Sex as a “Cure” for Migraine or Cluster Headache? What’s the Deal?
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Mainstream coverage of Migraine and other headache disorders and their often simplistic descriptions of new research can be incredibly frustrating for those of us living with the conditions. The recent headlines about whether sex can “cure” a Migraine have certainly been no exception.

But instead of oversimplifying the relationship between headache disorders and sexual activity, I’d like to tell you what the new research actually said and provide some important context. So bear with me while we dive into a personal topic about which you may have grown weary.

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Anecdotally speaking, Migraineurs have known for many years there can be a relationship between sexual activity, orgasm and their Migraine attacks. For some people, experiencing orgasm can trigger or worsen an attack. For others, experiencing orgasm can abort an attack. For still others, having sex and/or an orgasm seems to have no effect one way or the other on their Migraines.

Suffice it to say, responses vary widely from person to person. The latest research on the relationship between headache disorders and sexual activity supports this.

Researchers found that for some patients living with Migraine Disease, having sex can act to end the attack. To a lesser degree, some cluster headache patients have the same experience.

The researchers found:

  • 34% of Migraineurs who responded to the survey had experience with sexual activity during an attack.
  • 60% of those Migraineurs reported improvement.
  • 33% of those Migraineurs reported worsening of their attacks.
  • 31% of cluster headache patients reported experience with sexual activity during an attack.
  • 37% of those cluster headache patients reported improvement.
  • 50% of those cluster headache patients reported worsening of their attacks

Unfortunately there is really no way of predicting who will have what response, so individual trial and error is the name of the game. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky people who can abort an attack with an orgasm. Or at least find that sexual activity doesn’t necessarily make an attack worse for you.

Something that’s been mostly overlooked in coverage of this research, but that’s important to note is that quite often we’re just not going to feel up to having sex during a Migraine or cluster headache attack. For many of us that’s the last thing we would consider, especially those who become incredibly sensitive to touch.

Sex is, of course, not a cure for Migraine or cluster headaches. There is no cure for either condition yet. But for a few lucky people, under the right circumstances, it can be an effective treatment.

view references
1. Anke Hambach, Stefan Evers, Oliver Summ, Ingo W Husstedt and Achim Frese. "The impact of sexual activity on idiopathic headaches: An observational study." Cephalalgia. OnlineFirst February 19, 2013. doi: 10.1177/0333102413476374.
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