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Paroxysmal disorder of an acute onset, severe, noncolicky, periumbilical, or diffuse abdominal pain accompanied variably with nausea, vomiting, anorexia, headache, and pallor
- Occurs mostly in children; mean onset at age 7 years (3 to 10 years)
- Peak symptoms 10 to 12 years of age
- More common in girls (3:2)
- May affect as many as 1–4% of children at some point in their lives
- Declining frequency toward adulthood
Parents of affected children often have history of migraine headaches and motion sickness.
- May involve neuronal activity originating in the hypothalamus with involvement of the cortex and autonomic nervous system
- Serotonin is implicated and blockade of serotonin receptors may prevent abdominal migraine.
- Recent studies suggest involvement of local intestinal vasomotor factors.
- Abdominal migraine shares pathophysiologic mechanisms and clinical characteristics with cyclic vomiting syndrome and migraine headaches.