14 answers

Abdominal Migraines for My 3 Year Old

Hi Mamas,
Within the last few months, more frequently lately, my 3 year old son has been having some throwing up spells. No other symptoms come along with it. No fever, no cough, no runny nose, no diarrhea. Just throwing up. Sometimes he only throws up a few times and then he is perfectly fine and other times he will throw up several times an hour for a few hours and then he is completely fine. He doesn't throw up a lot, just empties his stomach and then he will throw up a little clear mucus. His doctor thinks he has abdominal migraines. He said there is no head pain just an upset stomach. We are trying to find a trigger but every time he has had an episode we can't find a common thread. Anyone have other suggestions as to what this might be? Anyone else dealt with Abdominal Migraines? Any tips or suggestions?

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S., I have never heard the term Abdominal Migraines and I have had migraines for at least 27 years and probably longer because I didn't know what they were. I agree with much of what's been said. I would get a consultation with a neurologist or at least a pediatrician familiar with this condition. A migraine is a migraine and very debilitating. I would also see a chiropracter for adjustments. Your son's
alignment is critical for optimal health. A few suggestions from my own experience are:possible food allergies and since you said it's been the past few months, maybe something new in his diet or also seasonal allergies. The other triggers are very difficult to distinguish. I'm an adult and I discover new ones. I will share a few because it's plaqued me so long:colognes,chlorine and household cleaners,new tires in a store and petroleum products,cigarette smoke, household paints, movie popcorn (crazy,huh), fish in a market, but I prepare and eat fish all the time, chocolate in a factory or shop although I enjoy and eat chocolate. I heard a woman say she quit her job at a fabric store because it triggered migraines (I guess all the odors and dyes). You may have to play "detective" and keep a log of activities, foods, etc for a couple weeks and see if there's a pattern. At least, you'll have good info for the MD. Maybe you planted a garden the last few months and the fertilizer, soil is the trigger or chemicals if you've been swimming? Hope you find this helpful and email me if you need.

Greetings S.: Abdominal migrains is a new one to me.
When our 3rd son started doing what you describe we let it go because it just didn't happen often enough forthe doctor to see it. Then he started projectile vomiting and our doctor started checking and found that the stomach muscle was slowly sealing shut.
I hope that you are able to find what you need, to help your little boy. He must be scared to put anything into his mouth for fear of what will happen. 3 year olds are usually robust and like the energizer bunny going til they drop ( or you do), so I hope that he gets healthy soon. Nana G

Hi S.,

My son has abdominal migraines. He has probably had them since he was about 10 months old. Your son's symptoms sound exactly like my son's. Our neurologist (I suggest a visit to one) said our son would probably develop regular headache migraines at about the age of 7. He did and the vomiting stopped. We just have to watch flashing light video games and other triggers. With the vomiting, I never figured out the triggers.
My son took Maxalt. There is a disolving tablet that doesn't taste bad. It worked to stop the vomiting instantly. Makes them a little sleepy. Maxalt also works for the headaches too.

In our opinion the medication was safe and we found no reason for our son to suffer but each parent has to weigh things for themselves.

Abdominal migraines are also referred to as Cyclical Vomiting. There is a website for parents of kids with this. It helped me a lot. Can't remember the website but the words cyclical vomiting are in it.

Good luck.

I don't have any advice, but actually have some questions for you. My daughter (3) does what you described above about every 2 months to the day. She will wake up in the morning and tell us her tummy hurts and ask for her bucket. Within maybe 30 - 45 minutes of saying her tummy hurts she starts like the chills and then throws up. She'll do this for the next 8 - 10 hrs, with no food and not able to hold down any liquids. She will end up going up to 16 hrs before she will produce urine. Her doctor had me start logging it down and trying to remember what she ate for dinner the night before, any activities, etc. that might be her trigger point. So far we haven't found one.

How often are your sons episodes happening? How long do they last? In between his throwing up what/how does he act? Does he just want to be held or lay in his bed? Hers always start in the mornings, when she wakes up. What about your sons? I'm curious how you handle this because other than my daughter I had never heard of any other child doing what you described.


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Sorry to hear of your son's illness. I heard of this once before, in an elementary school age child. He was out from school for a long time with bad stomach pain and vomiting, and was hospitalized. They said abdominal migraines. He was back in school after that, so whatever treatment they came up with must have been effective!
You could always get a second opinion, if you are uncomfortable with the diagnosis or the doctor.

Hi S.,

It must be frustrating for you to see your little one not feeling well.

I am a wellness coach and work with many doctors that educate wellness. There will be a children's wellness expo in Sept.

If you would like to learn how to build your little guys immune system to stay healthy email me and I will have one of the doctors educate you on what you can do.

Have a great week.

N. Marie

maybe acid reflux, but doens't necessarily sound like it. I'd FOR SURE get another opinion. You don't want to let it go if it's something worse.

Hi S.,
My son used to throw up alot in what seemed like random spells. Nobody, doctors included, seemed to be able to help me. I started to cut things out of his diet thinking it might be a food alergy. Turn out he is lactose intolerant. I quit giving him dairy and his getting sick was greatly reduced. He seems to have grown out of it now luckily. Also he suffers from anxiety and when he gets nervous is prone to get sick. Just some ideas for you. Good luck.

One major trigger for me is smells. I know some people get them from certain foods. Does he eat things with splenda? I can't have that either. Another trigger I have is flashing lights when its dark outside,or if things have a reflective glare, and they continue for more than ten minutes. Basically, with your son is that there is no head pain, just the nausea that comes with the mirgraine. Thats what my neurologist calls a silent migraine. I hope you find his trigger soon, thats no way to spend your childhood.
W. M.

S., I have to respond to this because 9 years ago I felt a similar frustration and concern. My daughter began having migraines like your son's at about 3 1/2. We use to think it was something she ate or a little virus. The migraines did evolve into headaches and vomiting. The triggers for my daughter seems to be emotional upset and weather changes. We have found that dried fruit is also trigger.The great news is that migraines are becoming less and less a part of her life as she grows older. She experiences maybe 3 in a years time. She does not take migraine meds. Best wishes to you & your son!

Dear S.,
I, personally, have never heard of abdominal migraines. I'm not saying it isn't possible, but since you haven't been able to find a "trigger", you might want to ask another doctor's opinion just in case.
My son started vomitting spells. At first I thought it was the flu, then something he ate...He wasn't really sick, just throwing up and after everything was out of his stomach, he felt fine. (Other than the trauma of throwing up. Nobody likes doing that). But it started happening every single day and I took him to the doctor. It was acid reflux. The doctor gave him medicine and the vomitting stopped. He's pretty much outgrown it now.
I just hope you can find a way to relief for your little guy whatever is causing it. Throwing up sucks.
A trick my dad taught me when I was little was to put a super cold washrag on the back of my neck at the first hint of wooziness.
I wish you the best!

What about parasites.

look up whipworm, roundworm, giardia, blastosytosis, h. pylori, etc...exposure to any new animals lately? Animals can carry bacteria and parasites.

Food allergies.

Chemical allergies.

drinks- is drinking tap water the cause?-tap water has high amounts of clorine and floride (in some areas). Livermore has freon in the water! also nitrates!

Keep not only a food diary but a diary of every sypmtom, even if it doesnt seem related.

Hi Stacey,

I'm sorry to hear your son is going through this. I have not heard of abdominal migraines but wanted to share my story with you. My son had something called intassusception which is a type of intestinal blockage. He was younger than your son, only 10 months when it occurred, but the condition is most common in boys ages 3 months to 3 years. His signs were similar to your son's: random vomiting without any associated diarrhea, fever, runny nose, etc. He did tend to be a little constipated and had foul smelling gas. His episodes, as we called them, would come on pretty quick and could last for about 3 hours. He would writhe in pain and then throw up. Between bouts he would be pretty lethargic. The final MD we saw finally ordered an abdominal ultrasound and that was what we needed for a diagnosis. I don't know if any of this sounds like what your son is going through but it may be worth mentioning if it continues. Good luck and I hope you have some resolution soon.

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