Can Sex Help Get Rid of Migraine?

Migraine is a recurrent throbbing headache, a complex condition that is often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, feeling very sick, feeling like vomiting, vertigo, weakness and disturbed vision. This painful headache, migraine, can last for 4 to 72 hours and sometimes become so severe that you will simply lie still without any activity. Between the attacks, there are no symptoms at all and you can lead a normal life. However, with the migraine attack and severe headache, your work, personal as well as sexual life is severely affected.

Can Sex Help Get Rid of Migraine?

Research conducted in the University of Munster, Germany and as reported in the Journal of the International Headache Society, Cephalalgia, has proven that sex can significantly reduce the migraine headache in many people providing either “partial or complete relief”. The study surveyed 800 patients suffering from migraine and 200 patients suffering from a cluster of headaches that is a rare condition, occurring in only 1% of the population. Cluster of headaches occurs suddenly, forming intense pain. The study has reported that almost 90% of the subjects of this study had received partial to complete relief from their migraine headache or other clusters of headaches. However, 50% patients also reported that their conditions worsened while they had sex during their migraine attack.

Can Sex Help Get Rid of Migraine

Researchers have come to the solution that sex triggered the secretion of the endorphin hormones, dopamine and serotonins. The endorphins are the group of hormones that cause an analgesic effect to the body, by activating the opiate receptors of the body. The endorphins are the natural painkillers of the body and as its secretion levels are increased with sex, they can significantly reduce and eliminate the migraine and similar headaches. Serotonin and dopamine can enhance the feeling of pleasure and satisfaction and thereby, decrease the migraine and similar headache.

Migraines and Sexual Desire or Intimacy:

It is common and the general idea that during a migraine attack, none of the male and female migraine patients would want to have sex. However, most unlikely, the Wake Forest University headache researcher Timothy Houle in her study in 2006 found out the effects of migraine headaches on sexual relationships between couples was otherwise. Surprisingly, she has found out that the patients suffering from migraine had a higher libido or sexual desire than the other people, without this condition.

Some research studies have proven that women, even those, who are non-migraine sufferers, can experience some kind of headache after they have had sex. However, the more common research study reports indicate that women, who have had an orgasm after sex, have an alleviated migraine pain. Marriage counsellors have highlighted the fact that partners, who have migraine, must seek help from a counsellor or undergo a psychiatric session, to understand and communicate with each other. A husband, who does not have migraine, should accompany his wife and the wife should accompany the husband to a family counselling centre. This helps them to understand each other, take migraine as a condition that they can deal with and know how they can reduce the extent of migraine with a healthy life style.

Common Sexual Issues with Migraine:

There are quite a few factors and issues that can significantly affect the sexual desire of males as well as females, when they have migraine. These issues are associated with –

  • Medication to Treat Migraine and Its Impact on Sex – Beta blockers, calcium antagonists, neuromodulators and antidepressants are some of the medications that can diminish the sexual urges both in men and women.
  • Postdrome – The premonitory phase with migraine often disturbs the sexual desire and not feeling sexual desires during an attack is also very common, causing sexual issues. Moreover, a postdrome which includes conditions like fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and depression will cause a migraine hangover. Hence, it is very logical that these conditions will lessen the desire for sex, while your partner would want to get cosy with you.
  • Painful Childhood of Migraine Patients and its Effect on Sex– Migraine patients, who have had a painful childhood with emotional neglect and sexual abuse in childhood, experiences sex issues that are increased with migraine attacks.

Tips for Better Sex if You Have Migraine:

  1. Rest and Rejuvenate –

    A hectic day at work, school, with kids or doing household works will most commonly make sex the least desired things, especially among migraines sufferers. However, with proper rest, a little yoga, a walk with your partner and a room that can lift up your mood by making you breathe is a good way to plan your sexual time.

  2. Migraine Sufferers Should Switch Medication Which Causes Reduced Sex Drive–

    If the cause of your lacking sexual urge is the preventive medication that you are taking, ask your doctor to switch it. Sometimes, switching to healthy habits and getting rid of the dependency on medication is also helpful.

  3. Share with Partner –

    Mistake that most migraine sufferers often make is to run away from each other when the sex is not successful due to the headache. Sharing and being empathetic will help you to solve the problem together and bring you closer.

  4. Create Romance –

    Romance does not take too much of physical stamina, but is a great way of making your partner feel the urge for sex. A romantic dinner date, fireside massage, moonlit stroll and midnight swim will contribute in the possibility of sex among migraine sufferers. If a migraine attack occurs, you can always cherish the moments and wait for a period when the attack is over.

  5. See a Hormone Specialist –

    With age, the levels of sex hormone like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone get decreased. This is a significant cause of not feeling the urge for sex. With migraine, this becomes even worse. Hence, seeing a hormone therapist will solve the problem to a great extent.

    Migraine is a difficult problem that has no cure. It has to be coped with. As it can affect your lifestyle and also your basic sexual urges, it is important to follow these tips and make sure that sex is not eliminated from your life. Sex will not only lift your mood, bring you closer to your partner, but also relieve the pain.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 25, 2019

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