Migraines in Teens

Migraines in teens are problematic. Research indicates that roughly 10% of school-age children experiences migraines, and 28% of adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 deal with migraine pain.

The impact of migraines in teens can be significant for both a child and his or her parents. Fortunately, with insights into what causes migraines in teens and how to treat migraine pain, teens can get the help they need to address their migraine symptoms.

How Do Migraines Affect Teenagers?

For some teenagers, migraines begin in puberty. Yet migraine pain can occur at any time among teenage boys and girls.

Additionally, research indicates that teenage girls may be more prone to migraines than teenage boys. Teenage girls can experience changes in estrogen levels during puberty, which could contribute to migraine symptoms.

How to Recognize Migraine Pain in Teens

Sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia) are two warning signs of migraines in teens. Also, teens sometimes experience bilateral migraines, i.e migraines that cause pain on both sides of the head.

Teen migraines tend to be shorter than those of adults. Research shows that teen migraines typically last around two hours. However, a severe migraine can last up to three days.

What Are the Symptoms of a Migraine in Children and Teens?

Common migraine symptoms in children and teens include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep interruptions

A child or teen who experiences one or more of the following symptoms should seek out medical treatment. By doing so, this individual can take the first step to treat his or her migraine pain.

What Causes Migraines in Teens?

There is no surefire cause of all migraines in teens, but there are four anatomical migraine trigger points:

  • Forehead: Results in migraine pain above the eye or on the forehead and affects one or both sides of the forehead.
  • Temples: Causes migraine pain in one or both sides of the temples.
  • Nose: Leads to migraine pain behind the eye and on one or both sides of the nose.
  • Neck: Impacts the back of the neck and one or both sides of the neck.

In addition to anatomical migraine trigger points, common migraine triggers in teens include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Strong odors
  • Consuming too much caffeine or caffeine withdrawal
  • Foods that contain nitrates, monosodium glutamate, tyramine, sulfites and/or aspartame

Proper teen migraine diagnosis requires an assessment of a patient’s anatomical migraine trigger points by a doctor, as well as an evaluation of various environmental factors and foods that may contribute to this individual’s migraine symptoms. Once a migraine diagnosis is provided to a teen, a doctor can determine the best course of action to help this individual manage his or her migraine pain.

How Are Migraines in Teens Treated?

Medications are commonly used for treating migraines in teens. Both over-the-counter and prescription migraine medications are available, and how they affect a teen varies based on the individual, the severity of his or her migraine symptoms and other factors.

Although medications are often used to treat migraines in teens, they offer no guarantees. In some instances, teens continue to experience migraine pain, despite the fact that they are using preventative, abortive and/or rescue medications. Or, teens sometimes experience nausea, vomiting or other intolerable side effects due to their migraine medications.

If a teen continues to experience migraines after he or she starts using medications, this individual may be given a chronic migraine diagnosis. Meanwhile, if medications to treat a teen’s chronic migraines are ineffective or cause side effects, additional help may be required.

Dr. Jonathan Cabin of The Migraine Institute treats chronic migraine patients of all ages. He offers Botox and migraine surgery to help patients alleviate chronic migraine pain. Dr. Cabin also tailors a chronic migraine treatment to his patient to ensure that this individual can achieve long-term migraine pain relief.

Schedule a Teen Chronic Migraine Treatment Consultation with Dr. Cabin

To learn more about how Dr. Cabin treats chronic migraines in teens or to schedule a free teen migraine treatment consultation, please contact us online or call us today at 310.461.0303.