Abdominal Migraine in Children & Adults: Symptoms, Treatment

Abdominal migraine

An abdominal migraine is type of migraine that mostly affects children. The main symptom is severe stomach pain that comes and goes. Adults can also have these migraines, but it’s not as common.

What is an abdominal migraine?

The main symptom of abdominal migraines is bouts of bad stomach pain. Other features can also occur. These include anorexia, nausea, sickness and pale skin. Around 0.2–4.1% of children have had this type of migraine. It is more common in children who have family members that get migraines.

Facts and figures

Abdominal migraines:

  • Affect 0.2–4.1% of children.

  • Can also be seen in adults.

  • Feature stomach pain, feeling and being sick, pale skin and loss of appetite.

  • Can last from one hour up to three days.


The main symptom is pain around the belly button. The pain may be moderate to severe. Other symptoms are stomach pain, feeling and being sick, pale skin and loss of appetite.

Abdominal migraines can last from one hour up to three days. The symptoms may go away for a time and then come back.


Treatments include:

  • Lifestyle changes, avoiding triggers.

  • Painkillers, anti-sickness pills and migraine medicine.

A diary can help to monitor the condition.

Causes and triggers

The exact cause of abdominal migraines is unknown. The condition may have similar triggers to migraine headaches. Some common triggers are stress, some types of food, and tiredness.

Abdominal migraines are more common in children whose family get migraine headaches. However, adults can also get them. Certain foods can trigger attacks. Mood changes can also set off migraine symptoms.


If a child has repeat stomach pain, it may be an abdominal migraine. Children whose families sometimes get migraines are more likely to suffer from this condition. Talk to a doctor for advice and treatment plan.

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