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Abdominal Migraine

(29 Posts)
lloydjam Fri 14-Jan-11 07:58:28

I am after any advice please ! My Dd1 is 11 and has had abdominal migraines for about 2 years. Her consultant has just increased her propanalol to 40mg twice a day but it hasnt had any affect. She is now on her third day off school and I am at a loss as to what to do. Does anyone else have any advice on how I can help my daughter as she is in a great deal of pain. thank you

sunshineandshowers Fri 14-Jan-11 19:03:44

I had these as a child. From 8/9 all the way through to now. I used to take imipramine. It was very effective.

Does it come in attacks or is it continuous?

Does she have alot of stress? Something you may not be aware of. I had a v stressful home life (alot of anger) (I'm not saying you do!).

Try to get her to talk to you and open up about anything that is worrying her.

flamingtoaster Fri 14-Jan-11 19:18:28

My daughter started suffering from this shortly before she was three but at the time they didn't know what it was. She was so ill she was hospitalized three times (five days on a drip each time) as she went completely floppy and brought up considerable amounts of blood when she became exhausted after several days.

I actually discovered what the problem was myself (my husband suffers from migraines though just with "lights" and no pain but it did make me wonder). She used to start attacks quite frequently at 4.00 am so as I had identified low blood sugar as one of her triggers during the day (we could often head off an attack by giving her something sweet if we saw her going pale) I made sure she had two rounds of toast or a bowl of cereal before she went to bed, and no matter how inconvenient it was we made sure she always ate at the same times each day. The bedtime snack stopped the 4 am throwing up completely.

Her other triggers were chocolate or ham eaten after 4.00 pm - earlier in the day she could eat them without trouble. Being overtired was also a trigger so we worked very hard on making sure she did not exhaust herself.

We're not sure whether she grew out of it eventually or just that we now avoid her triggers automatically. She still ensures that she never gets too hungry or tired - even at University.

I do hope you can at least reduce your daughter's attacks in a similar way.

lloydjam Mon 17-Jan-11 18:55:02

Thank you very much for your advice - the triggers are usually physical exercise (nothing major even a stroll can set them off) or tiredness (no sleepovers for her unfortunately) but sometimes there doesn't seem to be a reason. I do agree that low blood sugar is a culprit (we take sweets on walks/bike rides for this reason) but perhaps I need to make sure I am more strict with this. Today she is back at school and everything is well with the world, until the next time !! I do hope she grows out of them like your daughter flamingtoaster !.

flamingtoaster Mon 17-Jan-11 21:42:35

Glad your DD is back at school. One thing we discovered with DD (and the DD of a friend who also had the same problem until we told them what we do) is that she needs to eat more food than you would expect to keep her blood sugar even. She doesn't gain weight so it's obviously not more than she needs - but she does need to eat a surprising amount to stay well!

Hope your DD either grows out of it or finds a way to control it.

lloydjam Tue 18-Jan-11 09:06:16

Thank you that is great advice - I will implement this tonight !!

Sarahlou8 Tue 18-Jan-11 22:15:54

lloydjam - My DS is 10 and has had abdominal migraines since he was 3, was diagnosed properly in November 2007 and has been on Sanomigran (pizotifen) daily, in various doses, ever since. They don't cure them but they do reduce the frequency and severity of them.

It's really horrible to watch them suffer and be unable to do very much to help.

Our known triggers are tiredness, late meals (low blood sugar) heat, and an impending infection.

As he's getting older the sickness is improving but the headaches (classic migraine) are worsening although I find he will respond to ibuprofen if taken fast enough.

Has Pizotifen been suggested to you at all? I'm not sure where we would be without it.

auntevil Wed 19-Jan-11 10:38:57

This is very interesting for me. My DS was diagnosed as CMP, Fuctose and sucrose intolerant last year. Since removing (as near as you can with sucrose) these from his diet, he has had crippling stomach pain. he has been sent home from school looking pale and wanting to curl up in a ball.
When i asked the gastroenterologist if the severe reduction in sugar in the blood could be making this situation occur/worse, he said that it would have nothing to do with it. Told me just to give pain relief when it happened.
GP told me the same.
I'm not diagnosing and saying that he has abdominal migraine, but the pains were one of the reasons that he was seen in the first place. More interestingly that the gastroenterologist didn't believe that lack of sugar could cause stomach pain.
Who gave and how did you all get your diagnosis?

flamingtoaster Wed 19-Jan-11 14:22:52

Sorry your son is suffering, auntevil. When I identified my DD's problem it was called "the periodic syndrome" because children suffered from it periodically but at that stage no-one understood what it was (I was told that by two different Consultants). I managed to avoid most of my DD's attacks, and reduce their severity substantially, once I realized what was going on - and she was never hospitalised again, nor so sick that bringing up blood was an issue. Keeping blood sugar even is still vital for her - even at university she always had biscuits in her pocket in case she was late getting to a meal!

It was only some years later that "abdominal migraine" was recognized and replaced "the periodic syndrome".

Sarahlou8 Wed 19-Jan-11 21:49:52

When DS was diagnosed they called it 'cyclic vomiting syndrome' which sounds very similar to yours, flamingtoaster.

I had to keep a diary of the dates, time of onset and duration for the doctor, for around 3 months. My DS was 'cycling' every 3 weeks almost to the day.
We were referred to the hospital where they explored every avenue, bullying/problems at home/family history - all of which was fine. We also had to keep a food diary which also showed nothing.

Without going into loads of detail the consultant told me that with CVS something triggers the 'emetic centre' in the brain. Treatment involves trying to find the trigger and block it. With my DS the trigger appears to be seratonin (yep, the feel good hormone) and his medication blocks it. Makes sense when you think chocolate is a migraine trigger for some!

Are your children sick with it, or just in pain?

flamingtoaster Wed 19-Jan-11 22:25:17

DD would be in lots of pain and vomit increasingly frequently - starting half hourly, then over a period of a day or so peaking at about every five minutes. She was put into hospital three times - extremely ill on all three occasions (but they didn't just assume it was the syndrome - and tested for meningitis, and worse, each time just to be sure, on one occasion they injected sugar solution straight into the drip as her liver wasn't working properly). On another occasion I wasn't sure in the middle of the night that it was the syndrome (even though I had done all the meningitis checks they had shown me how to do) and the on-call doctor came to us - he stayed for 45 minutes until he was sure we were past the peak. I was incredibly grateful!

Sarahlou8 Wed 19-Jan-11 22:37:37

Did she get a warning? We get about half an hour. DS will say he 'feels poorly' but can't be any more specific. He knows when one is coming. His episodes were lasting between 12 to 18 hours and sound exactly the same as you describe. Afterwards he would ask for dinner and recover very quickly as if by magic!

The sickness episodes are definitely decreasing now though, as he gets older. He is still on the medication though as the extreme headaches seem to be replacing them, just as our GP predicted.

I find the headaches easier to manage though, as they sometimes respond to painkillers. Theres absolutely nothing I could do to help the vomiting. Just awful.

flamingtoaster Thu 20-Jan-11 07:09:14

When small DD would go pale and quiet and we would know to give her something to eat. As she got older she would say she "felt wobbly" and knew to ask for something to eat. We are lucky that it hasn't gone into headaches - but she is incredibly careful about never allowing her blood sugar to plummet. She never eats anything really sweet on its own (except when an attack seems imminent||) because of the "sugar crash" after it. Anything sweet is always eaten at the end of a meal.

Hope you can reduce the number of your DS attacks - though as you say at least you feel you can help with the headaches!

lloydjam Fri 21-Jan-11 18:55:13

Sarahlou - thank you for your message - we tried the sanomigran but she was still getting the migraines whilst on them and also as she was getting some side effects (slight weight gain) her consultant agreed to take her off them. We are now on propananlol 40mg twice a day to no effect - we have a check up in 3 months and I think i will see if she can come off them as they are having no effect.

Aunteveil - the symptoms your ds has are eactly what my ds has - the crippling pains, white pale face and she also has dark(sometimes red) circles under the eyes. I really wish it was something else because then there may be a "cure" . Also when you say migraines to people you can almost hear them thinking "oh yes, just a bit of a tummy or headache " and they dont understand how serious it is. The literature says they peak at 12 so thats good news , the bad news is they are ikely to change into "head" migraines, which are more likely again due to the genetic link (I get them ) I think this is what is happening to your ds SarahLou unfortunately. I think what took me ages to get used to was the fact they can last anything from 3-5 days which is such a lot of time off school. It would be great to hear from anyone else who feels as helpless as I do ! We have just had a letter from the attendance officer at school just to add to my stress !!!

lloydjam Fri 21-Jan-11 18:55:50

sorry I mean my dd !!

sunshineandshowers Fri 21-Jan-11 20:00:55

Sorry I meant pizotifen, not imipramine. Sorry. It really worked very well for me.

Sarahlou8 Fri 21-Jan-11 21:01:11

Lloydjam - yes, my doctor said his condition predisposes him to head migraines and that's definitely what we are seeing now. Two weeks ago he started with a severe headache on the Saturday morning, it lasted all day Saturday & Sunday, he thought he felt well enough to go to school Monday but it returned by 2pm, was off Tuesday and Wednesday. So 4 days in all. It is so much more than just a headache.

Sanomigran is not without side effects. DS put on a lot of weight (they are an appetite stimulant) and he can also be very aggressive when on them. I asked about other treatments a while ago but they told me most treatments aren't recommended until he is 12 - including propanolol.

We're sticking with it for the time being because we have so few options open. There was a third drug apart from pizotifen/propanalol mentioned, but I can't remember what it was. One was a beta blocker, one was an antidepressant - which apparently has a different effect on a child.

Sarahlou8 Fri 21-Jan-11 21:05:51

It was amitriptyline - I've just been on a migraine website to refresh my memory.

abmigraine Thu 17-Feb-11 20:09:30

My 7 year old son has had ab migraines since he was about 3. It was only this year that I looked into the stmptoms on-line and discovered that was what he had. Until this year he would have about 6 episodes a year. But from Oct-Dec he had 6 epsisodes. Took him to ped he agreed with ab migraine and gav Zofran to help when an attack came on. Kept him from puking but he was still in severe pain. Went to neurologist he prescribe imipramine. He's had 2 attacks since starting med one month ago. the 1st attack was less severe than usual but the second was just like the rest. I fell totally helpless. the neurologist has referred us to a GI. The neurologist alos receommended we put him on Depakote as well as the imitrpine. Any suggestions?

sandy06 Sun 20-Nov-11 16:03:30

Just reading this now as until recently I thought my son had IBS (like his father) until I spoke to a friend yesterday who has a daughter with very similar symptoms to my son. Be interested to know if anyone else has had this confusion between IBS and abdominal migraines, and how can we know for sure (if we can) what the cause is as we are blindly searching for a solution?

VenusWineTrap Sun 20-Nov-11 22:11:45


In our case abdominal migraine never ever caused diarrhoea or any of the symptoms associated with IBS, just severe stomach pain and nausea/vomiting.

sandy06 Sun 27-Nov-11 19:40:27

Thank you... (and sorry for the late response). Did it have a specific time or circumstance when it came on? My son's seems to come on mostly when he's going to bed, that's when he complains of it. Occasionally in the day, but that's infrequent. Wondering if it's a play for attention at this time?? (subconsciously, in that he's not purposefully putting it on, if that makes sense.)

supermama212 Tue 29-Nov-11 17:58:03

I suffer from these. My GP diagnosed me with "headache" when i was 10. My mum, took me to private hospital and they said these, put me on 40 mg pitzotifen but i still suffer and DR is referring me to a neurologist as they have worsened over the past six months so that i have to take day/s of work till they go away <scared emoction>

Amanowl Tue 07-Feb-12 09:45:17

Wish I'd found this ages ago, I may have fended off my poor son's frustration, with me and the pains. I can totally relate to the feelings of helplessness.
Eldest son (16) has a pretty crippling migraine headache history and may just have had abdominal ones earlier just not very severe & therefore not recognised as such. His younger brother (11) has what I am now discovering are some classic abdominal migraine symptoms. After ES's history I have been a bit harsh on YS; "it's only a stomachache not like your brother" - Ouch.
Their Dad may have had abdominal migraines but since he died of an untreated ulcer it may not have been, just that he often complained of stomach pains over the years.
My side of the family has a mild migraine history but it seems my sons are suffering on a whole different level.
I am really thinking, thanks to this thread, that I have to gear up on keeping sugar levels brewing properly. He tends to melt down if he hasn't eaten, and woe betide you add tired to the mix, so this makes a lot of sense.
My sense of helplessness stems from the amount of time this takes both out of school. For a 16 year old this is really really awful and adds to the stresses, which so doesn't help. Because these symptoms are not percieved by some as 'real' (my eldest functions really well with the pain but not the inability to read - the first symptom to appear and the last to go)I have to try not to feel guilty for being too soft on them and somehow allowing it - my side of the family has a high pain threshold and seem to think this is self perpetuating and can be 'got over'.

Amanowl Tue 07-Feb-12 09:59:06

Yes, sandy06. It makes lots of sense.
Sometimes it felt like the symptoms were all too suspiciously 'putting it on' doubley because Mondays were peak timing. Yet the stomach pain was obviously real and doctors never doubted it, so now I am more likely to let him stay home when he feels "unwell". Still found myself arguing the 'it will be fine at school' case this morning and "losing" ...
Was the only reason I was healthy because my parents refused to accept anything but almost death? (well, chickenpox)

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