Abdominal Migraine: Can you experience headaches in other parts of the body?

Not all migraine attacks involve headaches. In fact, abdominal migraine is characterised by the persistent stomach aches its sufferers face.
woman holding her stomach

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When you hear the word ‘migraine’, your first thought is probably something to do with headaches. This is not surprising. After all, headaches are the most common symptom of a migraine attack. But not all migraine attacks involve pain experienced in the head or face area. Abdominal migraine, for example, is a variant of the condition differentiated by its production of symptoms in other parts of the body.

What is abdominal migraine?

Abdominal migraine is characterised by stomach pains. Bellyaches, rather than headaches, are the tell-tale sign of an attack. These stomach aches tend to last between 1 and 72 hours, and may be accompanied by other symptoms including:

  • Pale skin
  • Feeling/being sick
  • Drowsy or tired
  • Loss of appetite

What are the triggers?

Abdominal migraine has its name for a reason: it shares many of the same triggers as what you may consider a ‘conventional’ migraine. These triggers include: certain foods and drinks; stress; exposure to bright lights.

You are also more likely to experience abdominal migraine if you are of a certain age. It is especially common in children. According to Yale Medicine, children with abdominal migraine can expect to experience their first episode between the ages of 3 and 10 years old. And those with abdominal migraine, more often than not, have family members who also suffer from headaches and attacks. These children will often grow into adults with migraine, suggesting a hereditary facet to the condition.

Can it be treated or even prevented?

Abdominal migraine, as with most types of migraine, is typically hard to treat. There is no one medication or process which completely combats the condition for all. There are, however, certain drugs that may help to alleviate the symptoms. These include over-the-counter painkillers like Ibuprofen, or prescribed triptans.

Another way of combatting the aches and pains associated with the condition is through prevention. One of the very best ways to prevent an attack is by keeping a diary. As with migraine, this diary offers a place to note when the attack is experienced, any foods or drinks consumed at the time, what is being done at the time, and anything else going on around you. Through simple techniques like this, the pain associated with all types of migraine can be alleviated, and living an uninterrupted life becomes that little bit easier.

Want to learn more about migraine types? Check out this video:


Migraines and gastrointestinal problems: Is there a link?

Abdominal Migraine: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Abdominal Migraine

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