Q. I understand you have written about sex headaches. I would really like to know more. I occasionally suffer from excruciating yet short-lived headaches at climax. My doctor said they were “normal” but I’ve only had them the last few years.
What causes these headaches? Is there any way to prevent them? Usually I put ice on my head until the pain passes. Is there any other treatment?
A. A doctor must determine whether your pain is due to “benign sex headaches” or something more serious. They are not normal.
Sex headaches can be excruciating, starting just before or during orgasm and lasting up to 15 minutes. Others develop more gradually as a dull ache at the back of the head. A headache specialist should be able to determine whether there is something serious going on and what the best treatment approach could be.
You will find other links to stories about sex headaches on our website and discover how people have learned to deal with them.
You may be able to prevent a headache by taking a pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen (Aleve) at least half an hour before intercourse. Some doctors prescribe the blood-pressure medicine propranolol (Inderal) as a preventive measure. A headache specialist should be able to evaluate and advise you about the best therapy.

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  1. JH
    Reply

    I also had sexual headaches, and discussed with the doctor. He told me they were “Thunder Clap” headaches.

  2. Sharina
    Reply

    I am 50 years old and sexually active. I would get headaches and get sinus congestion after I would orgasm. It wasn’t until I watched my foods carefully and the bloating(swelling) in my body decreased that they stopped.
    The bloating(swelling) I use as a gauge is my bra stap on my sides of my body. For me, I think may have had to do with the extra amount of congestion and fluid in my cells. Now, if I am not careful with my foods and my weight and swelling are up the headaches and sinus congestion come right back.

  3. B.
    Reply

    I am now 75 & no longer sexually active, but in my 40’s & 50’s, I sometimes had “sex-headaches”. A neurologist told me that they are perfectly normal & to try relaxation methods to relieve them. That worked. As soon as a headache began, I learned to relax my head, neck & shoulder muscles and the tension disappeared. Admittedly, sometimes the timing of orgasm was interrupted, but it was a small price to pay. Eventually I learned to control the upper body tension during foreplay & the headaches just disappeared.
    I think that you really do women a disservice by panicking them & warning of dire, probably non-existent, disasters.

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