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Prevention of Headaches or Migraines Triggered By Sex or Orgasm

Having a headache or migraine triggered by sex or an orgasm is a pretty cruel emotional injustice. Fortunately, preventing a sex-induced headache or migraine is surprisingly simple. And, no, the answer is not to avoid having sex. The most commonly prescribed treatment is indomethacin, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory that’s a close relative to ibuprofen, taken an hour before sex.

Those of you who don’t want to go to the doctor may deduce that you can pop a couple Advil and avoid the headache. Please don’t! The headache or migraine may be triggered by benign causes like a tightening of the head and neck muscles or a response to increased blood pressure and heart rate during orgasm. However, it could also be the sign of a brain hemorrhage,  stroke, heart disease, glaucoma, or other disorder. Instead of attempting to treat it yourself, please see a doctor to make sure there’s not a serious background cause.

Several trustworthy online sources say that taking a triptan an hour before sex is an effective treatment for orgasm-induced migraines. I asked a headache specialist about this and was told that this could cause a stroke. The specialist said that because both triptans and orgasms constrict blood vessels, the blood vessels could constrict too much during an orgasm. I’m not sure which source is correct here, but I stay on the side of caution and only take a triptan after an orgasm has triggered a migraine.

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Orgasm-Triggered Headache

An instantaneous explosion of unbelievable pain perfectly describes the first post-orgasm migraine I’ve ever had. (At least the first one I’ve been able to correlate.) The pain overwhelms any thought about what this might mean for my sex life, but I know it isn’t good. Why can’t I be one of the lucky people for whom orgasms relieve migraines? (While my orgasm-triggered headache was definitely a migraine, it’s actually rare for orgasms to trigger migraine attacks. More often, orgasms triggers what’s called an orgasmic headache or preorgasmic headache.)

Orgasm, Headache and Migraine: Does the “Big O” Affect Headaches and Migraine? is a well-researched explanation of the contradictory phenomena of sex and orgasms triggering headaches or migraines or relieving them, sometimes entirely.

2/27/12: Treatment for headaches or migraines triggered by sex or orgasms is surprisingly simple! See my latest post, Prevention of Headaches or Migraines Triggered By Sex or Orgasm.