Sexual headache refers to headaches that occur during sexual activity before or during orgasm. The pain often begins in the neck and pull slowly or attackingly forward in the forehead and temples. Shortly thereafter, the complaints usually resolve again. The causes of sexual headache are still unknown. However, there are several risk factors that favor occurrence. For example, men are more affected than women. Most of the sexual headache disappears after a few weeks or months without targeted treatment. Here you read everything important to the disease.
Sexual headache: description
Headaches during sex are not always an excuse. There is a type of headache that is typically exclusive to sexual activity: the so-called sexual headache. That an orgasm causes headaches has already been described by Hippocrates in ancient Greece. At that time, the physician classified headaches caused by running, running and hunting and sexual headaches, which were caused by other “unreasonable activities” such as excessive sexual intercourse.
Today, professionals distinguish two different types of sexual headache: pre-orgasmic headache, which slowly increases in intensity during intercourse, and orgasmic headache. When headache orgasm headache occurs seizure and explosive. Orgasmic headache is three to four times more common than pre-orgasmic headache.
One in every 100 people is affected by sexual headache in his life. Men suffer three to four times more often than women. Migraine sufferers are also more likely to get sexual headaches than people without migraines. Age also plays a role: patients between the ages of 25 to 50 years are most frequently affected. In most, the sex headache occurs only over a relatively short period of several weeks to months and then disappears. Nevertheless, the sexual headache can recur after many years and cause more discomfort.
Sexual headache: symptoms
Any kind of sexual activity, and especially orgasm, can trigger sexual headache, but the symptoms of the two types of sexual headache are slightly different. When orgasmic headache occurs during orgasm very suddenly violent headache. The pain is described by those affected as lightning-fast and einschießend. The length of the pain attack can vary between one minute and three hours. However, the data available is still insufficient. The headache also subsides in some patients and remains as a slight dull pain in the neck region felt. Similar to migraine, nausea, blurred vision, vomiting and light hypersensitivity may also be present in the course of the disease.
In pre-thoracic headache, the pain, which is described as oppressive, typically spreads from the neck and back of the head to the entire head to the forehead. As the excitement increases, so does the dull pain. Often sufferers report that this sexual headache worse when standing or sitting, which is why usually a lying position is taken.
Sexual headache: causes and risk factors
The causes of sexual headache are so far largely unexplained. A theory of origin assumes that the affected have an altered brain internal stress regulation mechanism. Similar to migraine sufferers, the body then reacts in stressful situations with headaches. Although sex is not an uncomfortable undertaking for most people, it is stress for the body, albeit in a positive sense. During intercourse, for example, the heart rate and blood pressure increase, which burdens the circulation.
Another theory is that in orgasmic headache the blood pressure is increased due to the excitation, which causes the sexual headache. The vessels could not expand in the situation as needed, causing the pain in the head.
Since the preorgasmus headache is primarily localized in the neck, there is another explanation here: It is believed that the head and neck muscles have increased muscle tension and the muscles strained during orgasm. The tension presses on nerve cords, which is to explain the pain.
There are several risk factors that promote sexual headache, including increased blood pressure, increased stress, gender fatigue, and frequent sex within a short time. Migraine sufferers and the age group of 25 to 50 years have a higher risk of developing sexual headaches.
Sexual headache: examinations and diagnosis
Those who notice increased headache symptoms during sex should consult a doctor. A neurologist is usually the right contact person when headaches have to be clarified. Already by the description of the current complaints and pre-illnesses (anamnesis) the physician receives important information about your complaints. Typical questions of the doctor could be:
- Do you have this headache only during intercourse or in other situations?
- Where exactly do you have the pain?
- Apart from the pain, do you notice any other symptoms, such as discomfort, speech problems, etc.?
- Do you suffer from hypertension?
- Do you suffer from migraine?
- Do you take any medicine?
After the anamnesis interview, the physical examination follows. If necessary, the doctor will check the functioning of the cerebrum and brainstem with simple tests. The visit to the doctor is especially important in order to exclude dangerous causes of sexual headache such as vascular malformation (aneurysm) or a brain tumor. However, this is only possible with further investigations.
If the sudden headache occurs for the first time and is very painful, brain hemorrhage or cerebral infarction should be ruled out by imaging techniques. A headache diary can additionally help identify a rhythm or triggering factors.
The diagnosis “Sexual Headache” is an exclusion diagnosis. This means that the diagnosis of “sexual headache” can only be made if serious illness has been ruled out. In order to do this, imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT), angiography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are usually necessary.
Sexual headache: treatment
No one has to renounce sex in order to successfully treat the sexual headache. Often, the sexual headache disappears by itself over time. Although those affected may be severely limiting sexual activity for fear of recurring sexual headache, there is a proposition that sex can even be helpful. The released during orgasm serotonin has therefore an analgesic effect on the sexual headache. Serotonin is popularly referred to as “happiness hormone”, as it has a mood-enhancing effect. It also causes constriction of the vessels in the brain. Known migraine medicines, the so-called triptans, also act in this way.
If sexual headaches are more common, it may be helpful to take a light painkiller such as ibuprofen or diclofenac about an hour before the act of love. Some sufferers also report that sexual headache worsens when standing or sitting, but improves when lying down – so you may prefer such a position.
Once the triggering factors are known, the sufferer can reduce the stress from the house with targeted relaxation exercises. Sexual arousal that is too fast is also a potential trigger of sexual headache. A more extended foreplay with cuddles helps to increase blood pressure slowly. The brain thus has more time to adapt to stimulus processing and is not overloaded. If you can control it, the orgasm should be as “gentle” as possible to avoid peak blood pressure.
Sexual headache: disease course and prognosis
Sexual headache has a good prognosis. The pain usually occurs in short episodes and disappears after a few weeks or months. Nevertheless, the sexual headache can occur again after years. However, a chronic course is extremely rare. Then the sufferers develop a course without headache-free phases.
Sexual activity is an important part of your health. However, sexual dysfunction is often a taboo subject in society. If sexual headache occurs, it depends on the intensity and any other neurological complaints whether a doctor must be consulted immediately. If the sexual headache is only mildly pronounced, it is quite possible to wait and see the pain a little bit more. Often he is Sexual headache after a few attacks already over again.