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Sexual Headache Advocacy Sheet

By EmpowHER

When being intimate with your significant other, the last thing you want to experience is an intense headache. Coital cephalgia (sexual headaches), are more likely to occur in men, but may be experienced by women taking birth control or those prone to migraines, and could possibly indicate any of a number of conditions related to the head and neck (most seriously, a problem with the blood vessels feeding the brain).

Sex has been shown, in some cases, to relieve preexisting headaches and migraines. However, a sexual headache can be triggered by sexual activity, occurring just before or during orgasm. Symptoms include a throbbing or stabbing sensation at the nape of the neck, or a dull headache on both sides of the head. It may cause tightening of the neck and jaw muscles, and can build gradually over a matter of minutes intensifying as sexual excitement increases.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, most sexual headaches are not cause for concern. However, if you have never experienced one and suddenly do, it would be a good idea to contact your doctor to rule out a brain tumor or blood clot.

Here are some things to consider related to sexual headaches:

  • What is a sexual headache? A sexual headache occurs just before or after an orgasm.
  • How long do sexual headaches last? Sexual headaches can last anywhere from 30 minutes to for a few hours. Sexual headaches may coincide with sexual activity in clusters for a few months then go away for a year or more.
  • How is a sexual headache treated? There is little a doctor can do for a sexual headache that’s not related to a separate condition. The doctor may suggest taking pain reliever (ibuprofen, or anti-migraine medication) or beta blockers for frequent or prolonged attacks.
  • What causes sexual headaches? Sexual headaches can be the body’s automated response to increased blood pressure and heart rate during sexual activity or orgasm. It could also be caused by bleeding around the brain, arterial bleeding, stroke, use of some medications, sinus infection, coronary artery disease, and glaucoma.
  • What can I do to prevent sexual headaches? There is some evidence that people who are overweight may have increased chances of developing sexual headaches. Maintaining a proper weight and exercising may help decrease the incidence of sexual headaches.

This information is not meant to be a replacement for talking with your doctor. If you experience sexual headaches or migraines, you may want to schedule an appointment with your doctor to get more information specifically related to your own case.

www.mayoclinic.com Sex Headaches
www.hjo.org Coital Headaches

Do you have a question about your sexual health? Check out EmpowHER’s page. Sign-up, post a question, share your story, connect with other women in our community and feel EmpowHERed!

Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.


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