Children get migraines, too, they are not a condition confined to adulthood.. Studies have even indicated that infants may get migraines, but this is hard to verify.
Current estimates indicate that up to 10% of children between 5-15 years old suffer from migraines, increasing to 28% in the 15-19 age range. Migraine headaches have a real impact on quality of life for children. The high percentage of children that experience migraines makes them a top childhood health problems.
Diagnosing pediatric migraine is similar to diagnosing adult migraines with a few notable exceptions. The International Headache Society’s criteria states that the headache must last 4 to 72 hours. Children’s migraines are generally shorter and this fact needs to be taken into account when attempting to diagnose them. Adult migraines are frequently one-sided, but children’s frequently involve pain on both sides of the head. These headaches should not be dismissed just because they are not one-sided.
For most child migraineurs (people suffering from migrainous headaches) the headaches begin between 5 and 11 years of age. Prior to puberty, the number of male and female children with migraines is roughly equal. After puberty, girls are considerably more likely than boys are to have migraines, most likely due to the same hormonal issues that make the number of adult women migraineurs three times that of the men.
Many child migraineurs are fortunate enough to have their condition disappear during puberty or upon reaching adulthood. However, people who have migraines as children are much more likely to become adult migraineurs than those who did not have them as a child.
Adult migraine sufferers should watch for migraine symptoms in their children, particular if the other parent also experiences migraines. A child with two migraineur parents has a 70% chance of becoming a migraineur.
Anyone who has ever had a migraine will say they do not just happen in the head. The headache is usually the worst and most painful part of a migraine, but there’s more. Most migraineurs (people who suffer from migraines) will talk about photosensitivity (sensitivity to light), phonosensitivity (sensitivity to sound), scent sensitivity, gastric pain, cramping, and vomiting.
Sometimes the abdominal symptoms show up without the other typical migraine symptoms. When they do, a patient is said to be experiencing an abdominal migraine. An abdominal migraine is pain, usually varying from mild to medium, in the abdomen. The pain is either along the midline or unspecified and is frequently accompanied by abdominal tenderness, cramp-like spasms, bloating, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Since abdomen pain can be caused by a wide variety of conditions other causes need to be ruled out before a diagnosis can be made. In a classic abdominal migraine, no gastric cause for the pain can be identified. Migraineurs need to let their doctors know about their migraines when they experience unspecified abdominal pain so that the doctor knows abdominal migraine may be a possibility.
Abdominal migraines are most common in children. Children who experience abdominal migraines frequently grow up to be migraineurs. While abdominal migraine is not unheard of in adults, it is rare. Like most other types of migraine, it is also more common in females than in males.
While the exact cause of abdominal migraines is unknown, it is highly likely to be related to serotonin deficiency. Serotonin deficiency has been linked in several studies to migraines, and 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gastric system. Serotonin deficiency causes cascading waves of nerve reaction in the brain when triggering a migraine and a similar process may be in effect in the abdomen.