Abdominal Migraine aka Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome

Migraine turns on the vomit center in the brain stem. Nausea and vomiting and abdominal pain without headache used to be called abdominal migraine but now it's--cyclical vomiting syndrome which occurs in children, mostly girls, till 20 years old and then they develop--plain old Migraine.

Abdominal migraine causes bellyache, pallor, cramping, vomiting, but no headache. The child may be pale or flushed. They lose their appetites. It hurts in the middle of the abdomen around the umbilicus. Usual migraine triggers may set the episode off. They come in short lived 6-8 hour attacks surrounded by normal health. Rarely they last 3 days just like episodic migraine. The attacks may come on suddenly and be severe.

There usually is a family history of migraine, in women 3 times more than men.


Triptans may be given—sumatriptan or rizatriptan at onset of the symptoms, just like older migraineurs take for headache. Preventive drugs like amitriptyline, topiramate, propranalol, and depakote (only in boys) may be used.

A regular sleep schedule, meals 3 times a day, limiting caffeine, and exercise may help.