What is the diagnosis for Migraine Headache in Children?
Studies suggest that migraine headaches occur in 5% to 10% of school-aged children in the United States This frequency gradually increases through adolescence and peaks at about 44 years of age. Many people experience spontaneous remission, meaning that the headaches go away on their own for no clear reason.GenderThe age of onset of migraine headaches is earlier in boys than in girls. From infancy to 7 years of age, boys are affected equally or slightly more than girls. The prevalence of migraines increases during the adolescent and young adult years, during which 20% to 30% of young women and 10% to 20% of young men experience migraines. After menarche (the time when the first menstrual period occurs), a female predominance occurs. This continues to increase until middle age. The frequency of migraines declines in both sexes by 50 years of age.AgeMost migraineurs begin to experience attacks before 20 years of age. Approximately 20% have their first attack before their fifth birthday. Preschool children experiencing a migraine attack usually look ill and have abdominal pain, vomiting, and a strong need to sleep. They may show pain by irritability, crying, rocking, or seeking a dark room in which to sleep.Migraineurs aged 5 to 10 years of age experience:
- abdominal cramping,
- photophobia (sensitivity to light),
- phonophobia (sensitivity to sound),
- osmophobia (sensitivity to smells), and
- a need to sleep.
They usually fall asleep within an hour of the time the attack begins. The most common accompanying signs and symptoms include:
- paleness with dark circles under the eyes,
- swollen nasal passages,
- excessive sweating,
- increased urination,
- and diarrhea.
Older children tend to present with headache on one side of their skull. The headache location and intensity often change during or between attacks.Research has shown that many "sinus headaches" are really of migrainous origin. As children grow older, headache intensity and duration increases, and migraines begin to happen at more regular intervals. Older children also describe a pulsating or throbbing characteristic to their headaches. Headaches often shift to the one-sided temple location that most adult migraineurs report. Childhood migraines often stop for a few years after puberty.