Migraines may be linked to Infant Colic
A new study out of Europe suggests teens who suffer from migraine headaches may have first experienced the symptoms of colic, and that the two may be linked. Researchers studying teens who came into French and Italian emergency rooms discovered that over 70 percent of the youths who came in with migraines had been colicky babies.
Migraines are extreme headaches, often described by sufferers as “the worst headache of their life”. They can be recurring and are often throbbing; they usually occur on one side of the head and will sometimes create sensitivity to light and or sound and may be accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision or auras.
Dr. Luigi Titomanilo of Paris Diderot University and his colleagues studied the medical records of children from six through 18 who visited three different emergency rooms in 2012. They considered 799 charts in all; 208 who qualified as migraines, 471 who had non-headache trauma, and 120 who had non-migraine headaches.
The data determined those who came to the ER suffering from a migraine headache were six to seven times more likely to have also agonized from colic as an infant than those who arrived at the hospital with head trauma. “However, youth with non-migraine headaches were no more likely to have had colic as infants than the no-headache trauma group, they reported Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association.” (reuters.com)
According to Dr. Amy Gelfand, a child neurologist from the University of California, San Francisco Headache Center, “This study is another piece of evidence suggesting that infant colic may be an early manifestation of migraine.” (reuters.com)
While Gelfand was not involved in the new research, she states there are now four studies suggesting the same thing; many children with migraines may have had colic and mothers who have them are more likely to have a baby with colic. She says this leans towards the idea that there may be underlying genetic predispositions to colic and migraine, connecting the two.
Titomanilo said ten percent of children and younger teens get migraine headaches brought on by “inflammation around vessels in the brain.” He went on to explain that it could be the same as for a colicky baby; the pain could be causing the excessive crying.
Gelfand explained it from a different angle, saying that the fact that migraine sufferers are “extra sensitive to light and sound, even between attacks, and that sensitivity might start early in predisposed infants. All the new lights, new sounds, new touches and smells that they’re encountering may just be more overwhelming for a baby with migraine genetics.” (reuters.com)
However, both Titomanilo and Gelfand agreed there needs to be a further study done to determine if there is a link between colic and migraine. While it does seem to be a trend, a study where colicky babies are followed from infancy through their teenage years to conclude whether or not they develop migraines is essential.
If there is a definitive link, it could revolutionize the way infants are treated; it would not necessarily mean medication, but it could mean treating them similarly to the way migraine sufferers soothe themselves at the onset of a migraine. It could be putting them in a darkened room for sleep, ensuring quiet, or possibly some dietary restrictions depending on the child’s age.
For anybody who has ever been held hostage by their migraine any further research in the field of medicine on the subject is a breakthrough. Certainly, if infants are suffering and it is creating colic, they cannot ask for quiet, dark, or cold compresses.