunes, cherries, pears
- Water plain or carbonated
- Condiments vanilla extract, maple syrup, limited amounts of salt
Causes Of Abdominal Migraines In Adults
Like migraine headaches, abdominal migraines are thought to be caused by neurological issues. There is a recognized relationship between the brain and the gut , known as the brain-gut connection. Doctors dont entirely understand what causes migraine headaches or abdominal migraines, but they know that there is a neurological component that affects both the head and the gut.
Oftentimes, abdominal migraines can have the same triggers as migraine headaches. These can include stress, weather changes, certain foods, or poor sleep. If you believe that youre suffering from abdominal migraines, keep a journal to help determine which triggers might be causing your attacks.
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What Are The Symptoms Of An Abdominal Migraine
Patients describe abdominal migraine pain as dull or sore. Its usually felt near the belly button. Unlike a typical bellyache, however, people describe abdominal migraines as intense pain that subsides after about two hours.
Other symptoms include:
- Vomiting. According to Childrens Hospital of Wisconsin, about half the children with abdominal migraine meet the criteria for cyclic vomiting.
- Fatigue, listlessness, malaise
Dont: Eat Foods With Msg
If youve ever gotten a migraine after eating at an Asian restaurant, the culprit might be monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG. Caffeine withdrawal and administration of MSG have the strongest evidence for triggering attacks of headache, says VanderPluym. MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly found in soy sauce, some packaged foods, bouillon, and Asian foods. It can be tricky to spot, because MSG might be listed under another name, including natural flavoring, all-natural preservatives, hydrolyzed fat, or hydrolyzed protein. If youre sensitive to MSG, youll know it: Symptoms start within 20 to 25 minutes of consuming it and can include headache, facial flushing, a burning sensation or tightness in the chest, and abdominal discomfort.
The form of MSG matters as well. Studies show MSG is more likely to cause a headache if its in liquid than if its in food, says Martin. Thats because food delays the absorption of MSG. That means eating wonton soup from your favorite Chinese restaurant is more likely to cause a headache than, say, General Tsos chicken.
Why Does Food Trigger Migraine
Doctors and researchers dont know the exact cause for migraine. Most doctors agree that when brain activity briefly changes, it can lead to an attack. What prompts these changes is not entirely clear. However, numerous studies, have found potential links to certain environmental and behavioral factors that are consistent enough in migraine patients to be considered triggers. This includes certain foods that seem to cause migraine attacks in about 10% of the migraine population.
Research indicates that certain elements in food such as sulfites, nitrites, histamine, phenylethylamine, and tyramine are have a significant role in migraines caused by food. It is believed that these foods and elements in them affect certain migraine phases by prompting the release of norepinephrine and serotonin. This can elicit several responses, all of which can cause headache or migraine:
- The blood vessels dilate , causing the blood pressure to decrease
- The blood vessels constrict , causing the blood pressure to increase
- Directly stimulate the brainstem, trigeminal ganglia, and cortical neuronal pathways.
Therefore, it stands to reason that when these foods or food additives are eliminated from the diet, the head pain will not be triggered, thus allowing the patient to avoid or prevent food-triggered migraine.
What Is A Migraine Headache
Migraine is a moderate-to-severe headache that lasts from 2 to 48 hours and usually occurs two to four times per month.
Migraine, also called an acute recurrent headache, occurs in about 3% of children of preschool children, 4% to 11% of elementary school-aged children, and 8% to 15% of high school-aged children. In early childhood and before puberty, migraine is more commonly seen in boys than girls. In adolescence, migraine affects young women more than young men. As adults, women are three times more likely to have a migraine than men.
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Prevention And Treatment Of Abdominal Migraines
The best way to prevent abdominal migraines is by avoiding your triggers. This might mean keeping a regular sleep schedule, managing stress, and avoiding foods that could cause an attack.
If you have frequent, severe attacks even after youve adapted lifestyle changes, you should talk to your doctor about medications that can prevent migraines of the abdomen. These are the same medications used to treat migraine headaches and may include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and blood pressure medications.
Once an abdominal migraine has started, you can treat it the same way that you would treat a migraine headache. The use of NSAIDs like Advil can help control the pain. Triptans can be used to stop the attack before it gets worse. In addition, your doctor might recommend antinausea medications and rehydration, particularly if your abdominal migraines include severe vomiting.
Quick And Easy Migraine Diet Tips To Reduce Pain
A migraine can be an intense event that can ruin a whole day or even a week. It can be a chronic condition that you have to manage for most of your life, too. Throbbing pain in the head is the classic symptom of this disorder, but it is also known to be accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. So it is easy to assume that if you do get migraines, you want to make sure you minimize them as much as possible. A migraine diet can help.
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Treatment For Abdominal Migraine
Treatment for abdominal migraine often focuses on prevention rather than abortive methods. There are medications that are effective for some patients, but doctors are usually hesitant to prescribe them to children unless the attacks are frequent, or the symptoms are very severe.
One of the major problems is that, while typical migraine medications may work, many are not approved for children. This is the case with two popular triptans, Maxalt and Imitrex . The medications are not approved for children, but some older children may be able to use sumatriptan delivered as a nasal spray.
Other medications for abdominal migraines include:
- Periactin is an antihistamine that also helps calm stomach problems
- Inderal is a beta blocker used to treat heart conditions but is also effective for migraines
- Sandomigran is benzocycloheptene-based drug that is often used to treat migraine headaches
- Depakote or Depakene is used to treat seizures as well as bipolar disorder and can help stop abdominal migraine attacks
Unfortunately, most treatments for abdominal migraines are pharmacological in nature, Dr. Caminez says. Anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory or even anti-depressants are common treatments and, in many cases do help, but fail to address the underlying condition which caused the problem in the first place.
Healthy Eating For A Healthy Head
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans make food recommendations to help you live a healthier life. Some recommendations are:
- Aim for half of your grains to be whole grains. Whole grains have more fiber and vitamins. Try to change things like white bread, white rice, and pasta in your diet to whole grains.
- Aim for increasing fruit and vegetable intake. Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables, every time! Eat a variety of vegetables.
- Aim to eat healthy fats, not low fat. Limit saturated and trans fats when possible. Try to increase seafood consumption to two to three times per week to get your omega-3 fats.
- Limit sodium to less than 2300 mg/day. Most salt in our diets comes from processed foods . Cook from scratch whenever possible, or choose foods labeled as low sodium whenever possible.
In addition to the basics of a healthy diet, there are a few things to think about if you have migraines:
- Dont skip meals, especially if this triggers migraines.
- Consider eating 5 small meals per day. Eat a carbohydrate with a protein or a good fat to stay full longer.
- Dont eat or drink anything that you KNOW triggers your migraine. Some common food triggers are alcohol, aged cheeses, caffeine, and chocolate.
- Drink water throughout the day instead of sugary drinks like soda or juice.
Rockett, F. C. et al. Dietary aspects of migraine trigger factors. Nutr. Rev. 70, 337356 .
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Talking To Your Childs Doctor About Abdominal Migraine
If your child is experiencing symptoms that you feel may be abdominal headaches, the more you can tell their doctor, the better. Show them the migraine diary that you have been keeping for your child and tell them about any symptoms that really concern you.
Abdominal migraine is an unusual condition and many doctors are not well acquainted with the symptoms, diagnostic criteria, or treatment. A migraine specialist may be a better option for diagnosing and treating your child. These doctors specialize in migraines and may be better equipped to provide a diagnosis. They can then work with you to create a treatment plan for your child that will help prevent attacks and relieve symptoms in the event an attack occurs.
However, talking to a specialist or your childs pediatrician can be a daunting task. Having an open, honest conversation and sharing as much information as possible give the doctor insight into certain lifestyle triggers and any familial traits that can be causing the attacks. Often, though, the diagnosis starts at home. It begins with parents observing their childs behavior and noting their illness. From there it leads to the doctors office and testing. Still, the parents are the key. Dr. Caminez offers some signs parents can look for.
How To Stop A Migraine In Seconds With One 100% Natural Ingredient
Migraines, undoubtedly, an excruciating headache that has become quite normal nowadays among middle-aged people along with teenagers. The pain sensation because of a migraine is as real as if it is happening due to some physical injury to the body. Bad migraine headaches can not just ruin your entire day but can have a significant impact on your work along with overall health.
Therefore, it is crucial to take serious measures in the initial phases of a migraine to cure the pain sensation and decrease the frequency. Apart from foods to eat when you have Migraine, there are numerous natural home remedies available that claim to treat the headaches triggered due to a migraine.
Among all the remedies, the salt is an excellent ingredient to deal with a migraine at home and you will get the desired result in no time. When you depend on a salt remedy to deal with migraine headaches, then make sure you use Himalayan crystal salt. The salt is a rich source of 84 nutrients and a bunch of around 118 elements that are recognized by the modern science.
The use of salt to cure migraine headaches gives you many other health benefits. It will help to increase the energy level of the body as well as restore the alkaline environment of the body. Additionally, it maintains a balance of serotonin level within our bloodstream as well as makes the immune system more powerful. Also, it is very beneficial to balance the electrolyte in our body due to a high level of nutrient content.
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What Types Of Migraine Occur In Children And Adolescents
There are two main types. A migraine without an aura occurs in 60% to 85% of children and adolescents who get a migraine. A migraine with an aura occurs in 15% to 30%. In young children, migraine often begins in the late afternoon. As the child gets older, migraine often begins in the early morning.
What Treatments Are Available For Abdominal Migraines
Children receive treatments based on their symptoms, and the causes and triggers for their abdominal migraines.
Once your care team determines the stress, event or food that triggers the abdominal migraine, they will work to remove that source of stress and reduce your child’s pain. Your doctor might suggest medications to relieve pain or medications used to treat migraines. It is important to know that some medicines may not work for your child, so talk to your doctor about options.
“Remember that the medicines stop an attack, but they do not prevent one,” says Dr. Sanghavi. To prevent an abdominal migraine, work with your child to monitor and reduce stress and avoid eating trigger foods.
Other treatments include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Guided imagery
“Stress cannot always be controlled, but we can teach a child how to control their body’s response to stress,” says Dr. Sanghavi. “We recognize that some children need help relaxing.”
Children likely outgrow abdominal migraines, but may develop migraine headaches during adolescence or adulthood. “Managing migraines is not a sprint, but a marathon,” says Dr. Sanghavi. “We help families make lifestyle changes now that will last for life.”
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Foods And Drinks That Trigger Migraine
There is a long list of foods that people report as migraine triggers, and more than half report several food triggers. The most common ones include:1,3
- Alcohol, especially red wine and beer
- Foods with yeast, baking soda, or baking powder
- Citrus fruits
- Cured meats such as ham, hot dogs, sausage, and salami
- Monosodium glutamate , a food additive
- Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose
- Drinks with caffeine such as coffee, tea, and soda
- Dairy products like ice cream and milk
- Foods high in histamines, nitrites, and nitrates
How To Hold Off Migraines
Take these steps to help stave off a migraine after you eat:
Choose better food. Eat as much wholesome, fresh food, like fruits and vegetables, as you can. Avoid processed and packaged foods.
Eat more âminiâ meals. Instead of three large meals each day, opt for five or six small ones. This will prevent you from getting a headache because youâre hungry. Youâre also less likely to eat a lot of a single food that could trigger a migraine.
Drink plenty of water. To stay hydrated, sip at least eight glasses of water each day.
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