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Migraine in children

(16 Posts)
26minutes Wed 07-Sep-11 19:03:20

I think my son (age 5) is getting migraines. Does anyone have any experience of this?

I've just left the hospital with him after a severe attack. He went to school this morning absolutely fine. Ihad a phonecall this afternoon saying ds2 was ill and I needed to get him. Get there and he is so white, sunken eyes & big, dark red around, especially underneath. He's all wobbly, walking is a struggle for him, even standing. They said he'd been complaining of a headache and had been pushing down on his head to try to stop it. He was also complaining of the light being bright, rubbing his eyes, pushing on his eyes to try to make it stop. He's all clumsy and stumbling a lot on the walk home which is about 200 yards, I had puschair so couldn't carry him.

As dr had no appointments until late this afternoon and I was so worried about him I took him to walk in unit. He needed carrying to taxi & then from taxi to chair in MIU. His temp was over 39, really shaky, just curled up in a ball moaning and groaning, paed nurse was concerned and agreed to run tests then he started vomiting and boy was there lots. At this point they called 999 to get him taken up to the main hospital with suspected meningitis.

Now we were up there for a few hours and are now home. They've put it down to a 'viral infection'. The student dr questioned migraine to me but as she is the 1st person to mention this I told her that and I think she just pushed that thought out of her mind.

He's now curled up asleep on the settee, still looking really ill, but at least he's not hurting while he's asleep.

This happens probably about every 6 weeks, same symptoms as above but usually I take him to the GP and while they admit he looks very ill they always send us packing with a viral infection. I've asked the dr about the headaches ad photophobia but they've always just shrugged their shoulders about it. I was actually going to make an appointment at the optician for him tomorrow when I was in town (not that I'll be going now as he won't be at school) to check his eyes, but now I'm wondering if it's migraines so will be taking him to the gp instead and asking for a referral to the hospital.

Does anybody have any experience or advice?

fourkids Wed 07-Sep-11 21:14:10

I might explore the migraine question further because it does sound familiar to me. You need to check this, but I think that a fever as a result of a migraine is not terribly common, but is a recognised symptom in a few patients. equally, I belive that it has reasonably recently been recognised that a fever can trigger a migraine in some patients...chicken or egg maybe for your DS?

For me and DCs, once vomiting occurs we start to feel quickly better, although feel drained, wobbly and unwell for up to another day or two. I wonder if that is what happened to your DS today?

26minutes Wed 07-Sep-11 21:26:25

Yes that is it exactly. He instantly picked up as soon as he vomited, although he did still look incredibly ill. Once he woke from his little sleep he seemed quite a bit better again, but still not great. When he's been ill before like this it has been similar to how you describe and I am thinking that this is going to go the same way.

I'm convinced that this is what is wrong with him, it would explain so much. He loves cheese, think I may have to curb that a little. I think it will be hard work though trying to cinvince the gp of it though.

fourkids Wed 07-Sep-11 22:28:18

Your GP may simply have not thought about migraines. He/she will know that they frequently present differently in children (often just a tummy ache) and may well respond admirably if you suggest it.

I think they may have some difficulty in getting a definite diagnosis though, and might refer to a specialist...

26minutes Thu 08-Sep-11 08:49:52

I'm more than happy to see a specialist, DH was referred to neurology to get a diagnosis for his migraines (stepdad) so I was kind of expecting that tbh. Unfortunately my gps seem to not like giving out any kind of diagnosis, referral or medication. They seem to be programmed to say it's a viral infection before they've even seen the patient.

He had a really good sleep last night and has woken up much much better, still not 100% of course but the sleep has done him a world of good.

NK346f2849X127d8bca260 Thu 08-Sep-11 09:31:36

I would ask for him to be refered to the hospital. My ds started with migraines at a similar age, he gets aura, sickness and loss of sensation down one side so cannot walk. He now sees a paed with an interest in childhood migraine. He has had a MRI scan and lots of other tests and now is on Topirimate for preventation and has been given Migraleve and Imigran for pain control ( he is 10). We also saw the optician and as ds has large pupils she said he could be photophobic and prescribed tinted glasses.
I would push for a referral asap, it is a horrible condition and i don't want to worry you, but more serious conditions need to be ruled out.

nightcat Thu 08-Sep-11 12:47:17

Some foods can trigger migrains, what was the stuff that he vomitted, just breakfast or last night's dinner? If he wasn't able digest that, then that would be a reaction.

26minutes Thu 08-Sep-11 14:49:26

I saw the gp today and he was really good. He took me seriously, something I've found lacking mostly at this surgery. He hasn't referred him, only just seen your post NK... otherwise I would have pushed for a referral to rule anything else out. He has said that he'd rather not medicate for now and now that I know what it is I can keep an eye out for it better so hopefully will be able to catch them at the very start. What age can they have migraleve NK...? We've found it to be quite a wonder drug for DH.

I haven't been able to get an opticians appointment unfortunately as all the ones they have are school pick up times but will be getting him down there asap.

nightcat, He'd managed a tiny bit of his lunch, part of his sandwich, a couple of bites of apple and half a cereal bar. This is what came up (I could smell the cheese [bleurgh!]) but strangely he'd removed most of the cheese so perhaps for whatever reason he was put off of the cheese as I've read that cheese can be a major trigger. I thik I'm going to have to keep cheese to an absolue minimum and I'm going to start keeping a diary noting what he had eaten & what he had been doing over the few days before one starts in the future.

I'm also in the process of writing a letter to my ex detailing things he needs to avoid. I don't think its going to go down well at all, but then he is a totally unreasonable person and I can see us needing a solicitor over this, just what I need!

I'm also going to meet with his teacher this afternoon after I've picked up ds1 to have a chat and let her know what they need to do if he comes down with one.

I'm surprised how suddenly he comes down with them, I always thought migraines built up to a peak gradually but it was a matter of hours that it took to get to the peak yesterday.

fourkids Thu 08-Sep-11 14:55:49

Well done smile

PoppyDoolally Mon 12-Sep-11 17:25:31

Just wanted to say I feel for you and little one. I have suffered from migraine since childhood and they can be so debilitating. When you are small you just can't articulate how it feels. Mine has always been left sided attack. I used to say toothache as I couldn't explain. Did feel better after puke and sleep.

Hoping it gets resolved and LO doesn't have too many.

dikkertjedap Mon 12-Sep-11 19:17:02

I would ask for a referral to a specialist just to be on the safe side ...

TheGrandOldDuke Tue 13-Sep-11 21:44:04

If you think it is migraine then perhaps a food/smells diary might help? Cheese is the well known one but people can have their own "special"! triggers. Eg mine are phosphorescent lighting, like in a sports hall, and raw ginger. Finding out if your son has something that sets him off will help

TheGrandOldDuke Tue 13-Sep-11 21:47:30

Just also read what you say about the migraines building up gradually - certainly not how mine are. I know I have 30 minutes to get home or call someone I know to let them know what's happening so that they can come rescue me. I usually end up in A and E, but mine are extreme. And often people grow out of it. And also there are good preventative medicines now too.

weegiemum Tue 13-Sep-11 21:58:12

This (OP) sounds like my ds, who is 9 and this started about age 5. He always wakes up with it though and they come in clusters over a few weeks.

The rubbing eyes and "pushing" on the head was the main diagnostic criteria (GP referred us to paed neuros, nothing on brain scan, so migraine pretty much only other diagnosis - but me and my Dad both get them too so familial!) and they do seem to be stress related a bit.

Pattern is - wakes up pure white, complaining of headache/photophobia (can have trouble with coordination climbing down from his loft bed). Eats nothing, drinks little. Takes kiddie nurofen. Sleeps 2-3 more hours, pukes bile etc, is under the weather for another couple of hours then picks up. Luckily it always starts in the morning!!

Paed neuros were fab (Yorkhill in Glasgow) but they did ask for an eye check (came back clear). So migraine it is, poor boy. He has about 6 a year, in a couple of clusters.

PinkEmily Thu 15-Sep-11 22:07:07

My DS was diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome when he was 7, and now at 11, has classic migraines, which our doctor predicted would follow.
Up till recently he was taking a daily dose of Pizotifen as a preventative which, although it didn't stop them, would reduce their severity. Now they have changed, the only thing he can take is 400mg ibuprofen which, if he takes them quickly enough and sleeps, can help him through the worst of it. They tend to come on very suddenly, although he's now old enough to recognise the warning signs.

We've been told he can't take anything stronger until he's 12.

They affect his life a lot, as he suffers one roughly once a fortnight, he can't cope with late nights, tiredness, missing meals, not drinking enough, hot weather, and an impending illness (cold etc) always triggers one. As far as we know they are not triggered by food.

I was lucky our doctor was good from the start, he took us seriously and we were referred to paeds where he had all sorts of tests, kept food diaries and dates/times of onset, and what ds was doing immediately before.

I thought I'd mention the CVS though as if your DS is suffering every six weeks or so regularly, he may be 'cycling' especially if he's vomiting each time too. I feel for you, it's a really horrible illness.

katkin73 Fri 16-Sep-11 09:44:48

Hi both my girls have migraine, they are now 6yrs and 10 yrs, identifying the trigger helped a lot, with my 2 it is dehydration and low blood sugar. It took ages for me to get the school to take me seriously when I said they needed to be reminded to drink regularly, people think you are over reacting until they see them in the throws of a migraine attack. I also find that getting in there quick with the calpol/nurofen,(as soon as they say they have a headache starting) helps too, it cuts the attack down to a few hours rather than a few days if they start vomiting. Have a look at these sites ,

www.migraineadventure.org.uk www.migraine4kids.org.uk

they can give you some more info,
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