The Child Migraineur : An Allergy May Be Your Warning Sign

Childhood migraines can present with different symptoms than what is seen in adults. Not surprisingly, children who suffer from migraines often do so because a migraine can be the result of a food allergy and/or sensitivity to dairy.  It’s hard to confirm this diagnosis, though, because children have a hard time expressing their symptoms. But as an example, did you know research shows that colic may be a migraine?

There’s a lot we don’t know about migraines, especially in children, but I’ve seen first-hand how diet affects a child’s well-being, and research leads me to believe that an allergy in infancy or childhood may be related to their migraine disorder as a result of a leaky gut.

What the Research Shows

  • Child migraineurs experienced infantile colic more than children without migraine
  • Migraineur mothers are 2-1/2 times more likely to have a colicky infant than mothers without migraine
  • Migraineur fathers are 2 times more likely to have a colicky baby than fathers without migraine
  • Boys between 7 and 10 years old experience migraines before girls
  • After puberty, girls with migraines outnumber boys
  • Food allergies lead to leaky gut syndrome, a condition characterized by damage to the internal wall of the intestines, leading to toxins leaking into the bloodstream.
  • Leaky gut can cause migraines!


A Personal Story

Many years ago, a friend of mine had a one-year-old son who was diagnosed with a dairy allergy. For the next five years, this little boy was taken off dairy and lived as a happy toddler.  At the age of 6, his allergist suddenly proclaimed the boy no longer had a dairy allergy and he could eat as much dairy as his sweet little heart desired.

I was skeptical about that news, but I stayed in the background and didn’t comment.  The next thing I knew, there were pictures all over social media of the 6-year-old boy slurping down six different types of ice cream so he could pick his favorite.

I was no longer content with doing nothing.  The world sustains cracks in civilization by the silence against perceived injustices, and I found this to be a huge injustice to the child.  Why?  Because I know better than most how badly dairy can affect the body, and I knew that healthy boy was going to grow into a very sick teen and even sicker adult.

About 75% of the population can’t digest dairy properly. Even with a normal RAST or allergy test, he could still be sensitive or allergic.

Then, it happened. Dad, an obese male who’s not in very good health, came to me with a couple of concerns:

  • The boy’s stool was not right
  • He was either gassy and/or constipated for days on end
  • When he finally did go, it was always yellowish diarrhea.

Whether or not the parents took him off dairy again, I don’t know, but I hope they took the advice and research to heart.

The Nature of Food Allergies

Food allergies can make life Hell on Earth.  It can lead to symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Frequent stomach aches and nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache/migraine
  • Intestinal permeability (leaky gut)
  • Tongue swelling
  • Coughing
  • Circulatory issues
  • Excema or psoriasis
  • Much, much more

Unfortunately, allergy tests like skin tests, blood tests, and patch tests aren’t always accurate.  Often, food allergies go undiagnosed for years until the person finds out unintentionally that their diet may be causing their body’s dysfunction.

The Real Problem with Dairy

Offending dairy in this country is like criticizing someone’s political and religious beliefs. It causes an uproar.  Most people believe that milk is the healthiest thing you could put in your body.  They give it to their kids in gallons per week, but as an enlightened doctor I must put my foot down.

Let’s be clear:

  • Dairy products have not been linked to reduced fracture risk.
  • Civilizations with little to no dairy intake have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.
  • Calcium isn’t perfect. Vitamin D seems to be more necessary for bone health than calcium.
  • Studies show that excessive calcium intake may lead to some types of cancer, calcium deposits, and several other health concerns.
  • Supplemental calcium is better than dairy calcium when helping to reduce the risk of cancer.
  • About 75% of the population is genetically lactose intolerant.

Here are some other facts to consider about dairy:

  • It doesn’t increase performance
  • It exacerbates irritable bowel syndrome
  • It’s full of bad fats that lead to heart disease

What are your options if your child has a history of colic, and migraines?  Remove dairy.  Check out elimination diet information here.

Childhood migraines are terrible for both the parent and the child.  By putting the research together and talking with colleagues, it’s clear that food allergy to dairy may be playing a huge part in your child’s migraine disorder.  It’s time to take the first step and bring them completely off dairy.  It’s worth a try, at least.


Migraine Pal
American Migraine Foundation
Dr. Hyman – Avoid Dairy at all Costs


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