Abdominal migraine

Abdominal Migraine is quite a common condition that affects 4 in 100 children and also some adults

What is abdominal migraine?

Abdominal Migraine is quite a common condition that affects 4 in 100 children and also some adults.

Children usually stop getting abdominal migraine by the time they grow up, but often develop migraine headache later in life. Very little is known about abdominal migraine in adults.


  • regular attacks of moderate to severe stomach pain that last from 2-72 hours
  • feeling sick and vomiting during attacks
  • no headache during attacks
  • feeling normal between attacks

What causes abdominal migraine?

Abdominal migraine is an idiopathic disorder, meaning it is not understood why people get it.

There are possible associations with other conditions such as cyclical vomiting, and migraine limb pain, as well as benign paroxysmal vertigo, benign paroxysmal torticollis, infantile colic, Raynaud’s disease and hypermobility syndrome. Population studies show that 7 out of 10 people with abdominal migraine have a current or previous migraine headache with or without aura.


Treatment options for abdominal migraine

When diagnosing abdominal migraine, it is important that the doctor takes the medical history and physically examines the patient to rule out or to diagnose other diseases.

Treatment is often similar to that for other types of migraine, but options are more limited for children. It usually includes acute treatments, such as simple painkillers and preventive treatments to reduce how often the attacks occur, and how severe they are.

As with other types of migraine, it can be helpful to review triggers that may contribute to the attack. These can include bright light, poor sleep, travel or hunger. Stress and dealing with difficult emotions can also be a trigger. Avoiding or limiting these triggers may help with reducing the number of attacks.