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Monday, 28 October, 2002, 08:45 GMT
Sex gives men a headache
Headache
The pain can be sudden and severe
Scientists have found that men are more likely than women to be telling the truth if they say: "Not tonight darling, I've got a headache".

A team of German researchers has begun to investigate the phenomenon of sexual headaches - a condition known as Orgasmic Cephalgia.


We found that the vast majority of patients suffered from an explosive and very severe headache starting suddenly around the orgasm

Dr Achim Frese
They have discovered that it is three times more likely to strike men.

The headaches usually come on suddenly around the point of orgasm, and can be very severe.

The researchers believe the condition affects around one in a 100 people at least once during a lifetime, but some people are afflicted on a regular basis.

Although the precise causes are not yet understood, it is thought that the condition may be linked to the increased blood flow and dilation of blood vessels that occur during sex.

The German team is carrying out research aimed at solving the mystery.

They stress that people do not develop the condition as a result of particular partners or sexual habits. Neither is it linked to any form of brain damage or disease.

It is most common among young people, and is most likely to strike for the first time between the ages of 20 and 25.

Researchers Dr Achim Frese and Dr Stefan Evers, from the University of Munster, examined patients who had complained of sexual headaches.

Severe pain

Dr Frese, who presented preliminary results from the study at a meeting of the European Federation of Neurological Societies in Vienna, said: "We found that the vast majority of patients suffered from an explosive and very severe headache starting suddenly around the orgasm.

"The others suffered from a dull headache with the pain increasing more gradually before the orgasm."

In most cases the headaches appeared during intercourse with a regular partner, or while masturbating.

Dr Frese said; "About half of the patients had realised that they could avoid some of the headache attacks by intensifying the sexual excitement more gradually."

Some patients were prescribed preventative treatment such as beta-blockers - drugs given to migraine sufferers - or the pain killer indomethacin.

Typically, sexual headaches appeared in bouts of a few weeks duration and resolved themselves spontaneously. Most patients had only one bout while others had two or three.

See also:

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