(Paris) Migraines do not stop at children, one in ten suffers from this chronic disease, which is still poorly diagnosed and has an impact on their schooling. But a young migraine sufferer doesn’t necessarily stay that way into adulthood.
Posted at 12:02 p.m
According to international studies, migraines affect 5 to 15% of children. This topic is on the agenda of September 17th at the Francophone Migraine Summit, an online event.
Maïwenn Colléaux, 18, started having migraines around the age of 14-15, although her first headaches date back to childhood.
“It immediately changed my daily life: when I was in a crisis, I stopped going out, my social life stopped, I couldn’t go to school anymore,” she said Thursday during a press conference hosted by the French association La Voix des Migraineux was organized.
“Of course we feel different from the other kids who didn’t really understand my suffering and just gave me a headache.”
However, migraine is a real disease characterized by the regular and repetitive occurrence of severe headaches, sometimes accompanied by vomiting.
“Children’s migraines, misunderstood and little-taught in the medical world, affect as many young boys as pre-adolescent girls,” explained Anne Donnet, neurologist, director of the Center for Pain Assessment and Treatment at Timone Hospital in Marseille.
From the first menstrual cycles, the frequency of migraines in girls becomes more and more important.
Diagnosis and treatment are even more complicated than in adults because the symptoms are often mistaken for indigestion.
“Because I suffer from migraines myself, I was able to diagnose my daughter’s illness,” notes Karine Colléaux, Maïwenn’s mother. “In children, migraines often lead to paleness and abdominal pain,” she explains.
Childhood migraines are just as disabling as adult migraines: 50% have more than one attack per month and 78% have moderate to severe attack intensity. 40% have nausea or vomiting, 33% abdominal pain.
“The majority of the patients we see for consultation come around the age of 10, but the headaches often start before that,” Justine Have-Couturier, pediatric neurologist at Lille University Hospital, told AFP.
Very often, the crises affect their schooling, so a diagnosis must be made: “We cannot eradicate migraines, but we can reduce their frequency and intensity,” she emphasized.
A healthy lifestyle (nutrition, sleep, physical activity) is therefore “particularly important for children and adolescents with migraines,” explained the neuropediatrician.
On the treatment side, paracetamol, anti-inflammatory drugs or special crisis medication (e.g. triptans) are usually prescribed.
“Note the crises in a diary to see what triggers them, in some cases this can help to better manage them,” also advised the Dright Justine Have Couturier.
While many factors can cause a migraine, stress and fatigue are often identified by sufferers.
Resistant to drugs, Maïwenn Colléaux “tried everything”: self-hypnosis, hypnotherapy, equitherapy, EMDR… “These methods calm me down at the moment, but they don’t work in the long term. When I’m in a crisis I don’t take anything, I wait for it to be over,” she said.
But a child with migraines does not necessarily have to be an adult with migraines. Only 40% notice the persistence of migraines in adulthood. “Some children will progress from migraine headaches to less severe headaches,” assured Dr.right Give.
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