Abdominal migraine occurs in 1-4% of children, according to one research study. This condition is recognized within the medical community as a “well-defined cause” of debilitating abdominal pain. AM is a variant of migraine and is quite common in children with a family history of the condition. Female children are more likely to suffer from the disease than males. This condition is also seen in adults although this is very rare. In both children and adults there are triggers that could elicit an onset of symptoms.Migraine precursor
Medical specialists have identified abdominal migraine as a precursor for a definitive diagnosis of migraine in adulthood. It has been evident in studies conducted that children who sought medical intervention for AM during their early years developed migraine when they got older. Abdominal migraine is seen in teens, children, toddlers, and even infants.
The pain felt in AM can last for as long as 72 hours. Sufferers experience the pain and associated symptoms for at least an hour. Aside from the abovementioned signs and symptoms that occur with the acute attack of abdominal pain, the sufferer presents with a pale visage and refuses to eat.
When the abdominal pain starts it is usually sudden and catches the person totally unawares. The high intensity of the pain coupled by the lack of any warning signs could increase a person’s anxiety level which in turn worsens the symptoms felt.Making the diagnosis
What makes the diagnosis of AM often difficult for the physician is that children cannot always distinguish the pain due to abdominal migraine from all the other gastro-intestinal disturbances (e.g. stomach flu).One item on the primary diagnostic criteria for abdominal migraine is a family history of AM or migraine headaches. Making a diagnosis can be a complicated matter for the physician. As such, a thorough family medical history is taken. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, the physician must also determine the presence of other factors that are associated with a high risk for developing this condition such as anxiety and stress.