How Can Sex Help You to Beat that Migraine?

headacheIf you have a headache, you shouldn’t reach for the ibuprofen, but instead for your partner for pain relief. This is according to a team of neurologists who have found that sexual activity can lead to “partial or complete relief” of head pain in some migraines. The results of the study, which were reported in the journal of the International Headache Society Cephalalgia, suggest that making love can be more effective than taking painkillers, instead of using a sore head as an excuse to refuse sex.


According to the researchers from the University of Munster in Germany, over half of those sufferers who had sex during a migraine episode experienced better wellness and an improvement in symptoms. They added that one in five patients completely relieved their pain with sex, while others, and male sufferers in particular, “even used sexual activity as a therapeutic tool.”


So why does sex have this positive impact on your wellbeing? The researchers suggested that the release of endorphins (your body’s natural painkillers) that is triggered during sex make their way through your central nervous system, which can in turn reduce, or even eliminate a headache. ‘Sex can abort migraine and cluster headache attacks, and sexual activity is used by some patients as acute headache treatment,’ they said.


The team of neurologists had set out to investigate whether sex can trigger headaches, or if there is any substance to anecdotal suggestions that it could actually ease symptoms of migraine and cluster or one-sided, headaches. For their study, they sent 800 random migraine patients and 200 similar cluster headache sufferers an anonymous questionnaire, asking participants if they had experienced sexual activity during a headache attack and, if so, what impact did it have on the headache’s intensity.


The researchers commented, ‘The majority of patients with migraine or cluster headache do not have sexual activity during headache attacks. Our data suggest, however, that sexual activity can lead to partial or complete relief of headache in some migraine and a few cluster headache patients. Our results show that sexual activity during a migraine attack might relieve or even stop an attack in some cases, and that sexual activity in the presence of headache is not an unusual behaviour.’

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