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Sex Headaches Can Be Devastating

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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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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