Abdominal Migraine, Stomach Ache Natural Treatment Methods & Home Remedies For Prevention
Abdominal migraines are not very different from normal migraines; the distinguishing factor is in the location of the ache: abdominal migraines primarily affect the abdomen.
Abdominal migraines can be treated using medications like triptans, NSAIDs (non-stimulating anti-inflammatory drugs), and anti-histamines. However, while these drugs are effective in adults, most of them have not been sanctioned to be used by children – the major sufferers of the condition. As a result, some parents tend to seek for alternative treatment for their children.
In this post, we shall consider some natural treatment methods that can be employed at home in treating the symptoms of abdominal migraine.
What is abdominal migraine?
Abdominal migraine is a type of recurring ache that is marked by pain in the abdominal region, nausea and vomiting. This form of migraine occurs majorly in children, especially those between five and nine years of age. This is not to say that adults don’t have abdominal migraine, they do.
Causes of abdominal migraine
The exact cause of abdominal migraine is still not known; hence, it is classified as an idiopathic health condition. That said, there a few theories which try to pinpoint the cause(s) of the condition.
One theory holds that an imbalance in the levels of serotonin and histamine in the body may be the cause. The proponents of this theory believe that the effects of stress and anxiety on the body may be the cause of the imbalance. However, it is also suggested that, abdominal migraine, like migraine headaches, is commonly caused by similar triggers.
Common triggers of migraine headaches that are also attributed to abdominal migraines include foods with MSG (monosodium glutamate), processed meats and foods like chocolate. Other triggers are excessive swallowing of air, motion sickness, and consumption of foods containing nitrites.
That said, children with a family history of migraines have a higher risk of getting abdominal migraines than those without. These kids are also likely to have migraine headaches when they grow older. In addition, like other migraine headaches, abdominal migraines mostly affect female children than boys.
Symptoms of abdominal migraine
Abdominal migraines can happen at any time and usually without any prevising signs. Interestingly, children suffering from abdominal migraines do not have the headaches that adults have.
Most symptoms of abdominal migraine are similar with other gastrointestinal problems, which can make the diagnosis somewhat difficult. One way of differentiating this condition from other GI conditions is by observing how long it persists. This type of migraine should diminish within a short time (about one hour), or last for a maximum of 3 days.
Besides the obvious abdominal pain, other common signs and symptoms of abdominal migraine include:
- Pale appearance
- Drowsiness or lethargic feeling
- Loss of appetite
- Dehydration due to excessive vomiting
- Dark shadows beneath the eyes
- Nauseating feeling
Natural home remedies for abdominal migraine
Aside from the use of medications as a remedy for abdominal migraine, other methods such as homeopathy and yoga can also be effective.
The following are some natural home remedies for abdominal migraine in children, as well as for adults:
- Avoid food triggers
Foods such as chocolate and processed meat have been linked with abdominal migraines. Thus, excluding such foods from your child’s meal is a simple, yet effective way of preventing abdominal migraine.
- Hot water
Placing a bag containing hot water on the abdomen, or massaging the abdomen with a cloth soaked in hot water can help to relieve abdominal pain during episodes of abdominal migraine.
- Yoga and meditation
Stress and anxiety have been associated with abdominal migraine. Yoga poses like Virbhadrasana can be beneficial in controlling stress. Also, meditation can help to reduce the effects of stress and anxiety on the body.
Giving your child small doses of homeopathic drugs like Pulsatilla can help to relieve abdominal pain associated with abdominal migraine. Even more, it is suggested that, early use of the drugs in children susceptible to abdominal migraines can help in preventing the onset of migraine headaches as they grow older.
- Give the person fluids
If your child is having abdominal migraine and leads to vomiting, you should give him/her fluids like water to quell the vomiting.
- Essential oils
Essential oils such as lavender oil and jasmine oil can be useful in alleviating the symptoms of abdominal migraine. Massaging the abdomen with a mixture of lavender oil and clove essential oil for a few minutes two times daily can help kids suffering from abdominal migraine. It is important to state, however, that, the essential oils should be used after diluting them in carrier oils and should not be allergenic to the child.
- John’s Wart
This is an herbal plant that is believed to have curative properties against abdominal migraine.
- Willow bark extract
Salicin, the extract of bark of the willow tree, is a major ingredient for many over-the-counter medications such as aspirin.
- Peppermint tea
Pain in the abdomen can also be alleviated by consuming a cup of peppermint tea. The analgesic and relaxing properties of peppermint come into play here as the pain gradually subsides after taking the tea.
- Chamomile tea
Like peppermint, chamomile also has soothing effects that are helpful in reducing abdominal pain.
Ginger is a common kitchen ingredient that possesses several medicinal properties. This herb has also been used for treating migraines due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. A recent study discovered that ginger can be helpful in treating migraines without the many side effects of triptans.
- Let the child sleep in the dark
According to Mayo Clinic, making your child sleep in a dark and quiet room can help to reduce some symptoms of abdominal migraine. Further, putting an ice compress under the child’s neck while sleeping can also help to reduce stress and promote good sleep.
Linden, or lime tree, is an herbal plant that can also help in treating migraine. The herb helps to promote sleep, and while its effect on abdominal migraine needs more studies, it can help in reducing stress associated with the condition.
This common Greek herb is believed to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that may bring relief to children suffering from abdominal migraine. The herb can be used in different forms like tinctures.
Evodia rutaecarpa is an herbal plant that is popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine for treating abdominal pain and headaches. The analgesic properties of the fruit are helpful in reducing the symptoms of abdominal migraine.
The use of butterbur in treating health conditions dates back to Ancient Greece when a physician, named Dioscurides, used the herb in treating stomach ulcer patients. Afterward, the use of this herbal plant has expanded and can also benefit sufferers of migraines, including abdominal migraine. Symptoms like pain can be alleviated by using butterbur root extract.
While many children respond to the treatments for abdominal migraine and outgrow the condition, a higher percentage is still affected by migraine headaches when they grow older.
Understanding the condition and risk factors will help in effectively preventing the onset of abdominal migraines as well as in managing the symptoms. That being said, you may need to consult with a doctor to know the best solution for your child.