Pediatric Abdominal Migraines

Pediatric Abdominal Migraines



An abdominal migraine is a type of migraine that causes pain in the middle of the abdomen.

Expanded overview

An abdominal migraine is similar to a migraine headache, except the pain is felt in the middle of the abdomen instead of the head. It is more common in children than adults. The pain from an abdominal migraine can be severe and can last for several days, just like a migraine headache.  

An abdominal migraine typically affects the center of the abdomen, near the belly button. Most children who have abdominal migraines grow out of it, however, they may develop migraine headaches as adults.


Researchers and doctors are not entirely sure what causes abdominal migraines. Some possibilities include changes in levels of serotonin (chemical produced by nerve cells) or histamine (chemical produced by the immune system) in a child’s body. Abdominal migraines may also be genetic — meaning it is inherited from a parent.


The most common triggers for abdominal migraines are:

  • Anxiety
  • Chocolate
  • Foods that contain nitrates (such as hot dogs or lunch meat)
  • Stressful situations

Risk factors

Your child may be more at risk for having abdominal migraines if there is a family history of abdominal migraines or migraine headaches.


Symptoms of an abdominal migraine may include:

  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Pale skin
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Vomiting


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