“Not tonight, dear, I’ve got a headache.” We’ve all heard jokes told by a variety of comedians that includes that funny line. Or as part of a dialogue between a married couple in a sitcom on TV. It’s typically used as an excuse to not partake in sexual activity. But did you know some people actually suffer a headache, and at times, a violent headache, during or following sexual activity? It’s true. And what’s more surprising is that it occurs more frequently with men than with women.
A sex headache is a headache typically brought on by sexual exertion. It is especially acute during orgasm, although some individuals experience pre-orgasmic headaches.
Symptoms to watch for
- Headache comes on suddenly without warning within a few seconds of orgasm
- Pain is described as throbbing and/or stabbing
- May cause tightening of the neck and jaw muscles
- Builds gradually over a matter of minutes before an orgasm
- Pain is sometimes associated with nausea and vomiting
- Headache pain can occur during sexual intercourse, oral sex, as well as masturbation
According to Edmund Messina, M.D., Medical Director at the Michigan Headache Clinic, in East Lansing, pre-orgasmic headaches often begin as a dull, two-sided headache which increases with sexual excitement.
Most sex headaches last about 30 minutes, although for some individuals they may last as much as a few hours.
Most doctors believe they occur due to a response to increased blood pressure and heart rate during orgasm. Also, the tightening of the head and neck muscles during sexual activity may cause the kind of sex headache that is slow-to-build. There are more dramatic causes as well such as stroke, sinus infection, coronary artery disease, and bleeding into the wall of an artery leading to the brain.
If your doctor determines your headaches are not of a dangerous sort and are brought on by sexual activity, there are treatments available. Preventive measures such as using anti-inflammatory medicines or beta-blockers prior to engaging in sexual activity may be recommended.
For more information on headaches provided by the Michigan Headache Clinic
For more information on sex headaches provided by the Michigan Headache Clinic
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