Sex Headaches: When Doctor's Advice Is Necessary

Jokes about sex and headaches abound. But if you get a sharp headache during orgasm, it's certainly no joke.

A sexual orgasm can cause a headache. It’s likely you are conscious of a slight throbbing in the head and neck area which progresses as sexual excitement increases. Or in general you may experience a sudden horrible headache just before or during orgasm.
About one in 100 people will have gone through the pain of a sex headache at some point during his or her lifetime. Men are at least three times more likely than women to have sex headaches.
According to health experts, most sex headaches shouldn’t be major concerns. However, some can be the signal to a serious problem, for instance could issues with the blood vessels that feed the brain.
There are two types of sex headaches. The most common variety gives no warning and occurs within a few seconds of an orgasm. Pain is often described as throbbing or stabbing. The other variety of sex headache often begins as a dull ache on both sides of the head and builds gradually over a matter of minutes before an orgasm, typically intensifying as sexual excitement increases.
Most sex headaches last a few minutes. Others may linger for a few hours. Many people who have sex headaches will experience them in clusters for a few months, and then go for more than a year without any sex headaches. 

Any type of sexual activity that leads to orgasm can trigger sex headaches, which include masturbation, oral sex.  and sexual intercourse.
The sex headaches that build up for several minutes before orgasm is likely to be triggered by squeezing the head and neck muscles during sexual activity, while the  sex headaches which happens suddenly during orgasm is likely to be a response to increased blood pressure which dilates cerebral blood vessels. It could also be triggered by a stroke or bleeding into or around the brain.
Other factors that have been associated with sexual headaches include birth control pills, smoking marijuana, glaucoma, anaemia, sinus infection, and low blood sugar.
Risk factors
Sex headaches can hit anyone, but they are more prevalent in men and peoples susceptible to migraines.
When doctor’s advice is necessary
Sex headaches should be cause for anxiety, but it’s important to seek your doctor’s help if you have headaches during sexual activity, particularly if it's your first headache.
Tests and diagnosis
Brain scans: An MRI exam or a CT scan of the brain to detect any underlying causes for your headache may be recommended.  

Angiograms: A cerebral angiogram may be requested, which is a test that can visualize the neck and brain arteries. It involves threading thin tubing through a blood vessel, usually starting in the leg, to an artery in your neck. Contrast material is injected into the tubing to allow an X-ray machine to visualize the arteries in your neck and brain.
Spinal tap: A spinal tap (lumbar puncture) may be required particularly when the headache appeared suddenly. In this procedure, the doctor takes a tiny amount of the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord, and examine for any evidence of bleeding or infection.
Treatments and drugs
In several cases, the first headache may be the only one, lasting for a very short period of time and gone before the effect of any medication taken kicks in. It’s often advised to stop any sexual activity until the last headache has subsided, because engaging in sex soon after a sex headache can make the pain worse.

If there’s no known cause for your sex headaches, the doctor may advise you take preventive medicine, such as indomethacin, an anti-inflammatory; triptans, a class of anti-migraine medication; and beta blockers, such as propranolol or metoprolol. Indomethacin and the triptans can be taken an hour before sex to ward off headaches. The beta blockers must be taken daily to prevent sex headaches and only recommended in patients with frequent or prolonged attacks.
Sometimes sex headaches can be prevented by stopping sexual activity before orgasm or taking a more docile role during sex.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons


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