Are Headaches Triggers In Children Similar To Adults?

Finding the headaches triggers in your child is actually not as difficult as it seems. Headaches are not limited to adults only. According to a study, about 5 to 10 percent of children suffer from migraine headaches and can get worse in adolescence. To make the matter worse, some children do not know how to describe the pain or problem to their parents and the condition is usually not properly treated.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps that parents can follow to help their children by learning to identify the headaches triggers and symptoms. Generally speaking, the causes of headaches are the same for both children and adult. The types of headaches that children experience are also very similar to those experienced by adults.

If a child has been diagnosed with migraine, then an important step in diagnosing the headache will be to determine the headaches triggers. Parents should always try to eliminate the triggers that are within their control so that any potential headaches can be prevented in the first place.

Foods and Beverages

The same type of foods that can trigger a headache in adult can also become headaches triggers in children as well. During the days when headaches strike, check whether your child has consumed the following foods:

  • Chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Fried stuffs
  • Processed meat containing sodium nitrate such as hot dogs, etc
  • Any other food that contains monosodium glutamate

Monosodium glutamate is a food addictive that is also known as a headache trigger for migraines in adults. Other that foods, beverages such as sodas and sports drinks can also be effective headaches triggers. These are some of the favorite children’s drinks and they usually contain high amounts of caffeine, which can trigger headaches as well.


Many small children like sweet smelling stuffs and they often enjoy the sensation of smelling flowers along the side of roads or sweet cakes in the oven. Although these scents and smells are very common, they can also be headaches triggers for some children. Other common scents such as perfumes, smoke, air purifier and anything with a strong smell can also be a possible headache trigger. Try to keep track of any smells that your child is not often exposed to.


The excessive loss of water from the body can easily cause headaches for both adult and children. To determine if a child is suffering from dehydration, look out for the typical tell-tale signs:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Less frequent urination
  • Dark colored urine
  • Dry mouth
  • Sticking feeling inside the mouth

Try to encourage your children to drink more water by having them carrying their most favorite water bottles when out of the house. If the child experiences lesser signs of headaches after drinking more water, then dehydration will most probably be the headache trigger.

Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is a common headache trigger that is observed in an adult, but can also happen to a child. Check if your child displays notable headache symptoms after having been in a boat, car or train. Preventive motion sickness medications may be effective here. Other simple preventive measures such as not reading in the car and not taking long car trips with an empty stomach are generally effective as well.

Improper Diet

A child skipping meals regularly due to poor appetite can cause hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a known migraine trigger and is a condition whereby the body’s blood sugar or glucose is too low. Seek advice from a pediatrician to find out the reasons for your child’s poor appetite as well as to identify other potential conditions.


Other headaches triggers such as stress and lack of sleep can also apply to children as well. Make sure that your child has sufficient rest every day and see if he or she has problems at schools. Studies have also shown that most children with headaches tend to experience them during the school sessions.

Certain medications can also trigger headaches in children. Check with your doctor to make sure that any of your child’s regular medications do not have other side effects. If yes, then try to find some alternative remedies.

Spending long hours playing computer games or playing loud music through the headphones can also trigger chronic headaches in children. Try to control the amount of time your child spend in front of a computer or listening to music through headphones. Even if they are not the headaches triggers, spending long hours doing these activities are generally not good for a child’s health as well.


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