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Do orgasms trigger or relieve migraines?

Expert:   Audrey Halpern, MD, PC, Executive Director, Manhattan Center for Headache & Neurology »

The moment of orgasm is arguably the best part of sex, but not for those who get coital cephalgias, or sex migraines. Find out what happens to them during climax.

Transcript: If you get migraine headaches—and EVEN if you don’t--sex COULD trigger an attack. This kind of migraine, known as coital cephalgia, is brought on by physical activity that affects blood vessels, heart rate, and neurotransmitter levels—all of which play a role in launching a migraine. The headaches are typically severe and explosive, and the throbbing pain may last minutes or hours. The classic coital cephalgia migraine happens to a young guy in his 20s or 30s who reports that at the moment of orgasm he is hit with a THUNDERCLAP headache and is sure he is going die of a brain aneurysm. But this type of migraine can affect women too, and according to research, 25 percent of the attacks start BEFORE climax, and may build slowly and be accompanied by nausea and vomiting -- which adds a whole new level of complexity to the ‘Honey, I’ve got a headache’ excuse. Surprisingly, sex migraines are more common among men than women. Men usually experience them for the first time in their ’20 and the headaches become MORE SEVERE between the ages of 35 and 44. Men who get migraines and ALSO take medications for erectile dysfunction are at an even increased risk of experiencing this MOST inconvenient of pains. But there is some good news. For many WOMEN, orgasms ACTUALLY relieve migraine. Research from the Headache Clinic at Southern Illinois University found that although almost half of women said that if they had sex WHILE they had a migraine it got WORSE, ALMOST AS MANY said sex made it GO AWAY completely! So the next time you get a migraine--that could be another treatment option for you to explore More »

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