What is Abdominal Migraine?

Abdominal migraines, also referred to as stomach migraines or migraines of the stomach, are most commonly suffered by children, toddlers and teenagers who go on to suffer migraine attacks in later life.

Abdominal migraine attacks can occur for adults too, causing severe abdominal pangs and pains.


  • Up to ten per cent of children suffer from abdominal migraine pains
  • Many sufferers can trace a family history of migraine problems
  • The majority of abdominal migraine pains suffered by children disappear on their own within two years
  • Less than 2% of children who suffer from abdominal migraines continue to suffer in adulthood
  • Females suffer from abdominal pains more than males
  • Children who suffer from abdominal migraines are more likely to have psychiatric issues in adulthood such as anxiety


It is quite rare to be diagnosed with abdominal migraine as an adult and in the majority of cases the symptoms experienced can be linked to other conditions such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Doctors tend to seek other explanations for the symptoms in adults before diagnosing abdominal migraine and it can take years for a correct diagnosis of this condition in adults.

Abdominal Migraine Symptoms

  • Non-localized stomach pains
  • Pain can be described as dull
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Overall feeling of discomfort
  • Often the stomach pains are not followed by head pains
  • There is no sign of any symptoms between attacks
  • Abdominal Migraine Triggers

There are many causes of abdominal migraines and if a person is experiencing any of the symptoms it is advisable to keep a diary and record any possible triggers in order to avoid them.

Possible triggers

  • Stress, worry or anxiety such as stressing about an exam or worrying about getting in trouble
  • Travel sickness
  • Not eating properly or skipping meals
  • Lack of sleep or changing sleep patterns
  • Exposure to bright, flashing or flickering lights
  • Over stimulating exercise
  • Certain foods may also trigger abdominal migraines such as chocolate, citrus fruits, cheese, some Chinese foods containing MSG or preserved meats
  • Alcohol