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Abdominal migraines in 16yo DD. Help please.

(17 Posts)
EightToSixer Thu 11-Apr-19 16:43:36

Hi all
My DD is 16 and currently doing AS levels planning on applying to medicine, so very hard working and busy etc.
She has had severe stomach pains intermittently which were diagnosed somewhat dismissively after she was taken into hospital a year ago as it was so severe they thought she had appendicitis.
She gets these migraines once every few months with no food or activity trigger we can find and they are massively debilitating with agonising stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fainting and very low blood pressure.
GP is trying to help and wants to prescribe beta blockers but as she is 16 he is unable to.
Please tell me your stories of this horrible illness and tell me how I can help her. She's so driven and dedicated to her studies I hate to watch her struggle when she gets them.

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EightToSixer Thu 11-Apr-19 19:40:57


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Superduper13 Thu 11-Apr-19 19:44:00

They sound horrendous, sorry to hear your dd is suffering. I don’t know much about them but did know someone who had them and anxiety/ stress were definitely a trigger for her. Could this be the case for your dd if she is working so hard?
Hope someone else who knows abit more about it comes along soon x

EightToSixer Sat 13-Apr-19 08:58:54

Thanks, yes we do think there is an anxiety trigger, the difficulty is knowing how to manage them once they have started as they wipe her out for a couple of days.
I didn't even realise they were a thing until last year and we struggle to find out information. If they affected her head then she could try medication but they remain in her stomach even though the symptoms are exactly the same as head migraines.

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SuperMoonIsKeepingMeUpToo Sat 13-Apr-19 10:29:14

My son was diagnosed with these at around 8, I think. It was heartbreaking to see him so poorly and we suspected that many things could trigger an episode eg carsickness, a cold etc. The only thing that helped was rest. The good news is that he grew out of them after a year or so. Is your daughter studying further maths? If you're in the UK that's the only subject that the AS still exists in so at least she's not doing public exams this year and there is a good chance these horrible attacks will be a memory this time next year.

You have my sympathy.

NotMyUsualTopBilling Sat 13-Apr-19 10:39:16

My sister has been suffering from these for 3 years (since age 11) and the doctor had insinuated they are stress related and advised that she cuts down (but doesn't stop) on dairy and carbs which seems to have helped.

She also takes medication, Propranolol I think, when she notices symptoms starting and it does seem to keep them at bay.

They're awful to watch sad

GenerationEx Sat 13-Apr-19 10:46:25

I had these as a teenager and they were truly awful. I became a vegetarian for a few years and ate very little dairy or animal fats and they stopped with the change of diet. I went back to meat and everything else at university and they never came back, so I did grow out of them.

EightToSixer Sat 13-Apr-19 10:58:56

Thanks for the replies. Good to know you got propronol @notmyusualtopbilling as they seem reticent to prescribe that to a 16 yr old.
@supermooniskeeingmeuptoo we are in Wales so she has AS levels in the three sciences and maths this year, making 40%, of her final A-level grade, so they're pretty important for applying for medicine unfortunately.

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AndSheWas85 Sat 13-Apr-19 11:02:44

@EightToSixer I suffer from migraines and deal with it using zomig tablets that dissolve under your tongue thereby bypassing your stomach so vomiting up the medication doesn't become an issue.

Also have dioralyte to hand when your DD vomits as it replaces the electrolyte imbalance that happens when you throw up. HTH.

AnnaMagnani Sat 13-Apr-19 11:08:43

Has she tried the list of things posters generally recommend for migraine?

You can get v hung up on finding a food trigger but many people don't have one and it just creates an obsession keeping a diary.

Migraine likes:
Regular hours - bed same time, getting up same time, good amounts of sleep
Not getting hungry - making sure you have a healthy diet, don't skip breakfast, don't go from sugary snack to sugary snack. Lots of us have found quitting sugar/going low carb really helps as you have levelled out your insulin and you aren't getting the peaks and troughs
Being really hydrated - especially if your daughter is prone to low blood pressure this is really important. Water bottle at all time, drink masses
Not having a low blood pressure - salt is good! If your daughter tends to have a low blood pressure generally then upping salt content of her diet will help a lot and stave off dizzy spells which link to migraine
Screens - use the blue light filter on everything, install apps like f.lux if they don't already have a filter.

Stress is often a trigger but avoiding stress is the world's least helpful advice - plus lots of migraineurs then get them when they relax after stress as well. Everyone gets stress in their life, just people born with migraine, tend to do migraines with it sad

Personally I would say that if she only has migraine every few months, a preventative is too much and a beta-blocker is not a great choice if she has low blood pressure anyway.

This really helpful article (warning - it is all in medic speak) summarizes the current state of the evidence for treatment.

It suggests she should be having intranasal sumatriptan to treat acute attacks and the best evidence for a preventer is pizotifen.

However the good news is that the majority of people grow out of it smile

EightToSixer Sat 13-Apr-19 11:15:02

Thank you all.
@annamagnani. That is really helpful thank you. I'll go through it all with DD this weekend. I really appreciate the response.

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AnnaMagnani Sat 13-Apr-19 11:18:57

Thanks. I think one of the most unhelpful things people can say is 'it's due to stress' like it's your fault for not coping better.

Er, no, I just have a disease that makes me work this way. I cope same way as you. In fact possibly better because I do it with migraine as well.

I hope you find the article helpful.

OutwiththeOutCrowd Sat 13-Apr-19 13:29:20

I don't have any definitive answers but wanted to write in solidarity as I have a 16 year old DS who suffers with recurrent severe abdominal pain. This year - AS year - has been particularly bad. His attendance at school is hovering at around 80% and his grades have plummeted.

We don't have a diagnosis. Possibly IBS, we have been told.

He is usually off school for a week with it. Hot water bottles seem to make the pain a little more bearable but other than that we have to wait it out. It seems to happen - usually but not always - after a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.

During the last bout, we tried various techniques to stimulate his vagus nerve - gargling, chanting, massages etc. Coincidence or not, his symptoms were somewhat milder and resolved a couple of days earlier than is usually the case for him. As I say, it might just be a coincidence, and your DD's condition is not necessarily related to my DS's, but your DD, as a budding young medic, might be interested in looking into the connection between the autonomic nervous system/vagus nerve and gut function.

Good luck to you and your DD. I know how difficult it can be. flowers

AnnaMagnani Sat 13-Apr-19 13:52:24

As a medic, I have found the connection between my vagus nerve and my migraine really interesting too smile

I am a prolific fainter at the best of times - vagus nerve, hunger as a trigger - vagus nerve, cutting out sugar - vagus nerve and links to insulin control and appetite.

Doesn't explain all of it, but attacking all of the issues really helped. Generally when I see doctors they just think I should be happy I have a low blood pressure but actually it's the bane of my life!

tillythedog Sat 13-Apr-19 14:05:54

I was diagnosed with stomach migraines as a child and was in and out of hospital until i was around 10. I occasionally get them alongside a normal migraine, especially when I'm stressed, don't eat or drink or sleep properly! I would just make sure she's keeping on top of these things that can trigger them and just make sure she takes time to chill out and not be under too much stress, I also find that 'cooling strips' (can be bought in savers) are really good for migraines, i swear by them! I'd also recommend an eye test just to be on the safe side, as i discovered mine were also caused by something wrong with my eye!

SuperMoonIsKeepingMeUpToo Sun 14-Apr-19 11:44:41

@eighttosixer Apologies, I've shown my ignorance there - I didn't realise Wales kept the AS level. Really hope something that has been suggested works pronto.

EightToSixer Wed 17-Apr-19 10:09:23

Thank you everyone. I spoke to my DS's lonely trainee GP who agreed to prescribe proropanalol (sp?) Thanks for mentioning that @notmyusualtopbilling To take when she feels one coming along, we will see how they work. Paeds have refused the GP's referral saying she should be referred to mental health team instead.

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