Why do you get a headache after sex?

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    Why do you get a headache after sex?
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    There’s something deeply unfair about a post-sex headache. 

    You’re having an amazing orgasm, everything is great, everything is magical, everything is… Painful.

    The second the climax is over, there’s a smacking pain between your eyes and now rather than lying in bed enjoying the post orgasmic glow, you’re hopping around trying to find some Paracetamol and a glass of water in the hope that you can shake the thing.

    So why does this happen?

    Well, the bad news is that experts aren’t exactly sure why it happens. Some experts claim it’s hormonal, others claim it’s a kind of stress headache.

    According to the American Migraine association, there are two types of sex headaches:

    Types of sex headache

    • Pre-orgasmic headache (classically described as a dull, usually occipital pressure pain that appears during sexual activity and increases with mounting sexual excitement).
    • Orgasmic headache (classically described as a sudden explosive headache followed by severe throbbing head pain that occurs just prior to or at the moment of orgasm).

    In terms of preventing it from happening, the usual headache advice about drinking lots of water, releasing jaw tension and not staring at screens all the time applies. It’s also worth looking at whether you get these headaches during masturbation induced orgasms, or whether it’s specific to penetrative sex.

    Boring as this advice might sound, a good course of action is to stay hydrated, try and relax as much as possible before sex, and pop some painkillers an hour before. It’s not a miracle solution but it does mean that you might finally be able to come without the impending misery of an enormous headache.

    Sex headaches aren’t a cause for concern if it doesn’t happen regularly, and they’re less of a cause for concern if they’re new. However, if it starts happening and then doesn’t stop, you should see your doctor. As the AMA explain:

    ‘People with new or never-evaluated headache associated with sexual activity should be carefully assessed by their doctor for an underlying cause and considered for imaging of their brain and the blood vessels in their head to exclude conditions like subarachnoid hemorrhage, arterial dissection and reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome.’

    The likelihood of those things is quite small, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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