Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can sex cause migraines?"
I am 33 and sometimes get migraines after sex. Why is this? What can I do?
Significant headaches after sexual intercourse are not uncommon and are rarely a symptom of anything serious. They are known in 'medicaleze' as coital cephalalgia. The underlying cause of them is due to shifts in blood pressure. During the arousal phase, extremities including the head vasodilate, in other words, the blood vessel get larger and fill up with blood. Following an orgasm, there is a sudden drop in blood pressure. This causes a decrease in blood flow to the brain compared to what it had just been experiencing, thus it manifests as a headache. It is also common in people who tend to hold their breath for periods of time during sexual intercourse, as over time this deprives the brain of oxygen. As mentioned, typically these headaches are benign even though they may cause pain for many hours after sex. That said, you should talk to your primary care doctor about your symptoms, who may order a CT scan of the brain to rule out any vascular anomalies. And if during sex you suddenly experience the worst headache of your life that comes on suddenly like a thunderclap, you should get to the ER immediately as this is concerning for a hemorrhage around the brain.
Need more info?See a neurologist today
Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.