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Headaches and vomiting in child

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My nephew(age5) had a horrible headache & was only waking to pee or throw up. My sister, being a T1diabetic gave him a ketone test. It came back PURPLE! So she took him to the ER yesterday & after hrs of tests, they left without answers. He received fluids & is feeling 100% better today; however, we all want to prevent this from happening again. We NEED answers!! All I was able to find online was that he could have had been on a low carb diet, "starvation" or fasting. That word is hard to accept! "Starvation" makes me think they mean the patient hasn't been eating over a long period of time... certainly not just 36hrs. Of course he wasn't eating because he was throwing up or sleeping for a day&1/2, but starvation?? Seems like stretch, which makes me not want to accept that as the answer. Also, he eats A LOT of carbs, he loves his bread & eats a lot of it. He's never complained of these headaches before & I believe he's only thrown up 3 times in his whole life. Do you have any ideas?

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replied January 26th, 2017
General Q and A Answer A60169
Welcome to e health forum.

It does seem that your pain could be related to stress, anxiety or other functional causes. Common causes can include Migraine or Tension headache.

Migraine and Tension headache are conditions associated with a heightened sensitivity of nerve pathways in the brain resulting in overactive pain receptors.

The typical migraine headache is unilateral pain, pulsating in nature, varying in duration and is associated with other symptoms including nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and sound ; the symptoms are generally aggravated by routine activity.

Women who experience migraines may have an increased sensitivity to changes in hormone levels. Menstrual migraines are commonly thought to be less responsive to treatment which might be the case with you too.

Migraines may be caused by a physiological reduction of serotonin levels in the brain, which can be triggered by a variety of stimuli including:
1. Fluctuations in estrogen levels during periods,
2. Certain foods (including alcohol, especially beer and red wine; aged cheeses; chocolate; aspartame; overuse of caffeine; monosodium glutamate ; salty foods; and processed foods.
3. Stressful situations, Intense physical exertion, lack of sleep, Bad dietary practices (Like skipping meals or fasting)
4. Sensory stimuli. Bright lights, sun glare, loud sounds, unusual smells.

There are two ways to prevent migraine like headaches:
1. by avoiding the trigger factors that cause the headaches in you.
2. by taking prophylactic medications to prevent the headaches.

If avoiding the activities that you feel trigger the episodes, for a few days, helps to reduce them, then it is more likely to be the cause.

In addition, involve yourself in stress reducing activities like outdoor sports, music or anything that interests you. Try Meditating or Yoga, which might work wonderfully for you.

If you have any doubts or concerns, please consult your care-provider for proper treatment and advice.

I hope this helps.

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