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Abdominal migraine in children is underdiagnosed

Posted May 10 2011 6:28pm

A study of abdominal migraine by a group of doctors from a children’s hospital in Norfolk, VA was just published in the journal Headache. The physicians examined the records of 600 children with recurrent abdominal pain. They found that 4% of these children had definite and 11% had probable abdominal migraine. Shockingly, they also discovered that none of these children received correct diagnosis. Making a correct diagnosis is the first step to the correct treatment of this condition. Abdominal migraine is defined as a recurring condition which consists of abdominal pain, typically lasting one to 72 hours. The pain is usually in the middle of the abdomen or the child cannot localize it precisely. The pain is dull and aching and is of moderate or severe intensity. During the bout of pain the child usually has two other of the following features: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or paleness. It is also very important for the doctors to make sure that there is no other possible cause for these attacks. Treatment usually involves avoiding foods which may trigger these attacks, including chocolate, caffeine, hot dogs, cheese and other known migraine-inducing foods. Irregular sleep schedule, skipping meals and stress are also frequent triggers. Regular sleep schedule, frequent exercise, biofeedback or relaxation training can all help. Magnesium and CoQ10 supplements have also been shown to help prevent migraines in kids. Migraine medications, such as sumatriptan (Imitrex) can be tried for severe attacks. When abdominal migraine occurs frequently preventive drugs, such as amitriptyline (Elavil), gabapentine (Neurontin), or cyproheptadine (Periactin). Considering its safety and efficacy in regular migraine, acupuncture may also be worth a try.

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