This Article is From Mar 12, 2021

What Triggers Migraine In Children? Expert Shares Tips To Help Your Child Cope With This Condition

Migraine in children: Not just adults, migraine can affect kids too. Read here as expert explains what can lead to migraine in children and how to prevent migraine attacks in children.

What Triggers Migraine In Children? Expert Shares Tips To Help Your Child Cope With This Condition

Migraine leads to severe pain on one side of the head


  • Migraine can affect kids and can lead to severe pain
  • Migraine headaches are often accompanied with nausea and vomiting
  • There are several factors that can trigger migraine in kids

Migraine can affect adults as well as children. It is a condition which leads to severe pain on one side of the head. This pain is usually accompanied with nausea, light sensitivity and vomiting. It can affect people of all ages. The symptoms of the condition can be different in children than in adults. This throbbing pain can affects a child's enthusiasm and also the overall development of the child. As children fail to clearly communicate the symptoms vocally, the diagnosis of migraine may get delayed.

Several triggers may induce migraine headache among children. Genetic factors, environmental changes and lifestyle factors can influence the headache. While these attacks come out of nowhere, some might find that there are early signs that migraine is on its way. These early signs can reveal a pattern in the symptoms making it simpler in managing migraine. When you identify and understand what triggers your child's migraine, it will be easier to manage and cope with future attacks.

Here are some of the common triggers-

1. Irregular sleeping habits:

A very common factor for migraine attacks is changes in the child's sleep patterns. Sleep is necessary for the body to repair and renew every part - more so with the brain - so when your sleep cycle is irregular, you are more vulnerable to migraine attacks.

Make sure the children follow healthy sleeping habits like going to bed at the same time every night so that they get 7-8 hours of proper sleep. Avoid music, TV and reading while in bed.


Improper sleep is one of the many reasons that can trigger migraine in kids
Photo Credit: iStock

2. Stress:

Stress is one of the biggest causes of migraine today in both adults and children. Tirelessness and worry cause the body to exhaust and as a result, they get a sudden migraine attack.

List down the ways you want your child to reduce or eliminate their daily stress level, and then work towards managing those triggers to reduce frequent attacks. Relaxation therapy, exercise, meditation and having a healthy sleep cycle can be very helpful in terms of managing stress and tension.

Also read: All About Migraine

3. Weather changes:

Extreme climate and fluctuations in barometer pressure are the common triggers of migraine attacks. High heat and humidity can cause dehydration, resulting in causing migraine.

Controlling weather is impossible, so in case the climate is not favourable for the child's migraine, it is better to adjust the daily schedule accordingly. For example, if your child wants to go to play during summer, it is advisable to go for it early morning or in the evenings.

4. Allergies:

Allergies can also lead to migraine in children. Understanding the kind of food and lifestyle in children can be difficult at times which can delay treatment to a large extent.

Investigate the daily diet and the atmosphere they are exposed to on a daily basis. Once you understand the trigger to their allergies, it will be easier to control the situation and avoid triggers in the future.

Also read: Does Your Child Complain Of Headache? Here's Why You Should Not Ignore The Symptoms

5. Diet:

Some foods can also trigger migraine in children.

Take a note of the food your child eats and avoid the foods that trigger their migraine. Make sure you read ingredients so that you can understand what goes into the making of that product.


A healthy diet can also help prevent migraine in kids
Photo Credit: iStock

6. Light:

It is an enemy to most of them who experience migraines. This condition is known as Photophobia. Bright light, natural and flickering bulbs make it difficult to be in school or go outside. Increased screen time from phone and computer can also trigger migraine.

It is better to wear sunglasses when children step outside to avoid direct exposure to light. Also, taking regular breaks during the online classes, limiting the use of phone for a particular time in a day can help in avoiding migraine.

7. Dehydration:

For some children, even the slightest hint of dehydration can cause headaches. Apart from causing migraine, dehydration can cause dizziness, confusion or can even be life-threatening at times.

Make sure there is a water bottle at all times with them, be it at home or if they are outside. Keep track of their water intake each day.

Also read: Headache Or Migraine: Expert Tells How To Spot The Difference

8. Overuse of Medication:

In case your child has regular headaches and if the intake of acute medicine advised by the doctor is more than 10 days in a month, that itself can cause migraines, and the condition is known as Medication Overuse Headache (MOH).

Even before you stop the pain, you need to stop them from taking the medication so that it clears out from the system. Make sure you take them to the doctor to understand how to overcome certain medications safely.

9. Smell:

Certain odors can cause migraine attacks immediately. Osmophobia is a common symptom of migraine in children.

How to cope: Avoid certain food smells, perfumes and chemicals. Make your child's classmates and friends aware of their condition and tell them to not be afraid to request to refrain from using a certain products if needed.

Everyone's symptoms or triggers may be different from that of the others. Always take the recommendation and advice from a doctor so that they can give your child a proper diagnosis and start a better treatment.

(Dr. Guruprasad H, Senior Consultant - Neurology, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur)

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