Sex headaches: Signs, causes and treatment for the condition commonly seen in men


We all get headaches every now and then and they’re actually very common for many of us. They can occur due to lack of sleep, due to stress and even loud noises. But how often have you felt a headache coming on after or during sex?

Sex headache, the medical term for which is coital cephalalgia, is a condition where a person starts experiencing a headache before, during or after orgasm.

While this condition is commonly seen in men, it can also occur in women. Sex headaches can be distressing for both the person suffering from it and their partner.

What are the signs and symptoms of sex headaches?

The symptoms of sex headache can either present as a dull ache in the head and neck which increases as sexual excitement rises or as a sudden, sharp, throbbing headache which occurs just before or at the moment of orgasm.

These headaches can either last for several minutes, hours and sometimes even two to three days. People suffering from sex-related headaches may also present with migraines. Due to the continuous episodes of headache, some people may suffer from reduced libido (sexual arousal), while others develop a fear of sexual activity and orgasm.

Some people may even present with severe neurological symptoms like stiff neck, nausea, high blood pressure, altered consciousness, confusion and even paralysis.

What is the cause of sex headaches?

A definite cause of sex headaches has not been established yet. It is believed that since most of them are abrupt but do not cause much harm, they are not dangerous for the body. However, if the person starts presenting with neurological signs, then it may be an indication of an underlying medical condition.

Conditions that can be associated with sex headaches are aneurysms (bulging of an artery wall), inflammation in the brain and stroke or coronary artery disease. Sometimes, the intake of some drugs like birth control pills and amiodarone (anti-arrhythmic drug) can also lead to sex headaches.

How are sex headaches treated?

You’ll need to seek medical help in order to get diagnosed and treated for sex headaches.

The doctors may prescribe you some medications such as propranolol hydrochloride, naratriptan, ergots, benzodiazepines or indomethacin which may be needed to be taken prior to any sexual activity to prevent the occurrence of sex headaches.

Other than that one may be able to reduce the episodes of sex headaches by making some modifications in their sex life. These changes may include doing relaxation exercises before intercourse to release tension from the neck and shoulders. Any tension in the neck and jaw can also trigger sex headaches, so the person should keep their neck and shoulders relaxed during sexual intercourse. The doctor may suggest some sex positions that could help reduce the tension in your neck and shoulders.

Anyone experiencing sex headaches should not engage in strenuous sexual activity. Some doctors may even recommend you abstain from sex for a while to prevent the occurrence of sex headaches.

For more information, read our article on Sex headaches.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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