1Department of Pediatrics, Ministry of Health Tepecik Training and Research Hospital, İzmir, Turkey - 2Department of Pediatrics, Ministry of Health Istanbul Okmeydani Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey


Introduction: Headaches are a common symptom in children and adolescents that can negatively affect their quality of life. Children who have a headache, generally present to pediatric, and pediatric neurology outpatient clinics with an inability to maintain social activities and often are absent from school. This study aimed to determine the etiology and trigger factors of headaches and the sociodemographic characteristics of children with headaches.

Materials and methods: The sample of 500 pediatric patients who presented with headaches to the pediatric neurology out- patient clinic of Tepecik Training and Research Hospital between 2004 and 2009, and who had complete file records, were retrospectively evaluated in this study. The headache classification of patients was performed in accordance with the criteria of the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-II, 2004).

Results: The sample consisted of 500 patients in total including 299 females (59.8%) and 202 males (40.2%) between the ages of 2 and 14. The mean age of the patients recruited for the study was 11±2.7. The most common cause of headache in children was migraine (43%), followed by tension-type headache and sinusitis as the most common causes. The most common trigger factor in children was stress, at 66.4%. Other common trigger factors included hunger and sleep deprivation.

Conclusion: A headache in children is a complaint that affects the quality of life both in children and parents, and raises concern that there might be a worse underlying condition. Therefore, imaging should be used in selected patients along with a detailed history and physical examination. Hence, it is important to use the updated ICHD criteria as a guide in clinical practices.


Children, headache, migraine, trigger factors.