Sexual headache, known medically as coital cephalalgia, is a rare form of of headache that occurs in the skull and neck during sexual activity, including masturbation or orgasm. Experts say it is estimated to appear in roughly 1 per cent of the world's population, can happen during sex at any age and is believed to be more common in men than women.
Although sexual headaches are often benign and can be successfully treated with medication in most cases, doctors recommend clinical evaluation to rule out intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding within the skull) and cerebral infarction (a type of stroke resulting from a blockage in the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain), especially if the pain is sudden and severe.
Recent conducted medical studies have discovered that sexual headaches may be caused by general exertion, sexual excitement, or contraction of the neck and facial muscles. In some cases they were found to be caused due non-sexual exertion. Certain drugs like amiodarone, birth control pills, and cannabis among others have been linked to sexual headaches in some case studies.
The headaches are believed to be secondary to another condition associated with migraines called, reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, a medical disorder consisting of a weeks-long course of thunderclap headaches, sometimes focal neurologic signs, and occasionally seizures.
The International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) terms this medical condition as, 'primary headache associated with sexual activity', a normally dull headache that increases with sexual excitement, and becomes intense at orgasm or sexual climax. The pain lasts from one minute to a day with severe intensity, or as long as 3 days with mild intensity and its occurrence is unpredictable, and may not follow every sexual act.
Physicians recommend engaging in less strenuous sexual activity as a preventive measure. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Indometacin and beta blockers (generally taken by heart patients) have been found to be successful in treating these headaches along with other medicinal drugs like Propranolol and triptans.
Did you know? Some people can fall ill after sexual climax
Postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS), a rare medical disorder, which mostly occurs in men, happens immediately following ejaculation, causing severe muscle pain throughout the body, as well as other symptoms, which can be cognitive, psychological, or physiological and can last for up to a week. Medical experts say it is characterized by rapid onset after ejaculation, absence of local genital reaction, and presence of an overwhelming systemic reaction.
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