Sex May Relieve Migraines
Sex may relieve migraine pain for some people who suffer from the intense headaches, new research suggests.
The finding, published in the March issue of the journal Cephalalgia, found that sexual activity relieved the pain of migraines or cluster headaches, severe, one-sided recurring head pains, for up to a third of patients. Some of the patients even reported using sex as a kind of headache therapy.
“There’s a [portion] of patients with migraines, about one-third, who experience relief from a migraine attack by sexual activity,” said study researcher Stefan Evers, a neurologist and headache specialist at the University of Münster in Germany.
The researchers aren’t sure why this happens, but hypothesize that the rush of endorphins, the brain’s natural painkillers, during sex may numb the pain of migraines.
Many stimuli, from sunlight to lightning, can trigger migraines. Meanwhile, about 1 percent of the population suffers from headaches caused by sex, Evers told LiveScience. [Ouch! 10 Surprising Causes of Headaches]
Doctors had previously reported that sex relieves migraines, but those results were based on small studies.
To see whether this phenomenon was borne out on a larger scale, Evers and his colleagues sent 800 patients who had migraines and 200 patients with cluster headaches a questionnaire about their experiences with sexual activity during headache attacks, and how sex affected the pain intensity.
About four in 10 of the surveyed patients responded.
Results showed that about a third of patients engaged in sexual activity during a migraine or cluster headache. Of migraine sufferers, 60 percent experienced relief, with the majority of those patients reporting a moderate or complete amount of pain relief. For a third of the responding patients, sex worsened the migraines.