There are two types of sex headaches:
- A dull ache in the head and neck that intensifies as sexual excitement increases
- A sudden, severe, throbbing headache that occurs just before or at the moment of orgasm
In some people, both types of headaches are combined.
Most sex headaches last at least several minutes. Others may linger for hours or even two to three days.
Many people who have sex headaches will experience them in clusters over a few months, and then they may go for a year or more without having any sex headaches. Up to half of all people with sex headaches experience them over the course of about six months. Some people may only have one attack during their lives.
When to see a doctor
Sex headaches aren't usually a cause for concern. But consult your doctor right away if you experience a headache during sexual activity — especially if it begins abruptly or it's your first headache of this type.
April 02, 2015
- Cutrer FM, et al. Cough, exercise, and sex headaches. Neurology Clinics. 2014;32:433.
- Ropper AH, et al. Adams & Victor's Principles of Neurology. 10th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=690. Accessed Jan. 19, 2015.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Jan. 19, 2015.
- Cutrer FM. Primary headache associated with sexual activity. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 19, 2015.
- Headache: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/detail_headache.htm#142883138. Accessed Jan. 19, 2015.
- Bartleson JD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 23, 2015.
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