40 answers

6 Year Old Who Gets Migraines and Throws Up

I am hoping to find someone out there who has a similar situation. My nephew who is 6 years old gets migraines and throws up. This has been going on since he was 2, possibly before. This happens very frequently. They can happen if he gets real excited, or doesn’t nap, or when he plays for a certain amount of time. (When I say frequent, I mean they were daily, to every other day. Now they are maybe once a week or more if he gets over stimulated or tired.)
My sister and I are stumped and that is why I am reaching out to you guys for some direction.
She has, just this year, taken him in to his pediatrician, who has prescribed him allergy medicine. The doctor said that the majority of the time it ends up being allergies. My sister did not give her son the medication because she knew it wasn’t allergies because it happens all year long. Also it can’t be anything in their house because she has moved three times. He has had a CAT scan, which came back fine. The technician who did the scan suggested that if it where her kid she would have him get a MRI. The doctor did refer him to a headache specialist, but when she called to make an appointment they told her that he was too young and he had to go to Children’s Hospital. She went to Children’s and they did a generic type physical, such as- touch your fingers and stand on one foot. Everything turned out 100% fine. Now she is to make an appointment to get a MRI. Also they referred her to a biofeedback clinic. She asked for info on it, and didn’t get anything. I think that is basically to help him deal with his headaches.
Here are some extra things suggested by others-
Maybe something related to bipolar (it runs in my father’s side of the family)?
Maybe blood pressure related?
Maybe asthma related (his father had asthma at a young age.)

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I dealt with this as a child as well. Throwing up seemed to be the only thing that would ease the pain. I went through cat scans, seeing doctors weekly, going to the hospital, trying new prescriptions and nothing really seemed to work. I couldn't even have sleep overs at friends houses because I would always wake up in the middle of the night in so much pain, my mom would have to come and pick me up. You really have to watch what he eats, there are several foods that can trigger migraines. The good news is and I've heard this more than once, he will probably grow out of it at least we can all hope. I did. It is very tough and painful, hope you find something that will work for him. Good luck.

I know you have a lot of responses already...but I just wanted to mention that keeping a food diary (which someone else already mentioned) is a great idea. Tyramine, which is in a lot of food that children eat (cheese, bananas, hot dogs, etc.), can aggrevate migraines in children and adults.

Hi M.,
I used to get migraines often. I started going to a chiropractor about 5 years ago. I never get them anymore. I don't know if it would help for him but it was a life saver for me. Good luck.

More Answers


I don't know if I'll be much help, but I can tell you our stories are almost identical and we're still trying to find answers.

My daughter (who is now 11) has been battling this since she was two. We had CAT scan at age 4, MRI at age 8, allergy testing (which showed nothing, but we still tried the suggested low tyromine diet), cardiac testing for PFO (which is suspected of causing migraines), We did 4 months of biofeedback last year which we thought was helping, but shortly after we had finished, the migraines started again. We resisted using medications for a long time, because we didn't want her to become dependent and we thought at such a young age, the long term side effects might be greater. However, she needed help. She was having migraines 2-3 time a week sometimes and vomiting for at least 12 hours. We have been working with a pediatric neurologist who has been trying very hard to find the right combo of meds. She suggested CoEnzyme Q-10 (over the counter) and melatonin (also over the counter and helps her get to sleep at night)along with a variety of medication specifically for the headache (topamax, compazine, periactin). None of the latter medicines have been the "miracle" we were hoping for. She takes Zomig when a headache comes on and Zofran for the vomiting. Zomig has worked sometime to ward off a full blown headache, but we still feel that we're not a lot further than when we first started.

We also found her triggers to be stress, lack of sleep, hunger and heat, so we try very hard to keep those things under control, but haven't found anything else that we can solidly say triggers them.

We are working with Dr. DeRoos, a pediatric neurologist through Devos here in Grand Rapids. He has been very willing to test for various things and work with us on the medicines. So although, we haven't found an answer yet, we still respect all that he's trying to do for us.

If you want to talk more, send me a private response.

Good luck. I know it's horrible to watch a child in so much pain.


2 moms found this helpful

As a child, I would get migraines if I was over stimulated. I went to a Chiropractor and that helped alot. As an adult, I quit going and started to get them again....I at the time didn't think that the chiro could help. I battled the migraines for 20 something years....decided to go to the chiro again.....no more migraines. I do need to go in once a month for maintainence adjustments. But it is worth it! I was on a 8 month treatment plan before my spine was back into wack.

I hope your little guy gets better soon, you have a lot of great suggestions on here. :)


My son started to get migraines at the age of 2 also, he is now almost 11. His are cause by several things, allergies and stress being the main two factors. With out his meds is almost a daily thing. Now with school back in its a every Monday thing. They can be cause by lots of things and sometimes if very hard to find a dr. who is willing to work and help you. I'm on my son's 10th doctor since they started. We kept getting told that they didn't know why he had them and he would have to deal with them. I'm sorry but that just isn't the correct answer. If you go online there are several sites that help you find different things that trigger some migraines and help you figure out if they are migraines or Cluster headaches. Also family history is a huge factor in this. Unfortantly my son was screwed from the get go because migraines run on both sides of the family.

I would ask to be refered to a allergist and have a test done because usually most of the time it is allergy related. Allergies are a all year thing. My son is literally allergic to ever air borne allergen there is and when I say allergic he tested high on each one the first round. Good luck to you and your nephew

I have the same problem with my 8yr old daughter.She started complaining about her head hurting about 2yrs.It would always be in the middle of the night,she would wake me up and said her head hurt and she would go lay on the sofa and take a trashcan with her,because whenever she would get a headache she always had to throw up and believe it or not once she would throw up she felt better and the headache would be gone.So I believw it is something that she is eating i have been watching what she eats and she hasn't had a headache in months so far.

Have you tried anything alternative to traditional American medicine. Many times migraines come from a congested liver-gallbladder. In our society w/ pollution of the air, food and water little kids bodies are under attack. If you can find someone in massage therapy, computer analysis or lyphatic treatment I can first hand attest that it will help!!!

I used to get really bad migraines and throw up as well. The way I could tell if I was getting them my vision would get really blurry. No medicine would help either. The Doctor recommended me to go to a chiropracter as soon as my vision would get blurry and then go home and rest.That was the only thing that helped I guess I had a lot of stress in my neck and back which caused it as well. Maybe if you can take him to a chiropracter if it is feesable? But that might be a cause.

When I was 12 I was getting migranes and throwing up- not quite with this frequency. Dr Hellbusch is a neurosurgeon over by methodist- he's my Dr. I had what they called Aquaductualstenosis- big word meaning water on the brain. i would think that would have shown up in your nephews CT scan. And, have you had his eyes tested?? That is another thought.

I saw that another had posted this suggestion, but have you had his eyes examined? (a more throughal exam than they give at school) You might try that. Also, like the other posters, it can't hurt to try the allergy medicine, or try to rule out food alergies.
It's important to ask lots of questions of the doctors and press press press for answers. You should know why and how always. Good luck.
Oh, when I get migranes it helps to have a wet washcloth on my forehead and be in a dark quiet room. I know it's hard to have a 6 yo tell you when one is coming on but you might try that before he gets to the point of throwing up.

have you considered a wheat allergy? Or perhaps too much sugar in the diet. Sugar is in everything. Bread turns to sugar before it's digested, pasta, peanut butter. My nephew had the same problem. He went to doctors as well and they came up with nothing. I urged my brother to try a new diet for at least two weeks and if it didn't help, then he could tell me i was crazy. It worked. My nephew no longer gets headaches or throws up. That's my experience with it. Hope it helps.

Just a thought-- my sister-in-law and nieces have a similar problem, but with more symptoms. They have Celiacs Disease. Which means they have an intolerance to gluten (this is NOT an allergy, so would not show up on allergy tests) They are on a gluten free diet, and this worked wonders!

A pediatric ER doc I used to work with once told me that 75-80% of all headaches in children are actually migraines. I agree with having a chiropractor evaluated him as well as having his eyes checked and possibly have him tested for allergies. Is the physician currently treating/evaluating his headaches a pediatric neurologist? If not, I would highly recommend seeing one, as they are up to date on treating headaches in children. There are some meds to can be used to treat and prevent headaches in children, but they are usually used as a last resort. Finally, be careful of using Motrin or Tylenol too frequently (like more than twice a week), as they can cause rebound headaches that are as disabilitating as the original migraine. Good luck!

I started having severe migraine headaches at the age of 14. I would have one every single day. One of my biggest triggers was and still can be sunlight. I have to wear sunglasses year round during the daylight hours. To much sun, even for a few minutes, would trigger a migraine for me. As long as I am wearing my sunglasses I am usually fine. BUT the almost "cure" I found for my migraines had nothing to do with medications. I had my wisdom teeth pulled in April. I went from having at least 1 migraine a week to now MAYBE having 1 a month. I have only had a few since then and they were really not that bad. Make sur your nephew gets a good pair of sunglasses and that he is up to date on all his dental care. It might help ... it might not. But neither of those things can hurt right?!

I have migraines year round. I hate to tell you usually it is indeed my allergies. I'm quite literally allergic to dust. No joke. I'm allergic to dust, perfumes, most scents, cleaners, scents in soaps, lots of flowers, etc. So as you can see things that would be in the house no matter where you lived, or how much you moved. If I walk down the laundry detergent aisle in the super market I will get one, a horrid one. So naturally I avoid that.

My advice is to give the child the medicine. My son is 5 now and just started getting migraines, he always says his brain hurts. I put him on the medicine his dr. wanted him on and he hasn't said his brain hurts since. If you try the allergy medicine for a month and still no results your doctor can cross that off their list and move onto the next hypothesis. If you don't at least try it I doubt your doctor will. Medicine unfortunately alot of time is trial and error.

My son is 3 years old and also has migraines. The doctor told me to write a diary of all the foods that he eats to see if there is a link with certain foods and his migraines and to especially stay away from caffine like chocolate. He also told me that not enough rest will trigger a migraine. I feel for you and your sister they are terrible to watch a child in pain like that and you don't know why. Good luck and I hope you find out why these are happening to your nephew.

My son had the exact same thing! We ended up finally taking him to a chiropractor and it has made all the difference in the world. It turned out that his neck had been pulled out of alignment at birth (forceps birth) and had grown crooked over the years. I've taken him consistently for two years (he was almost six when we started) and he is like a different child now. We go to a chiropractor in Sandy named Dr Tim ###-###-####) who uses a machine called The Pro Adjuster so no manual cracking and no pain whatsoever. It has been a miracle for us!

First, I think your sister should follow the first Drs advice and give the allergy medicine a try. Allergies, serious allergies can show up at any time. Most migraine medicines out there are not safe for children under the age of sixteen. Most migraine medicines are seratonin inhibitors or extreme pain releivers...not things you want to start a child on. I would have him checked for asthma. However, that is also related to allergies.

I've not known anyone so young who gets migraines, but often migraines are hormone related. Hormones and the whole endocrine system are greatly affected by nutrition. Try going to this website: westonaprice.org You might learn some interesting things about children's nutrition and hormones.

my niece who is 6 also has had this problem since she was about 2. We are trying to force my sister to get the dr to do tests on her. but she is stubborn and would much rather her daughter suffer. my niece throws up if she doenst eat any thing. you know how kids are and sometimes dont eat. like my nephew for instance will only eat once a doy. i mean they offer him all kinds of food through out the day but he wont touch it...except at breakfast time. and he is fine. where on the other hand if my 6 year old niece misses a meal...b/c she wont eat what is for lunch..mostly at school, then she gets really bad migraine and ends up throwing up. My sister tried telling me it had something to do with her having a high metabolism. but i just dont believe that answer b/c my niece is not that skinny. her dr kept telling her kids dont get headaches. well obviously they do b/c she is. her dr is stupid, i have been trying to get her to switch drs too, but my sister is hard headed. So let me know what you find out with your son. I will keep trying to get her to do something about her daughter.

check into cluster headaches. i have a friend that finely as an adult was told theat her headaches are cluster headaches. she had headaches all the time as a child. cluster headaches are also call (i can't' spell the work right-so bare with me)-sue-a-side headaches. i don't want to scare you but since you don't have an answer and want to look into every thing!! good luck!!!

Sounds like you guys are sticking with the medical aspect...which is good. Keep looking for an answer no matter what. That said, I also get migraines (very seldom now) that will not go away until I physically get sick from the pain...then it goes away like magic. There is no rhyme or reason to it. If there is no medical answer out there after all is exhausted, just hope they get better as he gets older.

I have had migraines since i was 9 years old and they could never figure out why . just a few months ago I went on a gulten free diet because I was told my son is allergic to gulten and all my migraines have gone away .. I don't even get 1 a week ..... if i do end up eating something with gulten in it then they come back. maybe she can try that. good luck

Good morning, you mentioned that it couldn't be allergies because it happens all year round. Have you considered maybe a food allergy? My sister has food allergies ~ primarily milk ~ and she had migraines like that. My mother had to keep track of everthing she ate and when she got migraines. I was pretty young when this was going on and don't remember all the details. I remember her going to some doctor that gave her a series of shots in her back to pin point her allergies. She's now 33 and still has to avoid all milk products. (And dust ~ that was another allergy of hers!) Hope this helps. Good luck.

It is possible that allergies are part of the problem. Environmental allergies are common in my family and are year-round. With the "triggers" you mentioned and the throwing up, it does sound like migraines.

Try the allergy medicine! Trust me! My son has allergies and most everything is because of them! He can blow up within hours (to the point he can't see) and it all started from a rash which started because of an allergy! He'll be fine and then I'll see a small pot on his arm one minute and about five minutes later his arm is covered. As soon as he gets his allegra he is fine. My doctor has her daughter on it as well and puts her on it for a few days and then takes her off for a few days and sees how things go. All because of allergies. My husband gets severe sinus headaches and taking allergy medicine helps his headaches.
On another note I had severe headaches at the base of my skull every day for a week. Some days it was to the point that I couldn't even move my head with out wanting to throw up. I went to the doctor and they found out it was my high blood pressure!

It could be due to food allergies, i think that flour and maybe sugar cause this. My husbands sister gets bad headaches from food with flour, she follows a diet and her migranes aren't as offten. Hope this helps a little bit!!!

I wouldn't want to send out unnessesary fear. However I am epileptic. Some of his symtoms sounds the same as mine did when I was little. Doctors say that some children experience seizure activity when they are younger and then they gorw out of it. Unfortunately that was not my case. All though my seisures were a lot worse and caused by brain trauma (this isn't to say I'm metally disabled or anything-completely normal with this one exception). What I'm trying to say is keep on the MRI search and any other possible head scans or nervous disorders you can get your hands on till they either stop or till you figure out what is causing them.

Good luck and hopefully it's nothing to dramatic. Plus if you think a doctor is wrong with a diagnosis-tell them so. Have a voice in your childs treatment. When you and your doctor work together a better cure or decision is made. I think anyways.

Good luck,

I cannot stress enough to you to get that boy to a Wellness Chiropractor. My 8 year old girl had the migraines and after a couple visits (she is in a year long chiro program) they dissapeared...I don't mean tapered off I mean gone. Life is so much happier for her and she can finally rest at night without crying and begging for tylenol. A lot of people poo poo chiropractors but this one saved our daughter's sanity and a thousand dollars is nothing when you consider the results...good luck.
P.S. www.subluxation.com to find one near you

I myself am a sufferer and have been since I was a child. My migraines are triggered by both environmental allergies-which are year round, dust and such. As a child mine were more food allergy related- dairy and wheat which is VERY common in kids. I would reccomend having a full allergy panel done to find out if that is the casue.

We are going to have my daughters done b,c she too sufffers from head and stomach aches.

Best of luck!

I am no expert on this situation by any means. My husband used to get migraines as a child as well maybe not that often but fairly often. As for allergies it could be something not seasonal such as dust see if it is at a time when dust might get moved around such as durnig cleaning or something like that it could also be a food allergy like gluten or milk remember there is a difference between lactose intollerant and having a milk protein allergy that means anything that has milk in it can give a reaction butter, yoghurt, breads that use any sort of milk or milk proteins. Allergies do often give migraine problems. You can alway try to cut out certain things in his diet to see if it helps. Think of something you sister feeds him daily. thats why i brought up gluten or milk.

My husband would get them if he did not get the amount of sleep he needed. His mother would put him down really early at night until he was 13 he was still going to bed at the latest 8p.m. and it was important that he took his nap if nothing else just to lay down and take it easy.. He did eventually grow out of it and hasnt had a migraine for years. So just a few suggestions I hope you figure it out sounds like a terrible affair. good luck..

I am not sure if you have tried switching out the products that you use in your home to something that does not have chemicals in them ... It may help...can't hurt!

There have been many studies showing that the chemicals in our everyday household products are linked to things such as Asthma, ADD, eczema, allergies? Exposure we have to hazardous chemicals that are found inside our homes, in every day products that we use. Most companies use dangerous ingredients in their products. For example, formaldehyde, which is the same stuff that goes into embalming fluid, that stuff we used in science class for the dead frog, was floating in. And is also a cancer causing ingredient that companies use to give their products a longer shelf life. formaldehyde is not one of the ingred. listed in any of the product; however, you will see trade names on the ingredient label instead.

One of the most popular trade names for formaldehyde is Quaternium 15, or Q-15. It’s a formaldehyde releaser and I was shocked to find out that it’s in the number one selling baby shampoo on the market today.

Formaldehyde and other harmful & dangerous ingredients, like ammonia and chlorine bleach are found is so many other everyday products…they’re not just in Cleaning products, you’ll find harmful chemicals in, toothpaste, cosmetics, bath items, laundry items, just things we use every single day! It affects our health, our breathing, our skin as well as damages our environment.

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I dealt with this as a child as well. Throwing up seemed to be the only thing that would ease the pain. I went through cat scans, seeing doctors weekly, going to the hospital, trying new prescriptions and nothing really seemed to work. I couldn't even have sleep overs at friends houses because I would always wake up in the middle of the night in so much pain, my mom would have to come and pick me up. You really have to watch what he eats, there are several foods that can trigger migraines. The good news is and I've heard this more than once, he will probably grow out of it at least we can all hope. I did. It is very tough and painful, hope you find something that will work for him. Good luck.

I've had migraines for as long as I can remember. They really started getting bad when I was about 6 or 7 years old. My parents didn't really believe me at first, I guess they just thought that my headaches were something I would pretend to have in order to get attention. I remember having to go home from school once because my headache was so bad that when I went to the bathroom I vomited and passed out.

After my mother was able to understand what happened (when I was a bit older) she would try to help me out. When my migraines get very intense my vision gets hazy and voices seem far away - even if the person speaking is right next to me. Mom would have me sit or lie down and that really helped.

I found that certain smells (for me it's root beer and house paint among other things) can trigger a migraine. It may help to observe when your nephew comes down with one so that you can recognize the triggers and make any necessary adjustments.

I think that cutting out as much stimulation as you possibly can when he has a mighraine will really help him out. For me, lying down in a DARK room (since bright lights only make them worse!) and listening to calming music is the best way to relieve my migraines quickly.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me: ____@____.com

I'd like to help out any child that has to go through that. :/

I am not sure what could be causing the headaches, but I had a similar problem when I was a child. Sometimes I could relieve the headache with a nap. At school I went and slept in the nurses office when I felt one coming on. They were really bad too. I would throw up get the chills. Sometimes even get a fever along with it. The doctors all said I was fine after all of the tests though. I think all of the tests are to relieve your worry, but after that then what? I didn't have any migraine medicine I could take back then, but I know they do have certain medications that help people with migraines. I usually got them when I was over stimulated, especially when I would read. I don't have bipolar disorder. I just eventually stopped getting them. I don't know if any of this information has helped you or not. My dad would used to rub my feet and my head until I fell asleep to help ease the pain. Maybe it is just a migraine headache though. I don't think it is allergy related either.

Hi M.,

It seems strange to me that you're willing to consider that your nephew may be bi-polar before you would believe that he may have a simple allergy. Allergies can be all-year events -- particularly food allergies. An allergy to ingredients such as eggs/chicken can easily give a child headaches like you are describing. It would not be unusual at all. Food allergies are *extemely* common! Long before even considering the possibility of a psychiatric disorder and the medicines that would result, I would be trying everything that the allergist suggests.

Two other strong directions to explore: A few visits to a chiropractor may be very effective in relieving migrain symptoms. Mine did wonders for me in just a few sessions. I have not had a migrain in over two years now. Find a chiropractor who has lots of experience working with children.

Also, has your nephew ever had his vision tested?

Good luck! Let us know how he is doing!

I know you have a lot of responses already...but I just wanted to mention that keeping a food diary (which someone else already mentioned) is a great idea. Tyramine, which is in a lot of food that children eat (cheese, bananas, hot dogs, etc.), can aggrevate migraines in children and adults.

My thought would be to go to a chiropractor and have them check the boy out. Some people don't believe in them but the ones I have seen and know of are wonderful. They have done great things for their patients and if they can't help they will be upfront about it and not keep passing the buck if you know what I mean. I recommend Dr. Steskal on 108 and Fort here in omaha.

Hi M.!

First of all, I'd like to commend you on homeschooling three children - I love to hear about moms (and dads) taking an active role in their child's education! As for your questions about your nephew, the first thing I thought of was a natural liquid supplement called Durian Fusion - made from the Durian fruit. It sounds to me like your nephew's problem could be neurological... The Durian fruit has organo sulfur compounds which help support better brain function. Durian also has natural Tryptophan which is used to treat: depression, anxiety, insomnia, migraines, OCD, nightmares and stress... neurological health concerns! In addition the fruit has lots of vitamins and minerals that support overall health for moms, dads and children.

If you want to stay away from perscriptions (like that allergy medication!) another great place to start looking would be AROMATHERAPY. (My mother-in-law teaches aromatherapy and I've learned a lot from her!) My suggestions include Lavender, helps relax muscles and promotes a calming feeling; Orange, also a favorite for soothing and calming as well as aides the nervous and digestive system; Wild Rosemary, enhances memory, and aides the circulatory and digestive systems, as well as promotes the calming of nervous anxiety.

There are multiple ways to apply essential oils (massage, baths, air diffusor) but the number one thing to focus on is finding a quality line of essential oils that are all natural, pure and free of "filler chemicals" which can sometimes aggravate sensitve people and possibly do more harm than good! (If you would like to know more about the line of essential oils my mother-in-law recommends to her massage therapy students, just send me an e-mail.)

I hope some of this helps! More information about Durian Fusion and aromotherapy can be found on the website 1000MomsClub.com

Good luck with your little ones and your nephew! :o)

E. T.

My cousin's daughter dealt with this for years. They took her to the leading neurologist in Chicago and he said simply "get rid of sodium nitrates".

It's an ingredient in things like hot dogs, summer sausage, lunchables, deli lunch meats and things of the sort. Alot of "convenience" foods. My cousin was also told to get rid of foods that had red 40 in it. When she did this, Kate's migraines disappeared.

From what we understood from the doctor, sodium nitrate can affect the body and be mis-diagnosed as anything from epilepsy to ADHD. I don't know anything concrete, but I *do* know that changing Kate's diet made a huge impact on her health.

I hope you and your sister find something that works for your nephew. Migraines are no way to spend childhood. I'll be praying for you. :)

Hi M.,
I used to get migraines often. I started going to a chiropractor about 5 years ago. I never get them anymore. I don't know if it would help for him but it was a life saver for me. Good luck.

Hi M.,
I also homeschool a 12 year old boy. I read your post and thougt I would respond. Have you taken him to a chiropractor? yes I said chiropractor. Sounds like he has an Atlas out. That is the first vertebra in the back of your neck. Alot of times it is caused during the birthing process. Don't discount the benefits of chiropractic. My husband is a chiropractor and has treated many babies and young children with much success for a variety of problems, from bedwetting to ear infections. If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

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