Friday, 18 January 2013

Stomach Migraine

Hello friends, sorry to have been AWOL in the last week or so.

There I was with some pretty good posts lined up for you, inspired by some health and fitness buddies of mine on My Fitness Pal. Then I got poorly and that's as far it got. I will return to those in the next few days.

On Tuesday night I started to experience a bit of discomfort in my upper abdomen which made me feel a bit uneasy. It had been a year since I last experienced this, and up to that episode in January 2012 these twisting stomach aches had been a fairly frequent occurrence, and the return of the familiar onset told me that my well being for the next few days was decided, and there was nothing I could do about it.

In the early hours of Wednesday and throughout the day I was riddled with severely painful stomach cramps – I could physically see my stomach spasming when I took a bath! And I also experienced extreme nausea and vomiting. I eventually managed to eat something in the evening despite having no appetite, primarily so that it would be safe for me to take some strong painkillers. I was uncomfortable in the night but managed to sleep, then Thursday came and my stomach was still extremely sore throughout the day and I had a little of my appetite return, and I went to work. Running my own business means I kind of have to if I can at all manage.

And now it is Friday and I’m sitting in my shop writing this with my tummy feeling rather battered and bruised inside, but much more myself and woke feeling hungry and thirsty for the first day since Tuesday. Mind you, I need not really open the shop today, it’s snowing pretty heavily – not really juice or smoothie weather I’ll admit – so I’m predicting a dead day today. At least it gives me the chance to catch up on some reading and writing WOOHOO!

Anyway, being unwell is of course going to cause a lot of burning questions in the mind of someone who takes their health seriously. As I mentioned, this is not my first experience of this and I have before been tested from head to foot for intolerance, tumours, infections, viruses etc. anything that could cause this kind of discomfort, all drawing a negative.  My own research in the past has suggested to me that I may suffer abdominal migraines, and my more recent research as good as confirms this. I haven’t been formally diagnosed, but very little is known about it for it to be diagnosed anyway. Anyhow, I fit all the diagnostic criteria according to the International Headache Society's International Classification of Headache Disorders-II (ICHD-II):

An idiopathic recurrent disorder occurring primarily in children and characterized by episodic midline abdominal pain manifesting in attacks normality between episode intensity and associated with vasomotor symptoms, nausea, and vomiting.

  1. At least five attacks fulfilling criteria B-D
  2. Attacks of abdominal pain lasting 1 to 72 hours
  3. Abdominal pain has all the following characteristics:
    1. Midline location, periumbilical or poorly localized
    2. Dull or "just sore" quality
    3. Moderate to severe intensity
  4. During abdominal pain, at least 2 of the following:
    1. Anorexia
    2. Nausea
    3. Vomiting
    4. Pallor
  5. Not attributed to another disorder; history and physical examination findings do not suggest gastrointestinal or renal disease, or such disease has been ruled out by appropriate investigations
N.B. In this case, 'Anorexia' means loss of appetite, not Anorexia Nervosa, the psychological disorder.

The only unusual thing about my experience of the condition is that I am not a child, nor do I have any family history of migraine (head or abdominal), though my brother does have epilepsy which is said to be related to migraine.

My next steps were to find out the causes of the attacks – what processes in the body occur to bring the attacks about. Unfortunately little is known about this, though dietary triggers like caffeine, dairy, MSG, nitrates in preserved meats, and *gasp* chocolate have been implicated. Also, it is thought that a deficiency in the neurochemical serotonin could cause it. This chemical is typically associated with mood disorders, like depression, which makes me wonder if using antidepressants could be a solution?
 If my suspicions are correct, then it is good to know that there is some knowledge out there somewhere about it, and it’s not just some ‘unknown’. It’s also reassuring to know that my previous testing doesn’t suggest something more serious.

Anyway, I just wanted to put this out there as both an explanation for my whereabouts, and also if my experience sounds familiar to you, that you might be able to look into abdominal migraine more deeply and get some answers. I am not trying to offer medical advice (though I recommend seeing a doctor to confirm that it is not something more serious), just share my experience.

Right, now that I have made my excuses, I had better get back to work go back to some of the posts I had in the pipeline before falling unwell :-)

Speak again soon,

Hannah xx


  1. That sounds horrid. Glad you're feeling a bit more human today. I'm in a freezing cold and dead shop too today. I feel your pain!

    1. Thanks! Back in the shop today, freezing cold - could time pass any slower?!?!

  2. Yikes! Have you been feeling better lately? I have never heard of a Stomach Migraine before but it sure sounds awful :-(

    1. I'm feeling much better now thanks, been 100% better since Saturday :-)it's nice to get back to normal!