Abdominal migraine is a variant of migraine headaches, which usually affects children, though it may be observed among adults also. Estimates suggest that approximately 2% of all children suffer from abdominal migraines which eventually get transformed into migraine headaches as they grow older.
While the exact cause for the development of abdominal migraines is not very clearly understood, there is a theory which attributes this condition to changes in the level of two chemicals- serotonin and histamine.
However there are other triggers like excessive consumption of Chinese food, chocolates, processed foods or foods contain certain chemicals like nitrates. Excessive swallowing of air can also act as a trigger for abdominal migraine.
Symptoms Of Abdominal Migraine
Some of the symptoms associated with abdominal migraines include the following,
- Severe and acute pain along with mid line around the navel, which is usually associated with nausea
- Excessive vomiting
- Paleness and dehydration due to excessive vomiting
- Inability to eat
- Irritability, distress and inability to concentrate
While in most cases abdominal pain subsides within a couple of hours, it can prolong for as much as three days.
Natural Treatment For Abdominal Migraine
Prior to initiating treatment for abdominal migraines, it is critical to diagnose the condition correctly. Often it is difficult to differentiate between other forms of gastrointestinal illness and abdominal migraines. However a detailed history taking process and clinical examination can provide direction to the physician. There are no specific tests or studies that can be used to confirm the diagnosis.
The treatment regimen focuses on providing adequate education to the child and their parents regarding migraine and helping them identify certain triggers and coping with them,
- Avoid foods that contain mono sodium glutamate (MSG) which can increase the chances of abdominal migraine. Ensure that your child’s diet contains fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. Avoid processed and refined foods.
- Self-stress management techniques like yoga and meditation can help improve gastrointestinal functioning and prevent abdominal migraines. Yoga Asanas like Gaumukhasana (Cow Pose) and Virbhadrasana (Warrior Pose) are considered very useful.
- Experts recommend that maintaining a diary can help the child identify the trigger factors. The diary log is aimed at keeping track of eating patterns with regards to the kind of foods, their frequency and timing, etc. This can help easily identify migraine trigger foods, which need to be avoided in the future.
- Local application of a blend of lavender and clove essential oil around the abdomen in a cyclic direction for about five minutes twice a day can help alleviate the symptoms and reduce severity of subsequent episodes. Ensure that your child is not allergic to these essential oils and always use essential oils after diluting them in base oil like coconut, walnut or wheat germ.
- Homeopathy can be useful in dealing with abdominal migraine. Though a constitutional remedy is recommended, Lycopodium and Pulsatilla are considered useful in alleviating the symptoms of acute pain. Further, early use of these drugs can help in preventing abdominal migraine from precipitating into the development of migraine headaches.
- Certain herbs like St. John’s Wart is also considered useful in dealing with abdominal migraines