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Treatment Available for ‘Orgasmic Headaches’

NEW YORK, NY – The severe headaches that occasionally occur during sexual activity, sometimes called “orgasmic headaches,” can often be prevented, German physicians report.
These headaches are usually benign, Dr. Achim Frese told Reuters Health, but individuals who experience one for the first time should consult a doctor to make sure it is not related to a brain hemorrhage. Doctors can also prescribe medication that will relieve or even prevent these headaches.

There seem to be two basic patterns to these headaches: Type 1 usually begins as a dull pain that starts prior to orgasm, while type 2 has sudden onset, often described as a “thunderclap” headache, that occurs within seconds of orgasm.

Frese, at the University of Munster, and his associates interviewed 51 patients diagnosed with “headache with sexual activity (HSA)” to better characterize the symptoms.

“The course of the disease varies widely,” Dr. Frese said. “Some patients have only one HSA in their whole life, while others have HSA for years with nearly every sexual activity.”

Most commonly, patients experience bouts of a few weeks duration in which HSA occurs in a large percentage of sexual activities and than spontaneously stop, he added.

The headaches typically start when patients are in their 30s, and men are three to four times more likely to have HSA than women. Often, individuals find that the headache will lessen or go away altogether if sexual activity is stopped or if the affected person assumes a more “passive role” during intercourse.

The severe headache can last for up to 12 hours, the doctors report in the journal Neurology, but mild pain may persist for days. Frese advises that sexual activity should not be attempted until pain is entirely gone; otherwise, a new HSA is more likely to occur.

Headaches with sexual activity sometimes respond to indomethacin, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug commonly used as a pain reliever, Frese pointed out. For individuals who experience repeated HSA, indomethacin taken an hour before sexual activity may prevent them.

Some patients will also benefit from ongoing therapy with beta-blockers, drugs used to treat high blood pressure.




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